Park Guell and the Olympic Park

Our first full day in Barcelona started rather late. Thankfully, they gave us time to sleep in a bit, or I think the day would have really sucked. I didn’t sleep much that night; I blame my body for still being on US time.

We had a delicious breakfast, curtsy of our fabulous hotel! We all trooped outside and got on a bus for a guided tour of Barcelona. Our first stop was Park Guell! Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi, one of the most famous architects in Barcelona! His buildings and everywhere, and very distinctive. I mention a few we saw here!

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Since Gaudi had such a distinctive style, Park Guell is so interesting to visit. It feels like a whole other planet. It was bulit up above Barcelona, and supposed to be built with houses all around, but only one house was ever actually built on the park.

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There were parrots everywhere!

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You can see Barcelona off in the distance!

From here, we walked into the iconic mosaic portion of Park Guell. It’s what I think crosses people’s min when they think of Park Guell (besides the lizard!)

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From there, we walked around to the area where the lizard is set-up on the stairs.

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Once we got to the bottom of the stairs, for a quick group pic, we heard about how the two houses built at the bottom of the stairs were based on the story of Hansel and Gretel.

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This is the candy house that the witch lived in!

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And this house is the prison the kids were kept in (because of the bars on the windows apparently)!

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Next, we went and got our pictures with the iconic lizard! I’m not really sure of the significance of the lizard, but he was gorgeous! The mosaic was stunning!

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After this picture, I got yelled at in Spanish for sitting on the edge of the fountain (At least that’s what I’m assuming he was yelling at me for…)!

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After we were done touring Park Guell, we were packed back onto the bus, and taken to the Olympic Stadium! It was used in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona!

They’ve done a good job of preserving the site; it’s still used as a sporting complex, and the apartments that were used to house the athletes are now apartments for rent!

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That disc on the top of the tower is where the Olympic flame was lit for the Olympics that year!

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From the Olympic Stadium, we went to the overlook that looks over all of Barcelona, and the Olympic Port, in the Parc de Montjuic!

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So, that’s it for now! Stay tuned for my post on La Sagrada Familia!

Barcelona Walking Tour

Hi all! I’m back from Europe once again! The past two weeks were absolute perfection! And now I’m back to the hecticness (Yes, I made up a word to describe the amount of crazy) that is the spring semester of my Senior year in college…

So, I got back a few days ago, and immediately jumped back into school. It’s taken me a while to get back to the blog, and I’m sorry. But, I’m back now! And full of new travel adventures to regale you with!

So, we left from Barcelona on the 4th, at 8 in the morning. The ride to the airport was fine. Getting through security was fine, minus one TSA pat-down (Note to self: double check for underwire in your bra next time!). We left from Buffalo airport, and landed in JFK for a five hour long lay-over. We got some food, and all charged our phones. I called my mother (because I’m that person (and so is she)). Eventually, at about 10 p.m.  we were allowed to board and we began our flight to Barcelona!

Now, this was the most turbulent flight I have ever been on. It was terrifying! I half expected the plane to fall out of the sky! And I didn’t sleep much (Thanks turbulence) so when we landed in Barcelona the following morning, I was basically a zombie.

We got off the plane, went through customs, grabbed our bags, met our tour guide, and headed off for the hotel.

We were lucky enough that all our rooms were ready for us, so we were able to check in and get a few minutes to freshen up before our walking tour began.

We took the metro to the city center and were set free to explore Las Ramblas for a while.

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We got some tapas for lunch, then met the rest of the group for our walking tour. Our guide, Blanca, was wonderful, and showed us some of the attractions around the city center.

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I think I cleaned up pretty good for only getting about three hours of sleep in the past 48 hours!

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The lovely Font de Santa Anna

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This is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia! It’s lovely. We didn’t get the chance to explore it that first day in Barcelona, but we came back another day to check it out!

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One of my favorite parts about Barcelona were the narrow, twisting streets. It’s the kind of city where you want to get lost so you can keep wandering down these streets!

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We stopped at the Museum of History of Barcelona, so we could see where it was, in case we wanted to come back later.

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When we left the museum, we went out into the courtyard behind it, which housed a lovely church, the Saint Agatha Chapel.

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From the museum, we headed towards Barcelona’s City Hall.

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City Hall!

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Since the Christmas season was still in full swing in Barcelona, it was wonderful to still see all the Christmas decorations around the city!

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In the same courtyard, there was a rather morbid art exhibition. Since I can’t read Spanish (or Catalan, for that matter) I’m not sure what it was really about.

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Next, we went and saw the chicken wire sculpture that was dedicated to the Castellers, or the guys who make really big human towers!

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From there, we walked to the Santa Maria del Pi! I liked this area a lot. It had a little market that featured local produce!

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We were then lead back across the city center to the restaurant where we were going to have a very early dinner.

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As we walked, we saw Casa Batllo, designed by Barcelona’s most famous architect Antoni Gaudi!

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We got to the restaurant, Mussol, and settled in to eat a real Catalan style meal.

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As we were eating, Blanca told us all about the holiday that was happening that night. It was called Three Kings Day, and represented the day the three magi made it to Jesus. That night there was to be a big parade, and all the kids would get more presents, the biggest and best of all the presents.

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We managed to catch some of the parade on our way back to the metro to go back to the hotel.

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We watched only a little bit of the parade, since we were all exhausted. We decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Last night in Dungarvan

Hi all. So, this is my last post about my time in Ireland! There will be more adventures to come so keep following along.

When we left off, we had spent our final day in Dungarvan walking around the town and taking pictures of our favorite places. It was the perfect way to spend the day. You can read about it here!

We went back to our townhouse, and we all tried to wrap up packing. I had soooo much stuff to try and get back to the states it was laughable trying to see me fit it all back into my bags.

Eventually, I got tired and headed up to my room to relax. I decided I needed one last picture of the view out my bedroom window!

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The lovely faculty, staff, and “baby sitters” we had been spending the past few months with decided to throw us a going-away party at our favorite pub Merry’s.

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So, we all got dressed up and headed over to the pub. It was a wonderful night. They had food and drinks for us. We all went around saying things we loved about our time in Dungravan, and how much we were going to miss each other. I think just about everyone was crying.

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Those are Tom and Caramel Keith. They are our Irish “grandparents.” Tom did many tours with us and is a wealth of knowledge.

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Those are Joe and Gerty. Gerty was our “Nanny McPhee.” They went with us to Galway and were always around if we needed something.

It really was the perfect way to say goodbye, with one last showing of Irish hospitality.

The girls and I decided to leave a little early since we still had stuff to pack, and we had quite a few things in the house that needed to be drank. We said a tearful goodbye and headed back.

We planned on leaving Dungarvan at 3 a.m. so we decided to just stay awake and sleep on the plane. This was accomplished by drinking all the remaining wine in the apartment. By the time 3 a.m. rolled around, we were all pretty far gone.

We were loaded onto the bus, and I slept a good portion of the drive to Dublin Airport. We got unloaded at the airport, went through security, with only one kid leaving his passport in Dungarvan, and boarded the plane to come home.

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I had the window seat and slept basically the entire flight. We landed, had a layover, and got on another flight to Buffalo. We landed in Buffalo, gathered our things, and were officially home.

It’s hard to sum up how amazing this trip was. I occasionally went to class and learned things, but more importantly, I learned about myself. I learned to live on my own, to have roommates, to budget, to survive in different countries, and to appreciate different cultures. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I will never forget the people I met, or the places we went!

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However, this is not the end of this girl’s traveling. Tomorrow, I set off for two weeks in Barcelona, Nice, and Rome! More pictures and posts to follow!

Stay tuned! And thanks for following along!

Last day in Dungarvan

So, our last day in Dungarvan, before flying back to the States, was the most perfect day. We had perfect weather, and I opted to spend it wandering the town taking pictures so I would always remember it.

I’m warning you now: this post contains lots of pictures. Peruse at your own risk!

Before I was able to escape and go take pictures, we had the opportunity to meet the Sisters of Mercy, from where my university in the states gets its name. I was actually pretty excited to meet them since their convent was in Dungarvan.

They were the sweetest bunch of ladies ever! They had a tea ready for us, with snacks, when we got there, and we had the chance to just talk to them.

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It was really nice to experience their hospitality and see where my university got its roots! After we were finished with the Sisters, we set off to take some final pictures of our beautiful Dungarvan!

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That’s the building where we were taking classes. We had to haul butt up several flights of stairs, which was miserable early in the morning (or when you were hungover). 

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A quick pic of Dungarvan  harbor. There will be more. 

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We heard that Sammy the Seal was back on the surfboard in the Bay, we decided to start our picture taking there.

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I also got one last picture of the place that had been my home for the past few months: The Park Hotel.

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We hiked back towards the harbor to get some pictures of the buildings along the water. We had frequented many of the pubs on this stretch of road.

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The nice thing about our last day was that all the boats had docked in the harbor. It was so colorful and so pretty to see! It made our last day really special since it seemed like all the boats showed up just for us that day!

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And because I’m me… enjoy the next collection of pictures! I think by now you all know I can’t take a nice picture ever!

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After we were done goofing around here, we set off around the corner to walk past our favorite pubs and reminisce about the good nights we had there.

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Some of the lovely, and colorful, buildings around town.

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We spent a few good nights in Moorings!

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This is my favorite pub of all! I loved the Anchor Bar!

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We turned down a street and I snapped a few quick pics of the main street of Dungarvan. I loved all the colorful buildings!

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We continued down past the white building at the end, and ended up on the other side of harbor. We could see the church on Abbeyside from where we were, and we reminisced on all the times we hiked over there because it’s beautiful!

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From here, we could look out past the harbor into the open ocean. It was lovely to see the wide open expanse of ocean and land!

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It was nice to have these signs identifying the birds. They were birds that we had seen all the time we were there, so it was nice to be able to put a name to the beak, so to speak.

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Since we never had the chance to go into Dungarvan Castle, I decided I needed a picture in front of the castle doors.

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I got another picture of the wall that commemorates the people who died in WWI. We attended a ceremony to see a new name added.

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This was Merry’s, our favorite more relaxed pub. We spent many quiet nights here drinking Guinness and just talking.

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This was my favorite cafe. It was on the way to class so I could grab a coffee in the morning, and they made the best aromatic duck wraps!

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We stopped in the main square and I grabbed a few pictures of the buildings around here. We crossed through this square everyday on our way to class.

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We took off home after this as it started to rain on us. It was a perfect last day! I got so many great pictures of the places around town that I had come to love!

Stay tuned to hear about how we spent our last night in Dungarvan, and hear where I’m headed next!

 

 

 

Villierstown

So, you can read all about my boating adventures, where I went sailing and speed boating on the Blackwater River, here and here.

As the boats were coming back in, we were packed into the car and taken to Villierstown in groups. There were 6 of us in the car, so I got a photo of some of us as proof!

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Once we all got safely to Villierstown, we were let out at the church to wait for the rest of our people.

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While we were waiting, we were told to head inside because there was an Irish step dance competition happening, and we were invited in to watch the kids dance.

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Since I took Irish dance in the States, it was really cool to have the opportunity to compare traditional Irish dance to the Americanized version. The classes that I took were actually very similar to the dancing we saw!

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I was the only person who noticed this photo being taken!

Eventually, my friend Sara and I decided to go explore Villierstown while we were waiting for the next part of our day to start.

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If you remember from my last post, we saw Dromana Bridge, and then we found Dromana Road in our exploring!

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I saw this little house in our exploring and fell in love with it. I will live there someday!

So, Sara and I set off from the church and picked the main road out of Villierstown. We followed it along for a while, stopping to enjoy the scenery. It is a very lovely area.

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I love all the cows!

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That large gray square in the distance is Camphire House. From my google searching, I can’t tell anything historical that happened there, but it was built in the 1830’s which is cool!

At this point, Sara and I noticed a path off into the woods and decided to do a little exploring off-road. It was a pretty area with lots of trees and fresh air.

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The trees where giant, and looked like something out of a fairy tale! 

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I, of course, had to stop and take a selfie!

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We eventually discovered that the path we were following was a path for logging trucks.

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At this point, we decided to head back to Villierstown, and to meet up with the rest of our group. We were having a group dinner at a local pub, where they brought out a full spread for us.

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We ate, drank, watched some sports, and played some pool. It was a nice way to end the day.

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Eventually, they piled us back into buses and sent us back to Dungarvan. I think (huge emphasis on think) I may have gotten over my fear of water, but haven’t been on a boat since, so only time will tell.

Stay tuned to hear about my last few days in Ireland, and where I’m headed next!

Sailing on Blackwater con.

Hi all! Sorry for the crazy delay between posts! With the semester winding down, and now the holidays, it’s been hard finding time to post. You can catch up, and read about my time learning to sail, here.

So, I’ll pick up where I left off. We were at the Villierstown Boating Club where the lovely crew had taken us sailing on the Blackwater River, which the Vikings used to sail on! Since I have a pretty strong fear of boats, the first part of the day had been a real struggle since I was sailing in a 100 year old wooden sailboat. Luckily, we made it back to dry land okay. The lovely crew of VBC provided us with a really nice picnic lunch. We posed for a nice group shot, and then were split back up into our groups. This time, we were going out onto the river in a speed boat!

I was a little worried about the speed boat because there is literally nothing between you and the water! It seemed so easy to fall off/out of the boat!

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Do you see the fear behind my eyes?

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There were three other boats out with us, and the boats would take turns driving over each other’s wake making the boat shoot really high in the air! It was actually pretty fun, when I wasn’t having a baby heart attack.

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This area of the river is gorgeous! I had a great time looking at at the scenery and some of the cool buildings on the river’s edge.

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I never learned the name of this ruin, or what it used to be (and google wasn’t helpful) but it’s still cool to look at and wonder what it used to be!

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This is Ballynatray House! It’s basically just a really lovely mansion near the river.

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It wouldn’t be Ireland without cows!

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Less fear in this picture! By this point, I was really having a good time!

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This is an old castle tower!

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This is Tourin House, another old historic house on the river!

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And this is Dromona Bridge! The Indian design was really unexpected in the middle of Ireland!

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So, we made it safely back to land, and stopped for a quick wind-blown selfie!

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We wanted for the rest of the groups to get back in, and then we were loaded into cars and headed off for the next adventure of the day! Stay tuned and Happy New Year!