Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ireland, Ireland, Ireland!

Hello again from Ireland! This time I am writing from Belfast which is the capital of Northern Ireland. I wanted to write a little about our whole time here in Ireland so here it goes. We arrived last Wednesday morning around 8 am after a longgggg night sleeping in the airport in Belgium. It was rainy and cold but we were so excited to be out of Brussels. We then got on a double decker bus that was also drove on the right side of the bus on the wromg side of the road! That was a pretty wild ride being that the streets in Dublin are hardly wide enough for a compact car to fit through. We made it to the bus station and right around the corner was our hostel. We dropped our bags and headed out on the town. We walked in the pouring rain all day but saw some incredible things such as Trinity College, St. Patricks Cathedral, and Christ Church Cathedral. There was so much history in all of them I was in awe. They were so beautiful. We then headed out to lunch at a pub and back to the hostel for regrouping. Later we toured the Guinness storehouse and had such a ball! I never thought I liked Guinness until I got my free pint at the end of the tour in the gravity bar. The gravity bar must be about 10 stories up with glass completly around it. We had the most beautiful veiw of Dublin and some really tasty beer. We then went to Temple Bar which is an area of town and then we actually went to THE Temple Bar and had such a great time. It was so sureal being in Ireland in a pub with a live band playing traditional Irish music, my most favorite part of all was when the band played Galway Girl live! It was incredible! The next morning we headed off to get our rental car. Once again the four of us with our huge packs on our backs walking down the street had to be a sight for sore eyes but Ive gotten used to the stares from locals looking at us like were insane. It was so crazy to have a car to our own and a place we could call home for two days straight! Noah did a more than amazing job driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the street for two days straight. It was so weird to sit in the passenger seat because I felt like I should be doing something!

We drove down to Limerick and had a great lunch at a cafe and hit the road again until we made it to Killarney which is south of Dublin and about a 3 and a half hour drive. Once in Killarney we headed off to the Ring of Kerry which is a long scenic drive around the most beautiful part of Ireland. By the time we started on the ring we had already been in the car for so long and if you know Melissa and I, we were carsick. It was still a beautiful drive but after almost 9 hours in the car I was ready to get out.

The next morning we headed through Killarney which is a small town but my favorite one ive been to in the world! Everything is very well kept up and clean and the people there are wonderful. We then went to Blarney and visited the Blarney Castle and Blarney stone. We all kissed the stone and I shall forever more be elloquent! We'll see. The Castle was amazing! It was soooo old and to think people actually lived there hundreds of years ago left me speechless. We then headed back to Dublin and out for another pint of scrumptous Guinness before heading to bed. The next morning Anna and Noah left us for Spain at 5 in the morning. We were so sad to see them go. We all had the time of our lives together but we had to goour separate ways. We thought we had that last hostel room to ourselves and we were so excited because privacy is unheard of. Well right after Anna and Noah left at about 6 am two BIG women in I would say their 30's came stumbling in shouting and hollering. Not more than 10 minutes after they calmed down the fire alarm went off, which mind you was about 6 inches from my ear with me being on the top bunk. It went on then off then back on again. This lasted for a good 20 minutes and I just figured if I really needed to wake up because of an emergency, someone would come get us, hopefully. After morning Melissa and I couldnt get out of there fast enough. We even skipped our free breakfast. More on that later. We hopped a bus to Belfast and when we arrived we were sure we were in the wrong town. This was suppiosed to be a big city and everything and I mean everything was closed. We both instantly felt homesick and lonely. I guess it is some sort of holiday this weekend so everything closes. Great. We were hungry and went in search for some food. Everything was closed except for trusty old McDonalds. We forced our food down and did laundry for the fisrt time at the hostel. It was like christmas morning when everything came out of the dryer!! Clean clothes, what a luxury!! One more time off to McDonalds for dinner. Yes McDonalds twice in one stomach has been making me oay for it ever since. Today we went ona tour bus to A rope bridge, the oldest whiskey distillery in the world and then to the Giants Causeway. It was all so beautiful and amazing but I think we are ready to leave Belfast and get back to a town that is functioning. Tonight dinner looks like its coming from the vending machiene.

I am pleased to report that we have not been bitten by bed bugs in the past few nights, thanks to spraying bug spray all over our beds everynight. I have learned to sleep pretty much anywhere and through anything. Hostel life is not ideal. We usually share with anywhere between 2 and 14 other people. I cant complain because its cheap. Most of the hostels offer breakfast in the mornings which is interesting. We found that in Holland most of the breakfasts consisted of Cheese, bread, lunch meat style ham,and coffee. Here in Ireland it seems to be more like sodabread and jam. Meals have been okay. Its hard to eat well when youre on a beans and rice budget but we are doing fine.

Melissa and I are well for the most part. I have been having stomach issues since day one. Thanks Dad! Im just hoping that once we get to Ghana im feeling better. I know I know wishful thinking. Dad, we saw the most Dinosaur food plants I have ever seen in my life!! They had a whole garden full at the Blarney Castle! Its so cool looking....we thought of you the whole time and got pictures for you! I am missing everybody very much back home, but I know I am so lucky to be able to have this experience. I am very excited to get to Ghana and stay in one place for more than a night. It will be so nice to set up shop somewhere.

Tomorrow morning we will hop a bus back to Dublin. We saw a store that sold sheets for really cheap so we are going to do some shopping for Ghana there and then we fly back to Amsterdam on Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday morning we wake up and back on an airplane but this time to our final destination of GHANA!! Traveling like this takes more out of you than I ever imagined but life really couldnt get any better. I will leave Ireland but I know I will leave a piece of my heart behind because I have a true love for the country. I know ill be back.

Thats all I really have for now and im actually not certain anybody is reading this so I will go for now! My love to everybody!! I miss you all so dearly!
Cheers from Ireland!


Kate said...

You better believe I am reading!!! Keep em' comin!!! SOUNDS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU

Natalie said...

Xandra and Mel~
Oh how I miss you so... I can't believe all that you have seen and done! I agree with Kate's statement, "keep em' comin'!" Can't wait for the next blog and mostly can't wait to see your two beautiful faces again...
Love and miss you,

Kate said...

Hey baby!! Caitlyn and I are sad because we have not heard from you in a long time!!! And Caitlyn is having trouble writing you on this thing so she wants you to know that she loves you and misses you guys!! CALL US!! I Love you baby and know that you are only not calling because you are having the time of your life so I forgive you! MISS you so much- Love Kate