Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bohemian Like You

So quite a while ago, I took a trip to Prague.


The quad and I had planned this, our very last trip, at almost the very beginning of the year. We were excited at the prospect of the illustrious Christmas Market, where we could attend the Christmas tree lighting and shop for homemade gifts.



Truth be told, the Christmas tree lighting was a bit horrific (10,000 people in one square is a recipe for disaster) and while the market held some gems, it was overall a bit underwhelming.  That is, of course, aside from trdelniks (tur-dle-nyeeks), the world's most delicious and mitten-friendly rendition of fried dough.

ImageThe former capital of Bohemia exuded cool in so many ways other than this Christmassy explosion. Prague held more for me in its delicious vegetarian buffets, absurd variety of cheap beer, beautiful architecture, astrological clocks, informative tour guides, beautiful John Lennon wall, and, most of all, fun time spent with the friends I had to bid adieu to just a week later.






I suppose I have been putting off writing this because, with the publishing of this last travel-related post, it really feels as if my adventure is over. I had more fun than I can ever explain, and I'll always cherish the friendships I made at the castle, whether they be at American Night in Well or getting lost in the winding streets of Montmarte. These are memories I will never forget, and I'm so glad to have had this experience I've dreamed of since I was a child. I return home much poorer, but much wiser, I'd like to think. It's impossible to see so much of the outside world and not change at all. I'd say I'm changed for the better. This piece of wisdom from the John Lennon wall sums it up quite nicely:


Friday, December 14, 2012

Galway Girl

I've been a bit behind because of finals and general insane stress, but a couple of weeks ago, I went to Ireland!


We stayed in a little hostel in Dublin that was a converted Catholic school, including a chapel that served as a dining hall with a stained glass window about backpacking! That wasn't the only church we saw that weekend - we visited the Christ Church cathedral, the oldest (and surely one of the most beautiful) in Dublin -



Which was attached to the Dublinia Museum, a hilarious interactive children's museum about the Viking invasions in Dublin.


We also got to see the Book of Kells and Trinity College, although the incessant rain made the outdoor tour less fun that it could have been.

The St. James' Gate Brewery, where they used to make Guinness, was a definite highlight. It was one of the most comprehensive museums I've been to (hilariously) and it had the best views of the city! Tragically, it was night time, and I couldn't get a good shot. But here I am toasting to good health.

We also loved our day tour to the Irish countryside, where we got to see the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish sea.





And we had the most amazing food! Thanksgiving dinner with our Gerard Butler lookalike waiter, delicious burgers at Bobo's, and the most incredible quiche and dessert at Queen of Tarts.



The pubs were so much fun I couldn't stand it. We got to see the pub from PS I Love You, which was super fun, but our favorite was the Old Storehouse, where bands played away into the night with fiddles and acoustic guitars. They even played one of my favorite songs, Wagon Wheel, and let Lexie and I sing a chorus. It was pretty magical.


Dublin was such a welcome taste of home for me. Everywhere I looked, something was reminding me of Boston. It was the first city we visited that had a little taste of Christmas happening, and we couldn't be happier to celebrate with everyone. I certainly can't wait to go back.

P.S.: Due to the craziness that is Ryan Air and their 7 hour nonsense layovers, this was also the trip that brought me to 4 countries in one day: Ireland, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Our afternoon in Italy was filled with the most beautiful handcrafted ornaments, delicious gelato, syrupy cappuccinos, and breathtaking architecture. That being said, I will not miss Ryan Air one bit.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flat Stanley's Dublin Adventures

Hi, Collicott School Room 340! My name is Annie, and I'm Matty's big cousin. Right now, I'm spending a semester of my college in the Netherlands, and I get to travel to other countries every weekend. A couple of my friends and I just took a trip to Dublin, Ireland, and Matty sent me a Flat Matty to take along with me. Unfortunately, he got lost somewhere in the European postal system. But I took his pal Flat Stanley along with me to Dublin instead!

We flew out of the Netherlands at 5:00 AM on Thursday, which was much too early for me and Stanley. My friends were really excited to meet him! Here he is with Lexie:


He was pretty small, so he rode along in my wallet.


But he made sure to get a look out the window!


When we got to Dublin, he checked out the sights. Here he is in the city center:


We all took a trip down to Christ Church Cathedral, the oldest medieval cathedral in Dublin. It was founded all the way back in 1028 AD!


Then we went to the Dublinia Museum, which taught us all about how Vikings raided and inhabited parts of Dublin around 800-900 AD. Stanley got himself in some sticky situations there.


And we got shackled up in prison,


But thankfully, the warden let us out for dinner.

We ate at a delicious traditional Irish place called Bobo's. Stanley tried some of my veggie burger.


The next day, we saw the famous St. Stephen's Green, a park Queen Victoria had built back in the 1800s. It was pretty chilly and gray, but still very beautiful!


And we took a trip to Malahide Castle, north of Dublin. It's from the 12th century, and housed all kinds of history - including the ghost of a court jester! (We had Stanley keep an eye out, but sadly, we never saw him)


We loved the outside of the castle, and the beautiful gardens.


That night, we went to a pub that had a great view of the Dublin skyline!


Stanley was excited to pose in front of it, even though it was a little blurry.

I had so much fun that weekend, and it was great to have a little pal to take along with me! I'm sorry that Flat Matty got lost in the mess of European mail, but I hope that you all had fun seeing Stanley's adventures in the Emerald Isle. Have a great Christmas!