In Galway we booked a hostel in the middle of the city, which was perfect because it is about a 5 minute walk from the downtown! Staying in a hostel, let me tell you, is a different experience. We booked an 8 person room, so there were 2 Australian girls already staying there when we arrived. They gave us some good suggestions on places to eat and go out, so we quickly put our stuff away and left the hostel to explore and eat because I was starving for a good meal after all that traveling! We ended up at this restaurant called "Monroe's" and I think I ate the best meal of my life there. It may have just been the fact that for the last 3 weeks I had been fed Spanish food, and this meal had red meat, and food cooked without olive oil. After dinner, we went to a couple Irish pubs. I found out quickly that in Ireland, Guinness is the cheapest beer because it originates there. The Irish pub was such a fun atmosphere, because there was a live Irish band and a lot of the people knew the songs. They even played the song from P.S. I Love You! That night we turned in around 12:30 because we were so tired.
The next morning was kind of funny. Tanya asked me to set the alarm for 7:30 am so she could get up and shower. I decided to get up around 8 to get ready before everyone else crowded the bathroom. We both got ready, ate breakfast, and the whole time were wondering why the whole hostel was dead, because 8:30 wasn't super early. After we were completely ready, I asked the front desk what time it was, and he responded with "its 7:45 am". I, being the smart one I am, totally forgot about the time change and basically got up at the crack of dawn. We wanted to explore, however, so we went and got coffee and walked around Galway. The whole town was filled with fog and the river was beautiful. When we got back, everyone else was finally awake, and we left for a bus tour of the country.
The Ireland countryside is GORGEOUS. I have never seen so many shades of blue and green in my life. On the way to our first stop, we passed rolling hills, pastures with sheep, castles, different church ruins, and a bay coastline. Our first stop was a walking tour, which took place at a cottage nestled in a valley between 2 mountains. The tour guide explained how his family had owned this piece of land for 600 years, along with the 2 mountains surrounding it. We hiked to the top of the hill/mountain, and saw a breathtaking view: mountains in the distance covered in fog, an ancient abbey, and miles of green land scattered with various houses or animals. After the tour, we warmed up inside with some fresh apple pie and coffee.
The next stop on our tour was a brief photostop with the coastline in the distance. After that we moved on to the Cliffs of Moher, which were AMAZING to say the least. It was miles of cliffs that dropped off into the sea. Looking into the horizon you were able to see so many different shades of blue (which I know I already said, but its hard to capture beauty in words). We climbed to the top of the tower for an even better view. I felt like I could have stayed there for hours just taking it all in.
After the cliffs, we went to a small town for lunch, then proceeded to another set of cliffs, which were beautiful also. We got out, walked around and took some pictures, then went to our final destination, an old castle. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside since it is winter still, but it was still worth the stop. We arrived around sunset, and since the castle set on the water, the view was amazing. It was cool looking at the castle and thinking that people actually lived there at some point in time. Exhausted from the many stops from the day, we finally arrived back at the hostel and went to grab some dinner. That night we met up with Tanya's cousins who were also in Ireland and all went out together, which was a fun time.
Here is an example of what I mentioned before about hostels being a new experience. When we arrived, there were 2 Australian girls staying in our room. On Sunday morning when I woke up, however, there was a guy sleeping in one of the beds, which weirded me out at first. I guess people just kind of come and go as they travel. On Sunday after mass (finally one in English) and some shopping, we took the bus back to Dublin. In Dublin, we went to the Guinness Brewery, which was awesome! It consisted of 7 floors. The top floor was a circular room surrounded by windows. We were able to enjoy a free pint of Guinness while looking out over the whole city of Dublin, which was quite the view.
That night, after a failed attempt at getting tickets to see Lady Gaga, who was performing that night, we walked around for what seemed like hours, ate dinner, then took a cab to the airport. After a long day of traveling on Monday, we finally arrived back in Salamanca. I never thought I would be sooooo happy to see my bed after sleeping in airports and hostel beds. Although Ireland was beyond amazing, it was good to be back at Basi's.
Well I have to get going, this post is getting miles long, and I have to go to class before heading to Rome today! I will post pictures soon! I will try to post some on here for those of you without facebook. Miss you and love you all!