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Travel Trials, Tribulations, and Terrific Fun

Travel Trials, Tribulations, and Terrific Fun

After turning in a number of assignments I was finally able to start the beginning of the end. Classes have ended at UCC and while students gear up for final exams and papers, I have had time to travel some more both in Ireland and abroad. My spring break began with the arrival of my parents, and along with them 4 days of being well fed and more adventures. I was able to show them throughout Cork, one of the few major cities in Ireland they had yet to visit. I was so lucky to be able to introduce them to most of the friends I have made while abroad and show them the incredible place I have been able to call home these past few months. We also rented a car for two days and spent one of those days traveling through the Ring of Kerry. The most notable stop was in the town of Sneem, a city I was unable to stop at last time I visited Kerry. Sneem was actually the home to one of my Aunts when she student taught for a few months many years ago. My parents and I were able to stop and visit the family that housed her years ago. In true Irish fashion, even though the mother had met my parents once 20 years ago and had never met me, she ushered us all into her living room and made us tea and gave us bread—true Irish hospitality.


The next day, my parents and I headed to the city of Kinsale which was a beautiful town nestled right near the bay that was full of cute shops and delicious restaurants. We spent the afternoon exploring the town and then drove out to Old Head, which is right on the coast and is a very famous (and very expensive) golf course. It was off-season so we were practically the only ones there, but the view was spectacular, although I did fear someone would fall off of the cliffs. My parents had one more day in Cork, which was unfortunately Good Friday. This meant that most of the city was closed down, but we still were able to wander a bit and visit a beautiful park and they were able to taste some Ireland famous fish and chips and Jackie Lennox for a final Irish meal.


Once my parents left, I had a few days rest before my next adventure of spring break began, and let me just say it was a journey. Marypaz, Savannah, and I left early on Tuesday and arrived in London that afternoon. After navigating both the train and the tube we walked and arrived at our hostel—a pub. Now, the three of us were going low budget in London, so to stay two nights in London for only 20 pounds was a steal. So when we walked into a bar, was led behind the bar back, into an alleyway where they then had a big room full of bunk beds that fit 15 people we could only laugh. The hostel was just a giant room and in order to tell which bed was yours, you tied a piece of string that had a little piece of paper on it that had your name on it.

After dropping off our belongings, we took the tube to one of the most important places in London—platform 9 ¾. After waiting in line for 45 minutes (which was worth every second of it) we took our picture pushing our carts into the wall and off to Hogwarts. After leaving Kings Cross, we ventured to Camden, which was a super cool part of London. The town was incredible and all of the shops were very unique. We wandered around for a bit, did some window-shopping, and eventually had dinner. We called in for an early night since our next day would be packed with sightseeing. The next day began with a bus ride into the city where we saw Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Globe Theater, the bridge the dementors destroyed in Harry Potter, the London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace. The day was filled with pictures and sites, and we ended the day in the area of Soho.


Soho was close to what you could consider the “Times Square” of London. We did some more window-shopping and exploring the city until we came to a time where we were completely lost and had to pull out a map. We were standing on the side of the street with our map when two people clearly in costume make up to make them seem old, came up to us and asked if we could direct them to some area in London. We were about to tell them to go away until we noticed two other girls in the similar make-up and a guy with a camera. We talked to them for a bit where the two guys danced for us and talked to us in their American accent impressions. After awhile, they called the two girls over who also talked to us and then they all began to sing. Once they were finished and talked some more to us, other bystanders came up to them and asked them for autographs. Instead, the guy who had the camera and had been filming the entire time asked us if we could re-shoot the map scene over a bit more to the side where less people would be in it. One of the guys in costume told us to just roll with it once we told them that we had no idea where they were talking about on the map. After we re-shot the scene they thanked us and handed me a card with their band name on it. As we walked away, Marypaz THEN decided to inform Savannah and I that apparently that was a famous band that was on X-Factor. Once we yelled at her for not having told us earlier and went back to where they had been, they had left. So while we didn’t get a picture with them, we may be famously featured in their next music video.

That night, we attempted to check in to our Ryanair flight to Spain on my phone while we had wifi at dinner. However, an error message kept popping up so we decided we would try again at the Internet café we remembered passing on our way to our hostel. As we walked by the Internet café on our walk back we noticed it was in a barbershop, we walked in and asked if we could use their computers and they led us through the barbershop, through a small living area where a football game was on, and to a room that had four computers in it. A man was sitting at one of the computers and when we walked in the man directing us motioned for him to get up and he offered us his computer. We tried once again to check into our flight and kept receiving error messages. After each of us trying we decided we would try again in the morning and if it didn’t work we would go to the desk at the airport and show them screenshots of us being unable to check in.

However, when we woke up in the morning we woke up to an email that our flight had been cancelled. We hurried off to the airport ready to yell at Ryanair but arrived to a giant line of people all waiting for flight changes due to cancelled flights. What had happened, was that air traffic controllers in France had gone on strike therefore no planes could fly over the entire country of France. In line, were people from all of the flights to Spain and North Africa. Marypaz, Savannah, and I buckled down for what turned out to be a 6-hour wait in the line. We had no wifi and entertained ourselves by playing charades and any other games we could think of. After 6 hours, we arrived to the front where we were then re-routed completely. The next direct flight to Ibiza was on Monday so in order to get there before, we would have to leave the next day in the afternoon to Milan and then the following day at 6 am to Ibiza. Thankfully, both Ryanair and their workers were so nice to us and put us up in a hotel for the night, gave us 15 pounds for dinner, and paid for the cab to the hotel.

The Line of Death


The next day we flew into the town of Bergamo, which is right outside Milan. We went into the city for some Italian pizza for dinner, which we ate at a restaurant on the top of the tallest hill of the city. After our long walk up the hill to the restaurant and our delicious meal, we went back to the airport at midnight where we then attempted to sleep on the airport floor for 3 hours before we had to wake up to check in for our 6am flight. Finally after days of travel, we arrived at 8:45am in the beautiful island of Ibiza, which is right off the coast of Spain, only a day and a half later than planned.


Marypaz, Savannah, and I met up with one of our other roommates Casey who had travel horror stories of her own as she was meeting us in Ibiza from Barcelona. Us four girls spent the next two days in complete relaxation. We spent all of our time exploring the city, drinking lots of sangria, eating, and getting some much missed sun. It wasn’t as warm as we had hoped, but we didn’t have any rain and were able to sit out in the sun for hours on end. The island of Ibiza is a HUGE party island, but since it was off-season we were able to stay in a nice hotel for a super cheap price and enjoy the city without it being packed with tourists. We ate tapas and paella, enjoyed 89 cent wine, looked out at the beach, and enjoyed each others fantastic company. Unfortunately, our two days in Spain ended much too soon, and after 12 hours of travel (flying from Ibiza to Barcelona, Barcelona to Dublin, then a 4 hour bus ride back to Cork) we were back home.



This week will be spent catching up with the friends. I can’t even imagine how difficult it will be to leave them when summer comes because I missed them all too much after not being with them for a week. I will write my final paper for school and be completely finished and ready for more travel come early May. Up next: my nerd self will once again come alive as Marypaz, Conor, and I will venture to Belfast so we can go on the Game of Thrones tour aka sights where they filmed Winterfell, the Twins, and a number of other countryside scenes. More later!

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