The Roman Baths; natural hot spring
Bath; apartment houses voted UK’s best scene
We flew into Dublin late Thursday night and took a coach to our lovely little hostel on Litton Lane, right in the heart of the city near the Temple Bar area. The six of us (Becca, Jenn, Carly, Eric, Jay, and I) roomed together in a room that was quite spacious and comfortable. The hostel itself was really cute with a rock-n-roll vibe, and an area for live music to be played in the common room, where we heard a pretty good band play. It was perfect for our weekend there. Since we got in late on Thursday we just found a bar nearby and grabbed a drink while the boys watched a basketball game and we pondered over whether or not we had actually stumbled into a gay bar. lol.
The next morning we got up early, and after having some complimentary breakfast at the hostel which consisted of yummy toast with jam and tea, Jenn, Becca, and I made our way to Dublin City Hall where the free walking tour I had found was departing from. Our tour guide was really enthusiastic and ecstatic that the sun was out, as were we! So we made our way around the city seeing all of the historic cites like the Dublin Castle, Temple College and so on. We then stopped at a bar for coffee and soon after that we got separated from the tour, because we were more interested in taking pictures with things that we saw rather than the actually history of the city. lol. In any case it wasn’t so bad because the city is rather small and since we had a map we were able to find our way to the places we wanted to visit anyway. We walked along the riverbank that was just beautiful in the gleaming sunlight and found the studio where U2 recorded most of their songs. The walls leading up to the studio were covered in layers of graffiti, so vibrantly colorful. The graffiti didn’t take away from the beauty of that part of town, it actually illuminated it I thought, and gave it character, as it wasn’t a sign of destruction but one of admiration for the band and the messages they delivered to the world.
It just so happend to be Daffodil day which was a fundraiser and awareness campain for Cancer. I purchased a small bouquet of daffodils which were absolutely wonderful and brightened up my day and the rest of the pictures I took as well. :) Later on in the afternoon we met up with Carly, Jay, and Eric at the Guinness Storehouse where we got to see how the beer was brewed and got a free pint at the top of the Gravity Bar! The entire building was shaped to model the Guinness glass which was really cool. At the top of the 5th floor where the Gravity Bar was, you could see a panoramic view of the city, which was just breathtaking. The bartender made a little clover on the foam in each one of our glasses. The best surprise of all was seeing Amy there, as we had texted each other earlier to see what we had planned for the day. (I had seen her in London earlier in the week as she was visiting for three days on her spring break with her roommates from Florence! We did a pub crawl in Covent Gardens Tuesday night which was really fun! Anyway it was during her visit in London that we realized we were both going to Dublin the same weekend. I know how silly that none of us knew, but its hard to keep track of everyone’s whereabouts these days lol :) best news I heard all week though!) After the Storehouse we had dinner at an Irish pub and then finally made our way back to the hostel to get ready for a pub crawl in the city. I love pub crawls, they are so inexpensive in Europe. Its around 10£ or 10 euros and you get free admission into at least five pubs/bars with a free drink/shot at each! Definitely worth your money when your on a budget.
The following morning we had a bus tour planned that we had heard about from some other students that had traveled to Ireland before,with Wild Wicklow Tours. It was an all day bus trip but worth every minute. We headed up into the Wicklow region which was primarily all mountains and lakes and had beautiful scenery. Along the way we stopped ever so often along the coastline to take pictures by the beach and see the amazing view! Famous for films like P.S. I Love You and Braveheart, Wicklow is very lucrative thanks to its vast luscious green land. We stopped at this heavenly place called Avoca. I swear I thought I could live in there. It was this amazing restaurant, cafe, clothing, house-wear store that had everything pretty and desirable. I bought a mixed berry scone from there that was so fresh it melted in my mouth. Amy came with us on the bus tour as well so it was an Amazing Amazing time. Our bus driver Dave, was a local, and the most knowledgeable person about the city and area where we were traveling to. After we were half way to Wicklow, the whole bus took a shot of Jameson overlooking the lake. It was surreal. By mid day we finally made it to the town and after having some lunch at an authentic Irish restaurant that was so cozy and warm, we took a little hike through what was a really old monestary where the first Celtic cross stood. We made a wish on a wall that was said to be a tradition , and walked past farms where sheep grazed and ate. The soothing sounds and views of the countryside made me appreciate Ireland even more, and was a good clean break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The people were very friendly and sincere too which I loved, along with their accents.
A little Irish boy was getting annoyed with all our picture taking, as he and his friends played a very intense game where they tackled kids to the ground. lol he was adorable. On the bus ride home we even saw a Sheep giving birth to a baby lamb! Insane. That night after dinner we went to a bar called Quays that had an awesome live band. We met some people from Norway too that were having a great time, these cheerful old men who Becca ended up arm-wrestling with, lol. Despite our lack of sleep that night to catch an early flight Sunday morning, the weekend had been everything I could ask for and more. xx
I was so lucky to have my mom, grandma, sister, and best friend Connie come visit me for a week while I’m studying here. It just happened to work out perfectly that my mom and Con both had a Winter Recess at the same time! They arrived on Saturyday morning in London, and we didn’t waste any time touring the city! The location of the hotel they were staying at couldn’t be more convenient either, considering it was a 10 min walk from my dorm! The first place we went to was Tower of London, where the Crown Jewels are kept. From there you can see the River Thames and Tower Bridge (or the London Bridge as everyone calls it). It was a bit rainy, but we explored the towers and saw all the kings armour and even statues of thier horses. The Crown Jewels of course was my favorite part, except most of them had the jewels taken out of the crown, so you could only see them in a pile beside them. After we walked along the River Thames and then went back to the hotel. Later that night we got dinner at this Italian restaurant Da Mario’s which has amazing pasta and pizza. We also got some drinks at the hotel that night! I tried pimm’s and lemonade.. its supposed to be a fruity liquor but I didn’t quite like It. I figured I better stick to Cosmos after that. Later that night I left Con and Sa cause they were tired and met up with Jenn and Eric to go to Archangel, not the best idea considering I had to wake up at 7am to go to the Margaret Howell show the next morning! But I it was a good time!
Sunday I went to the fashion show, which I already mentioned… awesome! Later that morning I met up with the fam again and we decided to go to Portobello Market in Notting Hill, one I have been to a couple of times. Its quite a touristy attraction which was good because they were able to buy souviners and still experience what one of the markets are like here. I tried a hummingbird strawberry cheesecake cupcake for the first time, which was amazingg. (You know me and my cupcakes!) We then decided to keep on shopping and so took a tube to Piccadilly Circus (where I work) and I showed them around Regent Street (a high street for shopping), Saville Row, where I intern (Heddon St.) and the Burlington Arcades. We ate dinner in Chinatown in Soho a quick walk from where we were near. It wasn’t the best Chinese I’ve ever had, but I blame that on Sabrina lol getting lured in my someone advertising for the specific restaurant outside. (Never a good sign). It was an adventure anyway.
During the week, while I interned, (Monday through Thursday) I met up with them at night for dinner as I get out of work at 6pm. Tuesday we tried Giraffe (best Falafel burger I have had in my life), Wednesday Piccolino’s, really yummy Italian food in Heddon Square Restaurant Corner (literally steps across from Modus). After Piccolino’s Sabrina, Connie, and I went to the London Icebar! The capes were a lot cooler than the parkas I got in Barcelona, however I expected more ice sculptures, so I was kind of disappointed. Afterward though we went to Opal in Kensington, lol, never a dull moment there. Thursday night we went to Gloucester Arms, a local pub down the road from where I live, so they could get thier fish and chips lol. That night we went to O’Niells, one of my favorites, which is always fun and has good live music!
Friday morning we decided to go do the London Eye! which gave us amazing views of the entire city. Thankfully we had pretty clear visibility. The Eye itself was huge! and you had to step on really fast while you were on the platform, as it just keeps moving along, never fully stopping. The entire ride was about 35 minutes, but felt like it was only 15. Afterward we went to the most incredible department store that ever existed: HARRODS! Like I heard it was amazing, but WOW. An opera singer on the balcony, an egyptian staircase, Fendi couches, free samples of vodka, crazy ornate food counters with the freshest and most exotic and only the best cheese, chocolate and tea galore, a banquet fit for the queen on the fifth floor where you can have afternoon tea. (I could go on forever). After being blown away, we got some sweeties at Hotel Chocolat and carried on to Harvey Nichols, which after Harrods didn’t compare. It was like Bloomies but carried Alexander McQueen, a little more high-end clothing lol. I was in my glory still. For dinner we tried Brasserie Gérard, which had really really good French food that is affordable (I had salmon like the time in Paris) and it was amazing! We then stopped in Archangel to get a berry mojito (which Allie said was to die for), and it was. We then went to Gloucester Arms, and hung out there with a couple of my friend from my program. We wanted to just chill since we had raged the night before :)
Saturday morning we visited Kensington Gardens and the Palace. There was an installation exhibition going on, called the “Enchanted Palace,” which told the story of the 7 princesses that lived in there. It was such a fairytale auora from the minute you stepped in. So pretty and magical. There was dresses worn by Diana on display and even some designed by Vivienne Westwood that were inspired by the troubled princesses. It was cool too because it was in parts of the actual palace. Afterward we visited the Princess Diana memorial, and then got lunch at my favorite food quart, Whole Foods (best tostada salad), before I had to say bye on a typical rainy day in London :( But I did have the most amazing week and couldn’t have been happier! <3
So even though I had only been at my internship for 5 days, I was given the awesome opportunity to help out at a fashion show during London Fashion Week! It was the Margaret Howell show which was at her showroom located on Wigmore Street. The show started at 9:30am on Sunday morning, so as a member of the wader team I had to be there at 8:30 promtly. Although there was work being done on the tube (as there usually is on the weekend) I sorted out my trip beforehand so that I knew what lines to transfter at, but still made it there just on time. The other interns helping out and I had the task of sitting on the reserved runway seats and then giving them up to the important press members and VIPs. The runway was just white, as the walls and ceiling. It was a very minimilistic set that went along with the simplicity of the brand and allowed the soft blues and greys to stand out as they came down the runway. The seats (4 rows of long white benches) began to quickly fill in as the starting time approached. I was a little nervous because even though I was given a simple task, I had 5 seats to reserve and people kept sitting down, some of which I wasn’t sure if they were supposed to. Anyway, one of the Margaret Howell interns said that she though I may be saving a seat for Alexa Chung and to stay put until she came. So that is what I did, and of course she came literally seconds before the show started as many celebrities do. I didn’t get a chance to speak to her or anything obviously but it was still cool that I gave up my seat to her!
This was the third weekend in a row I said bye to London and traveled abroad to a different country! Intense to say the least. This time we left Thursday night from Victoria Station to take an overnight coach bus to Amsterdam. A 12 hour overnight bus! I was going to die lol between these girls that came with our group singing so loud and obnoxious because they were drunk, the bus smelling awful and of whiskey thanks to the boys and the most uncomfortable chair ever. But I guess things could be worse right lol. At least we got to take a break and get off the bus when we went onto the ferry which looked like a cruise ship it was so nice inside, honestly for a minute I forgot where I was. There was a bar and so we had some drinks to pass the time and we were well entertained seeing as there was a rugby team on the ferry that were dressed as the Village People. No joke there was a police officer, a sailor, a construction worker, a cowboy with chaps. It was a joke. They were so belligerent then they started jumping up and down, banging their hands on the ceiling and then sat down in a line and picked up everyone in the front of the line so that they could crowd surf. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a boat. Before we knew it the boat had docked and joke was on us because the 30 of us (more than half of our bus) go down to where the buses are parked only to find ours gone. So of course everyone is panic stricken and freaking out because we are all inchoerent and delirious. So After all the buses and cars went off the platform, a man finally directed us to a side street where our bus had parked to wait for our foolish asses. It was a good time lol. Definately a kick off to our insane weekend. We arrived in the morning at the Amstel station in Amsterdam where we were cuture shocked by signs that were illegible to me anyway and people speaking Dutch. The city itself although very small was super cute with everyone riding bikes and pretty tulips for sale everywhere. We somehow figured out how to use the subway and get to our lovely little hostel. What a joke. The lady there was of no help. She was young and coudln’t even give us the right amount of change back after we paid. Then our room keys didn’t work and we literally had to go down to her 3 separate times to fix them, until she I guess just gave up and resorted to giving us a MASTER KEY which she told us was a master key. What an idiot. So now we are all feeling perfectly safe because every other person at the hostel prob has a master key right? So we are going to get robbed or something. We make the trek up to the third floor where our 5 person bedroom is, dragging luggage up steep, spiraling staircases, only to find the last staircase an absolute 90 degree angle. Not kidding, the banisters where vertical and you had to haul yourself up them. Jokes on us again. Our room was cozy to say the least. Jenn made a comment that she felt as though she was Anne in hiding. Horrible. Lol. The girls wanted to change hostels to be closer to the boys and safer, but that didn’t happens because there wasn’t enough room. It was ok though. We met up with everyone for lunch and then when to a couple of coffee houses. :) The wierdest feeling ever. It still felt unethical even though it was legal. Later on we met up with Becca’s friend from camp who lives in the city and his partner. They were really nice and showed us around Eight coffee cups later, we ended up going to the Red Light District which was very interesting. It felt like you were looking at boxes of Barbie dolls or something, how they were all behind glass doors. Except of course Barbie is a classy lady. There was someone for everyone. We even saw a couple of people go into the doors and the curtains shut. If there was a blue light on that meant that she was once a he. There were also outside urinals for men to use. Gross. Then they invited us back to thier apartment which was so adorable and modern. On Saturday we went to the Anne Frank house in the morning and waited on a ridiculous line in the freezing cold. It was emotional once we got in, especially watching a video of her father talk about Anne. You could see the original wallpaper of her room and all the pictures she had hung of icons like Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Temple. The apartment was a lot bigger than I had expected though, for being hidden behind a bookcase. The museum also had a cafe, but I’m not sure who would want to eat after that. Then we went to the Heineken Brewery where we took the Heineken Experience and got to go on a cool ride after the museum and brewery. We were given a lesson on why the foam is important in a beer, and how to drink it, etc. We then got to hang out in this fancy bar and got two free beers. A lot of my friends got beers that said brewed by ” their name” printed on it. It was cute. We then headed to the Iamsterdam sign. Even though it was dark and raining at this point, we still got a picture! Then we got dinner at Wok to Walk (2nd night in a row lol.. best stirfry I’ve ever had). So that night I had a space cake for desert. lol. Enough said. 0_o !
Sunday morning was fun getting up… I mean how could you not look forward to a 10 hour busride back to London that leaves at 11am. lol after sitting on the bus for about 2 min I already thought I was going to be sick. But I was a trooper. Instead of going on the ferry, this time, our bus went on a train which was really bizzare. This allowed us to travel underneath the water. It was bumpy and claustrophobic but I slept most of the way so that was good!