Friday, November 26, 2010

Enclosed pictures

As always, have your fill of photography excellence : )
....haha, if only.


The Ireland Collection

Address: Somewhere in Wales

Yo ho, yo ho,
Our epic trip to Ireland started out not so epically. We missed our very first train and therefore had to play catch-up the whole way to Holyhead, Wales. We arrived in Wales four minutes after our ferry left for ye ol' green land! It was frustrating at first, but then we decided to just laugh about it and have a good time where we were stranded...which was the middle of nowhere. The town was very small, but hosted a lovely, garage-like "Bargains Galore," several consignment shops, and a Turkish pizza place. With our bellies full of Turkish pizza, and a few random purchases in hand, we proudly boarded the last ferry of the day at 5:30. The ferry was much nicer than I assumed it would be. There were a few places to get food, a gift shop, and a theater area (playing a rugby match). Since the ride was a bit choppy, I sat for most of it. Upon arriving in Dublin, we had to ask for directions several times before finding our hostel, but it isn't too bad so I think we're ok : ).
May the luck of the Irish be with you,
Address: Mountains outside of Dublin

Thanks to Sandy, our English Mum, we had booked a day tour before coming to Ireland. The tour was definitely a trip highlight. We boarded a bus at 9 am and it took us into the Wicklow mountains, which are gorgeous! The pics don't really do it justice, but it really was a lovely area. We stopped at spots where "PS. I love you" and "Braveheart" were filmed (awesome!!). It was really neat to step outside of the beaten path and explore the countryside. We also saw Glendalough Monastery, which is so old it dates back to around the 900s or so! Many of the original walls are still standing, even though they were constructed without cement or any sort of sealing agent. They don't make things like they used to.
I'm just going to go pretend that I'm meeting Gerald Butler randomly on the road, like the movie...If you'll excuse me : ).
~Glenda Lough
Address: Dublin at Night

I honestly think that Dublin has been my favorite city that I've visited so far. The people are so friendly and helpful, the weather was nice during our trip (which I realize is a miracle), and the city itself is just great. After our tour, we went to the Leprechaun Museum, which is brand new and totally worth the 7 euros we spent to tour it. Most of it was interactive, we could climb huge pieces of furniture, explore a wooden version of Giant's Causeway, and walk through a rainbow. We also lucked out with a hilarious tour guide, which made everything that much better. Afterwards, we ate at a church that had been converted to a pub. Ironically enough, it was the same church that Arthur Guinness was married in! We spent the rest of the night walking around the city and enjoying the city lights.
I should write a song about Dublin city lights....
~Cold in Dublin (but it's not raining)

Address: Ferry Port

Sadly, Saturday to Monday was our limited time in Dublin. On our last day, we got up early and walked to the Guinness Warehouse/ seemed appropriate. However, after we walked all the way there, it was too expensive for us to deem worthy of our time so we just shopped around before heading to our ferry port. Unfortunately, we grossly misjudged the distance to the port. We thought that we were almost there when a well-meaning taxi driver pulled over and told us that we still had about 2 miles to go (after we'd already been walking about 40 minutes). He willingly gave us a ride (that's probably how he makes most of his money, picking up stupid tourists trying to get to their ferry) and we made it just in time.
All in all, a great trip. How many times in your life can you say you were in 3 countries in one day? or walked on the same road as Gerald Butler? or pretended to be a leprechaun? I <3 Ireland...and should have bought a t-shirt that said so : ).
Be ye Blessed,
~Maggie O'Donnell (hmmm)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Address: Cardiff

Dear Americans,
Do you know what the true beauty of being in England entails? Being able to travel to Wales by train! Seriously, how many times in your life could you say you took a train for an hour and arrived in Wales? Well that's what we did. On a bit of a whim, we decided to go to Cardiff for the day. Immediately, I learned that they actually speak a different language there (Welsh), call me an idiot, but I didn't know that.
We didn't have much of an agenda, but we did get to visit the castle in Cardiff and tour the museum for a little bit. After that, we enjoyed real, authentic Welsh Starbucks (ok, I know, but I can never turn down Gingerbread lattes when they're in season) and shopped for a few hours. Just like England, everything closes around 5, so we had to spend a few hours walking around in the cold, but it was still a lovely place to visit.

Wrth eu bodd yn fy ffrindiau,

PS. The welsh language is composed almost entirely of consonants....

Address: Salisbury

After Stonehenge, we went to Salisbury for the rest of the day. Salisbury is a quaint town (though that word could be used to describe many towns here) and home to the Mompesson (sp?) House which was part of the set in the movie for "Sense and Sensibility." Of course, being the nerd that I am, I adore Jane Austin and was eager to mosey around the house and look at all the artifacts from that time period. We were also lucky enough to come to Salisbury on a day when the street fair was happening. There were sellers with fresh donuts and scones and all sorts of handmade items. I seized the opportunity to try Pumpkin soup....which was actually fairly delicious.
The best part of the day was seeing the Salisbury Cathedral, which was the largest one I have seen so far. It was so beautiful, I could have stayed for awhile. Our main objective was to see one of the 4 original copies of the Magna Carta, but sadly that display was closed for the day.

Why can't churches be this beautiful in the States?

PS. I may not have seen the Magna Carta, but I did see several tombs of VIPs from long ago, check out my pictures!

Address: Stonehenge

Stonehenge, one of the greatest henges in the world (homage to Eddie Izzard). I have seen pictures on this place so many times in my life that it was almost strange to see it up close. That's how a lot of memorable places are here....still so cool, yet weird. At any rate, stonehenge was pretty straight forward, if you've seen pictures you know what I'm talking about. But a few days before visitting, our BCA class discussed the history of the henges in England, which is actually quite interesting. Did you know that there are actually around 300 henges in the UK? It's just that Stonehenge is the most preserved because many of the others were made from wood. We did the normal, touristy pictures and then moved on. It's just another landmark that I can check off my list of things to see within my lifetime!

Stonily yours,


PS. We also learned that based upon skeletons from this time period that have been studied by archeologists, women helped to construct the henges as well as men. Yay woman power!! Our tutor recommended that we draw lady parts on the mural of the tribal men raising the stones....and someone was almost successful.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Address: Washington DC (sort of)

Dear Bed-Sheet Ghosts, Glittery Vampires, and Plastic-Tiared Princesses,
Happy Halloween! Regency celebrated Halloween in style (and quite loudly at times). Since I am admittedly, a newcomer to the idea of dressing up for Halloween (never got to trick or treat as a sad) I have just as much fun with it as the kids do. The holiday is not really as popular over here as in the States (at least not with kids going door to door). To me it actually seemed to be more of a big deal to those of us who are over 18 and want to go to costume parties. Michelle and I showed off our love for the show "NCIS" by dressing up as two of the characters. If you don't know the show, I was Ziva, an Israeli-American hardcore agent, and Michelle is Abby, a sweet, brilliant gothic scientist. It was so much fun that we spent the whole night posing and making ridiculous videos. Who says you can't play dress-up after you're "grown-up?"

Agent Ziva David

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pictures enclosed

Couldn't forget to send pictures as well! Enjoy = )

(Remember, all albums are listed on the right side ->, and Twitter updates are on the left <-, just in case you wanted to stay completely informed)

The "picasa photostream" on the right is an album with pics that other people took that I wanted to share.