Friday, February 27, 2009

And life starts to get busy again...

So, I have just over 3 months left and it's getting down to crunch time. So far this is what is planned for the rest of my time here, but I'm almost positive there will be more added in here somewhere:

March 6-8
We are spending a weekend in the Gaeltacht for our Irish class. A Gaeltacht is an area of Ireland in which the majority of the population uses Irish as their primary language. There are Gaeltachts all over Ireland (most notably places like Canamara in Galway) but we are going to a Gaeltacht in Kerry. It should be really fun...and slightly scary since we are forbidden from speaking English while we're there.

March 30-April 4
I am going on an excavation in Limerick at a Medival nunnery for a week with my excavation course.

April 5-21
We are going on a Eurotrip!!! Our first stop is a night in Madrid, then a train to Barcelona for 3 days. From Barcelona we will take a day trip to Andorra, then we will fly from Barcelona to Paris and will stay there for 4 days. From Paris we fly to Berlin and stay there for 2 days. We will then take a train to Prague (I get to go again!!!!!) for 2 days, then another train to Vienna for about a day and a half. After Vienna we fly to London and spend one night there, then fly back to Cork. It is going to be one heck of a crazy adventure, but I cant wait!!

May 14-27
One of my best friends from home (Britt...met her at UCSB first year then lived with her last year) is coming to stay with me!!! Her father is flying her over here pretty much as her 21st birthday present (she suspects). He's even paying to fly me up to Dublin so that I can meet her when her flight gets in. We're going to stay in Dublin for a day or two, then we're not sure about how we're going to do stuff after that. I'll definitely be taking her on day trips out of Cork at points (Blarney, Kinsale, Cobh, etc), but she might also come up with us to Galway for a little bit. I cant wait!!

June 4
This is the day that I fly home. It's supposed to be 15.5 hrs of travel time, but I at least get into LA at a reasonable hour, so it could be worse.

So that is the plan for now. All of these things are definitely happening (already have tickets for them all), but other small things will probably be added in. I'm starting to freak feels like home is right around the corner and I'm just not ready for it yet...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Our trip to Malta was AMAZING! We left Cork on Wednesday night and got back on Saturday night, so we really didn't get all that much time there, but it was still wonderful!

This is me "sleeping" in the Dublin airport on Wednesday night. We had a 6.30 am flight on Thursday so we flew up to Dublin the night before and spent the night in the Starbucks at the airport. It was like one big giant sleepover with everyone in the airport. Pretty fun actually. We got a cluster of chairs and couches and made a circle fort and put all of our bags in the middle (keeping the valuables on our person...Kelly shoved her purse up her sweatshirt and just pretended that she was pregnant...actually looked like it too).

Maltese islands out the window of the plane!

The next 3 are the view from the roof of our hotel!

We went to lunch when we got in at a cute little family-owned restaurant.

I got some sort of Maltese fish dish. Jenna got octapus in the same sauce as mine (it was reeeeally good). Laura got salmon. And Kelly ordered ravioli, but the waiter heard rabbit, so that's what she got. She's essentially vegetarian so Laura, Jenna, and I ended up eating her rabbit while she at all of the side dishes.

Our shadows in the water.

There was a Duck Village!

These were their public buses.

Check out how clear the water is!!

This was St. Julians (a town). We were staying in Gzira, about a mile or two walk away.

Getting my feet wet in the Mediterranean!

Laura after she slipped and fell on her back trying to run on algae covered cement. At least I'm used to walking on rocks like that from the beach and tidepooling so I was actually the most steady on my feet.

Paceville (the town next to St. Julians) where all of the nightclubs are.

The view from our table at dinner.

My delicious pizza!

The second day we walked to Valetta, the capital city. It was about a 3 mile walk.

That's Valetta across the water, but we had to walk all the way along the coast to get to it.

One of the harbors on the way.

On the far side of Valetta.

We wandered into a park and found this.

Part of the city.

On the walk back.

We stopped into a pub and got some drinks to cool down since we discovered that we had walked about 6 miles that day and spent about 6 hours out in the sun (with a quick break for lunch).

So those were just a few of the many that I took on this trip. On our second night we went out to the clubbing area and stayed out until 3.30 am (the clubs stay open until about 5 am i think) and then got a cab back to our hotel to grab a couple hours of sleep before we had to leave at 10 am the next day. Overall it was a great weekend in the sun. I was able to wear my sandals and my tanlines from them made a very quick reappearance. Jenna and I didnt burn at all, just got a bit of our normal color back, but Laura and Kelly definitely did. Laura hated it but Kelly thought it was great that she would get to go back to Ireland with a sunburn. The people there all thought that we were totally nuts because it was around 65ยบ and we were wearing shorts/roled up pants and tshirts (and light sweaters on the second day). They were bundled up for "winter weather" with big coats and scarves. It was hilarious. We were really lucky because on the day we flew out of Dublin, around 8 am they closed the airport down for the whole day until 9pm that night because of the snow in Ireland. We just laughed at all of the Maltese people who thought it was cold. It was definitely great!

Monday, February 9, 2009


I'm finally finishing off the last of my Christmas trip. We spent an entire week in Budapest since Amanda's aunt lives there, yet somehow it feels like we didnt do as much as we did in the other places. Go figure.

This is Westie, the cat that her aunt has been taking care of for quite a while. He was cool, though not as nice to have around as a dog.

This is the Christmas market near the university that Amanda's aunt works at.

The castle and the national gallery.

There were fun statues around town.

Amanda and her aunt with the constable statue outside of the university.

This is actually really cool. Guys are supposed to put locks on here and give the key to the woman that they love. It's to signify that she holds the key to his heart.

We went to the zoo!

The hippos would just sit like this begging for food. You can actually buy some at the shops and restaurants to feed the animals.

A zoo keeper walking a red panda.

This guy was my favorite. Great hair style!

This is a cute cafe that we had coffee and sweets at for an afternoon snack.

This is the courtyard at her aunt's apartment building.

On Christmas eve these guys were out here playing carols over the Christmas market.

We tried out the Hungarian potato pancake. Pretty darn good!

On of the main shopping streets in town.

A snowflake on my jacket as we were waiting for the bus to go to Christmas Eve dinner!

Her aunt's tree. Not quite what I'm used to...

SNOW on Christmas morning up at the house that we went to for brunch!!!

The day after Christmas Amanda and I just went out exploring. Most things were closed, but it was still a good day. I dont know what it is about these cows, but I feel like they travel Europe...I remember there being ones in Prague when I was there with my dad.

The Christmas tree at the very closed down Christmas market. Only the food vendors were still open.

More castle stuff.

The main bridge, though we never actually used that one to get over to Buda (these pics were taken from Pest, where we were staying).

One night we made dinner for her aunt since we hadn't cooked all week. Technically we just made the gnochi and her aunt through together the leftover turkey from Christmas with some cream and paprika for a basic sauce. It wasnt too bad, though I really dont like gnochi (that was the downside to Budapest...I think I only liked 3 meals that I had there, the rest I just forced down).

Over in Buda up at the castle area.

Looking out toward Pest.

Parliament building in Pest.


Buda from the castle.

The other side of Buda from the gates to the castle village/area.

The National Museum! We spent almost all day here on our last day in Budapest. Luckily it's just down the street from her aunt's apartment. I especially liked the archaeology exhibit.

There we go! I'm finally caught up with Christmas! Now, I have about 400 pictures from my weekend in Malta to go through. It was absolutely AMAZING there. We had a total blast and got to eat incredible food and spend almost 2 full days out in the warm sun. I loved it and am sooooo happy that we went!