Ireland & Scotland. My final two stops outside of Italy for this crazy whirlwind of a semester. And what a crazy trip it was.
I got to spend an amazing Thanksgiving in Maynooth (about a 40 minute train ride outside of Dublin) with Maggie, where she prepared a traditional feast that I greatly devoured. It was really amazing to share a holiday with a special piece of home. Being 6,000 miles away from family and loved ones on Thanksgiving is not easy, but it was a little easier to bear with one of my best friends. Then we went out and I got to party with some Irish lads (that’s what they say right?).
The next day, we strolled around Dublin. A city decked out for Christmas already, surprisingly modern, and dawning pubs in every corner, Dublin is truly a gem. Stores like Urban Outfitters are hidden in old buildings in tiny alleyways, and older Irish gentlemen stand on corners having what seem to be regular conversations over a pint of Guinness. Speaking of the devil, what is a touristy trip to Dublin without going to the Guinness Factory? We had an awesome time causing a scene in the “tasting” room, and taking pictures of couples who were admiring the view, while we were admiring them. Dublin was insanely pretty, and I would love to return someday with some more time, and explore other counties. Ireland, you (and your people) are beautiful.
On Saturday, I was on an early flight to go see my good friend Savannah studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. While she worked, I explored some cool spots in Old Town Edinburgh, took the typical Harry Potter fan picture of the Elephant House cafe (the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book), and walked around until I met up with some other friends for dinner. The next day, Savannah and I grabbed a good ole Scottish lunch (with a pint of beer, of course), explored some more, enjoyed some Bailey’s Hot Chocolate at the Christmas Market, and stood mesmerized at the incredible architecture and jaw dropping views of the Edinburgh Castle at every angle. Edinburgh was an old school fairytale come to life, I was just waiting for my Prince to come swoop me on his horse- dressed in a kilt of course.
My weekend was exhausting. Sunday night, I flew back to Dublin, and was set to fly back to Rome Monday morning. But with my Sunday night fight delayed, resulting in an arrival into Dublin past 11, and a 6 am flight back to Rome, the airport became my bed for the night. Yes, I did it. I spent a full night in an airport. That’s “part of the experience”, right?
Shockingly enough, it wasn’t as completely awful as I thought. No, it was not comfortable, and no, I didn’t get a lot of sleep. But I found a somewhat cozy couch, I dozed in and out for a few hours, and the 24 hour convenience shop in the airport with snacks was enough to give me the energy I needed at 4:30 am. I’ve been saying recently that I’ve become a “pro traveller”, and though I’m usually joking, I feel like being able to camp out at an airport all night and not completely hate life means I’m way too comfortable in an airport. But things could be worse. And who knew? A lot of people were actually in the same situation as me. Scattered on different couches and chairs at one of the airport bars, people were napping throughout the night to catch early flights as well. I guess I’m not the only one on some crazy adventures. Plus, waking up to Irish rugby players drinking beers at 4 am at the airport wasn’t terrible to look at.
Granted, I’ve had about 3 hours of sleep in the last 40 hours. But if that’s my biggest complaint, then I’m damn lucky.
And here I am. It’s the last Monday of classes here in Rome. A week of final essays, presentations, and reviews. Finals starts Saturday. And then the Saturday after that? I’m off. Gonna make these last two weeks count. It’s bittersweet, but I’m ready to get back where I belong. I’ll cheers to that!