Beyonce is my Gurll!!

Lesson learned: stop trusting the bus system. Courtnee, Britney, and I had planned a trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland. It takes 6 hours in a bus to get from Limerick to Dublin to Belfast, so we wanted to leave as early as we could, which meant taking the 7:35am bus to Dublin on Friday morning. The city bus should have come and picked us up at exactly 7:00am and taken us to the bus station. At 7:10, we realized that there was no way we would make the Dublin bus even if the city bus came. Therefore, we had to call a cab which came quickly and brought us to the bus station with 10 minutes to spare. The bus stations in Ireland do not like me. The ticket machine refuses to accept my credit card. Knowing this, I brought 50 euro with me so I could buy a ticket. Well, one machine was out of order and the other did not accept 50 euro bills. Really? So I had to go to the ATM to withdraw 2 euro so I could buy a ticket. I managed to do this all in less than 10 minutes. It was a hassle but at least I got my ticket, unlike Britney. She bought a ticket, but she forgot to grab the ticket so she made someone’s day by buying them a round trip ticket to Dublin. Once we all had our tickets, we finally boarded the bus and headed off to Dublin. The ride is about 3 hours, but when the heat wasn’t on, it felt like a lot longer. Once at the Dublin bus station, we bought our second round of tickets to get to Belfast. This bus was slightly uncomfortable. There wasn’t a single open seat and I ended up sitting next to a middle aged man who listened to scream-o music at top volume. Not what I was expecting. The second leg of the journey wasn’t too bad except for the fact that my butt was starting to go numb from sitting on it all day. When we finally made it to Dublin after another 3 hour bus ride, it was definitely worth it. The sun was shining and it felt mild out, which is a nice change from the cold, rainy weather at school. Being the adventurous girls that we are, we didn’t book a hostel because we expected there would be plenty of room. But we were wrong. The first item on our agenda was to find a hostel and book Friday and Saturday night so we could spend the weekend in Belfast. Little did we know that the MTV European Music Awards were being held in Belfast the same weekend we were there. I was breathing the same air as Beyonce and Selena Gomez, get jealous! Luckily, we were able to reserve a room for Friday night, but Saturday was booked everywhere. Change of plans. But for the night, we had a bed to sleep in. After checking in, we dropped off our stuff and wandered the streets of the city center. I gotta say, the city center of Limerick sucks compared to every other city in Ireland. It’s nice to be able to go into more than Penney’s for clothes shopping. We even found an H & M so of course we went shopping there. We saw a couple of cathedrals, City Hall, and what we like to call Little Big Ben. Since Northern Ireland is affiliated with the UK, we had to exchange our money to pounds which is a hassle. After seeing the sights, we found a cute diner to eat in that had delicious hot chocolate. Hot chocolate has become my obsession since I don’t like coffee and they don’t serve apple cider. After dinner, we slowly wandered back to the hostel and chatted for a few hours.

We had a room with 2 bunk beds in it and since there were 3 of us, we weren’t expecting there to be a 4th person joining us. I woke up the next morning and was super confused. There was a person sleeping on the top bunk of the other bed. Kinda creepy if you ask me. She didn’t say a word, but got up when we did and got her things and left. Weird. This hostel was much nicer than the one I stayed at last weekend. Not saying it was nice by any means, but it was nicer haha! They actually had sheets for us to use and the showers were hot. I would still prefer to stay in a hotel, but if I did that I wouldn’t be experiencing traveling like I should. For the day, we bought tickets to a tour around Northern Ireland, so we got breakfast and boarded the bus. I was expecting it to be a crappy day when I had my spot on the bus and a lady comes in the bus with a baby and of course sits in the seat behind me, where on cue the baby starts to cry. Super, it’s going to be one of those days. Fortunately, the baby passed out soon enough and I could enjoy the trip. The drive that we went on is number five on the top 5 most beautiful drives in the world, and it really was. I ended up falling asleep for the first bit of the tour while we got out of Belfast. But we had one of the funniest tour guides I have had so I didn’t stay awake for long. Although he did make fun of our accents and the fact that we didn’t know our 7th president. On the tour we stopped at another castle. I didn’t think I would ever say this, but I am over castles. They are all the same. Still interesting but I would be okay not to visit another one. We stopped at a few towns and then made it to the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. This is a walking bridge that goes to a small island where fisherman would go to catch salmon. The bridge used to be two pieces of rope, one for you hands and the other for your feet and you would shimmy across. It has gotten more sophisticated since then. We walked 20 minutes to get to the bridge and then we were able to cross it. Super scary! The bridge wobbles and when you look down you see the Atlantic Ocean with giant rocks sticking out. Not how I want to die. But we made it across safely:) After the bridge, we got on the bus and headed towards my number 2 thing to see in Ireland: Giant’s Causeway. According to our guide, it was either formed from a volcano or a giant trying to get to Scotland. I’m thinking it’s the giant. At one point, Scotland was only 11 miles away so I got to see the coastline from afar. The one place I want to see is always the last stop on the journey but we finally made it there. There was a 20 minute hike to get to the bottom of the hill, but I finally made it to Giant’s Causeway. This is definitely one of my favorite places to be. There are thousands of rocks that stick up and they are all hexagonal with flat surfaces so they are really fun to climb on. We also happened to be there when the sun was setting so the view was spectacular. I didn’t want to leave but the bus did. Our very last stop on the ride was to the Old Buschmills Distillery. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to tour it but we got to walk around the outside of it. Another interesting stop was another castle; but this was had partly fallen into the sea and the sun was setting behind it so it was beautiful. But by now, I was just ready to be done with the tour. Being a tourist is exhausting. Plus we hadn’t eaten a real meal, so I was ready to sit down at a restaurant and get some grub. Once we made it back to Belfast, we found the first restaurant and went inside to eat. Since there was no room in any inn, we hopped on the next bus to Dublin. We found out later that night that Snow Patrol performed an impromptu performance outside of City Hall. Kind of a bummer but there was nothing we could do about it. Fortunately, the buses on the way home were practically empty so we each got our own row so we could spread out. We made it home at 2, where I immediately passed out. I am a big fan of Belfast though!

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About clarson1

I am a student at the University of North Dakota studying Political Science, Public Administration, and International Studies. It's hard to believe, but I am already a senior! Everyone asks me what I want to do with my degree but I am still deciding that myself; maybe grad school or law school, or maybe I'll just stay in Ireland forever. I love to play sports especially tennis, pickleball, and frisbee. Anytime the weather is nice, you will find me outside soaking up some Vitamin D reading a book or chilling with my roomies. When the weather doesn't cooperate, you can find me playing Just Dance on the Wii or baking or watching movies. I am a pretty chill girl but I love to try new things. So, Ireland...here I come!

Posted on November 8, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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