Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Impromptu Road Trip!

As some of you may know, the weather in Ireland has been GORGEOUS for the past few days (in fact  right now it's about 65 degrees with completely clear skies and I am totally comfortable in a lovely sun dress). The first day that it was like this was Saturday (though I must admit that it was actually a bit hazy that day...still really bright and pretty warm though) and I was having a bit of a sleep in and woke up around 11, went on facebook (still in bed) and about half an hour later I get a message from Sarah saying "We're taking a road trip to the beach. We're picking you up in 20 minutes. Be ready." And the amazing part? I was actually ready in 15 minutes! And that includes a shower and breakfast. I'm impressed with myself. (I completed a similar feat yesterday when I woke up 25 minutes before my class was due to begin and I made it from bed down the the lab in only 30 minutes and in that time I managed to shower, make/eat breakfast, and make lunch, then run down to the lab, making it there in about 7 minutes instead of the usual 12...super impressed with myself there).

 Anyway, as promised, they picked up up 20 minutes later and we were on our way to the beach! We didn't actually know of a beach to go to, so we just kind of drove and ended up at the ocean.

Here are Melanie and Sarah in the back seat (somehow they decided that I would get shotgun. I wasn't complaining though).

This is Anna-Lena. She's from Germany and teaches German at a primary school in Macroom. About 5 minutes into the drive I suddenly realized that she had a normal car! Turns out that she brought it over from Germany.

Julio obviously came with us. And his friend was there too (Anna-Lena has a sheep thing named...Feice...I think).

On our way we made a stop in Midleton to walk around in the sunshine. I don't know how Anna-Lena could stand having a scarf on. I was roasting in what I was wearing.

Turns out that we parked right next to the Jameson distillery, but we didn't actually go in to have any, just to take pictures.

Someone at some point thought that they heard that there were beaches in/around Ballycotton, so we set the GPS and headed in that direction. On the way we saw this awesome church.

And we found the ocean!!

Not really a sandy beach, but we weren't complaining.

Dead Christmas tree on the beach was a bit weird.

Julio was having a good time hanging out.

We then walked to another beach thing, but this one was really just some rocks right on the water. Oh yeah, and cliffs.

Melanie and I sat down right were waves were crashing against the rocks. So much fun.

Later Sarah and Anna-Lena took our seats.

Amazingly when this happened all of them stayed totally dry and I'm the one that got splashed by the wave.

Sarah climbed up to hang out on the grass.

She ended up taking a nap in the sun.


After the beach we headed back toward Midleton and stopped at the Ballymaloe Manor for "lunch."

The bread there was incredible!

Sarah and I got soup and a sandwich to split. This is roast squash, sweet potato, and cumin soup. Normally I wouldn't try this, but it was actually sooo good.

The sandwich that we ordered was called the "Hot Alpine Sandwich" and consisted of brie, peppered salami and onion confiture on toasted Arbutus bread. Amazing.

More yummy bread!

And they had awesome locally produced dishes.

For desert Melanie got a cupcake with an edible flower.

And Sarah got a slice of plum tart.

The beautiful grounds.

On the way home we stopped back in Midleton so that Anna-Lena could go to a fabric shop and a few of us went into the sweets shop and we found a ton of yummy American candy! In this picture we're holding Twizzlers and poprocks :D

Sarah was sooo happy with her Twizzlers.

And at this point we had had soooo much sugar so we started blasting crazy German music and making the stuffed animals in the car dance. It was awesome.

Overall, it was an absolutely amazing day. Totally unexpected and totally needed. I hope to have a lot more days like this when I get back now that the weather is getting nicer!

Two more to go, I can totally do this!

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