Wow. What a full and incredible day. We woke up at 5:40am and jumped to the train station near our Airbnb. We stopped for a coffee and raspberry scone, then hurried on through Dublin to find the pick up spot for our tour bus. We made it just in time, navigation failing us only slightly, and picked our seats where we would spend about eight hours throughout the day traveling to the Cliffs of Moher. The tour we took made the journey pleasant, stopping often in smallish towns of Ireland for bathroom breaks, coffee, Irish coffee for some, and a lunch break in a very snug restaurant where I got a warm, strong-flavored vegetable soup that helped my still aching tummy. We also stopped at a place that our driver referred to as the “baby cliffs” where we got used to the real wind of Ireland. I could barely see them through my hair whipping against my face and nearly being blown back to the bus, but they were still gorgeous. After lunch, we moved on to the real Cliffs of Moher. More wind. More cold. Even more stunning sights. On the way back on the bus, our driver told us a story about how Obama’s ancestry is Irish and there’s a very small town with a billboard of Obama because his far-removed cousin lives there. He also told us lots about the Irish history and culture, and I saw tons of cows, sheep, and tiny stone houses from the famine where lots of people would live together. We also saw a ton of rainbows and experiences lots of small rains mixed with sun. And that is my biggest impression of Ireland. There is a constant mix of sun and rain which lends itself to beauty: in the green and the rainbows. It reminds me of my view of humanity and how I think the people who let themselves feel everything, all the good and the bad and the boring and in between, are the most beautiful people because what comes out of them is so raw and honest and real. I think that’s beautiful.

On our way back home, we stopped in one small town for a bathroom break and a view of a small Irish castle. I didn’t get too close to it, but you can see it in this picture. After that, we made our way back to Dublin city center. My roommate and I decided to have dinner in town, so we explored the beautifully decorated streets that made us both so cheerful that we felt like we were in a movie about Christmas. I really enjoy the nightlife of Dublin, walking along the cute cobblestone streets with live music in lots of pubs and twinkling lights all over the place. We stopped into several places that were all too full and almost gave in to eat somewhere easy, but we pushed a little harder and then found the perfect place with live music downstairs and a restaurant upstairs. We got to sit by a long window just across the street from a wall of dangling Christmas lights. We got veggie burgers and I got a ginger ale (I’m feeling much better just to update my worried loved ones) that were both delicious. We sat and chatted about our feelings on going home, on our next two weeks in Salamanca, and on lots of random life things. Today I realized that not everyone feels the urge to clap four times when they hear “the stars at night are big and bright.” When we left the restaurant, we got ice cream (I got tiramisu and chocolate) and walked along the river back toward the bus station. My roommate loves water, so it was kind of a perfect night.

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