Thursday, April 14, 2011

#22 in Europe

I am officially old now that I have turned 22!!  My birthday day was pretty uneventful as I had my finance test and then sat on a bus for six hours, but the rest of my birthday week was awesome as I traveled to Ireland! My Grandma and my Aunt both sent me birthday packages which were really nice and my mom put some birthday money into my diminishing bank account!

In the National Park
On Tuesday afternoon, Stephanie and I took a bus from Arnhem to Frankfurt where her sister is studying abroad.  When we got to the Netherlands, German border, our bus had to pull over at this stop and three police people got our our bus for inspections.  About 3/4s the bus were asked for there passport and about 1/4 had their bags inspected.  Some even had to get off the bus and get their bags from underneath to be inspected as well.  Stephanie and I were not asked for anything; apparently they board buses and trains looking for people with drugs. This whole process took about 40 minutes.  We arrived in Frankfurt about 10:30 that night and her sister, Christina was at the train station to meet us and we went back to her place.  The next morning we had to get up early to meet the other girls (3 of Christina's friends, all from Milwaukee, Megan, Casandra, and Sigrid) at the train station.  From the train station we had a two hour bus ride to the airport, Frankfurt han, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere! Our flight left around 2 and arrived in the Kerry Airport around 4 (we flew Ryanair). From the airport we took a taxi and checked into our hostel.  The town we stayed in was Killarny which was only about 11,000 people.  We went out to eat for dinner at a place called Cronins where I had shepherds pie and french fries.  After that we walked to the grocery store, because we decided that in order to save some money we would make the rest of our meals instead of going out to eat all the time.  The hostel provided breakfast for us that was included in the price of our stay, then we just got things for sandwiches and snacks for lunch, and then for dinner we made tacos, pasta and brats.  On Thursday we rented bikes and biked through the national park and saw many mountains and lakes, the Ross Castle, Muckross house and gardens and the Torc Waterfall. On Friday we did a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry which was very beautiful and scenic.  We saw a few cliffs, the coastline, Moll's Gap and Ladies View.  Saturday we did another bus tour of the Dingle Peninsula which was even more beautiful than the Ring of Kerry. We stopped at Inch beach, more cliffs and coastline, historic huts, Slea head, and a lot of sheep! Saturday night we went to an Irish pub to have a Guinness which surprisingly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!  We had an early flight back to Frankfurt on Sunday morning. We arrived back at Christina's place around 3.  Since it was such a nice day, we went and walked around for a little while and then just relaxed and sat but the Rhine River.  Stephanie and I had a bus back to Arnhem that left Frankfurt at midnight and arrived back to Arnhem around 4am!

Ireland was a great trip, and so far has been my favorite place.  It was so different than the other places in that we just enjoyed the scenery and landscape rather than buildings. The peopled that lived in the country side seemed to live very simple.  I think the Irish people are the nicest people ever.  We had a lot of people just start talking to us; like if we needed directions and told some things to see and do.  At first I was a little nervous about traveling with the group because I felt like the oddball, but the girls were all very nice and we had a great time!

Irish buildings

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