Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hello Hello Hello!
Yet another day of happiness has passed. I really like Ireland. It feels slightly too home like for my Irish heritage blood to deal with saying goodbye to tomorrow. The people, food, nature, beer, accents, little shops, and hospitality combine to make an intoxicating place altogether. Part of me just wants to wipe myself off the map and soak quietly in to a Irish hill side for a bit. It just seems like the best place for a cup of strong black tea and a good book.

There wasn't a cloud in sight today, which is apparently rare according to all of the jovial Irish folk walking about with smiles on their faces and talk of sunshine on their lips. I was appreciative of this fact, because the ocean breezes on the coast are not only frigid, but unrelentingly strong. This morning I woke up, after 12 whole hours of much needed sleep, ate some more baguette with jam (graciously provided by the hostel, but not very sensitive to those non-gluten lovers), and made my way to the nearest fruit stand. After buying some oranges for the day's journey, I set out for the DART (Dublin Rapid Transportation) station without any idea where I was to find some such place. I figured out this is the way I like to travel. No map, no clue, and no expectations....and thus far it is a theory yet to be disproved. After weaving in and out of narrow streets and quaint coffee houses, I finally found my way to the station and boarded the next train to Howth (pronounced H-OOOOH-wth, as was strictly pointed out to me).

At first I was disappointed with Howth. It seemed to be a pretty average location as we pulled up in the train (which for Ireland is still saying quite a bit). But when I got off the train, walked by a busy fishing marina, and flung my self once again in to oblivion...I began walking up a steep, windy path that lead to a trail head. The trail turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made, leading me directly to the most beautiful place I've ever been (not even kidding). Jagged, dramatic cliffs, laced with white water crashing below, and golden fields blanketed by blossoming heather. It honestly took my breath away. As I kept walking up the steep slope along the coast, I kept getting more and more overwhelmed, almost to a point of tears a few times. It was seriously something out a fairytale. I decided to take a rest after about 2 hours of walking and gawking, in a bed of heather overlooking a lighthouse jutting out in to the ocean. It was certainly one of those "wow" life moments. Being alone along the cliff side is exactly what I needed right now. Sometimes the universe knows the best panacea to your woes, you just have to let it do its work. :)

After walking back through the town, getting totally lost, eating oranges on tall sea stone walls, and dilly dallying in and out of tiny shops, I found a Spanish rock band playing along the shore. They were singing in butchered English "Chicago" by Frank Sinatra, accompanied, of course, by steely electric guitar chords and clanky tambourines. Haha. It was so amusing I found myself dancing with a few people, laughing, and singing along.

Tonight I decided to treat myself to dinner at a real restaurant (something that I've figured out is not going to be a frequent happening due to the INSANE prices, dear lord. But I found a delightful little nook-in-the-wall Italian place, with hearty minestrone soup, a good house wine, and a pear tart to top it off. All I can say is: it was nice not to have to eat baguette. :) Afterward I went to a famous Irish bar called The Cobblestone, as recommended by my Irish adoring Uncle Dan, and listened to "Trad" music as they call it. Trad basically is short for "traditional," and in Ireland that means a good time. Although the bands were fun, I am still really turned off by a strong drinking culture, and unfortunately with Temple Bar being the hip place to be, many people come to Dublin to do just that. I think that going out is a good idea (I mean how many times do you get to be 20 in Europe?) but I am pretty sure that I'll be one of the first ones to vacate the bar as the night goes on. It is just not all that appealing to me to sit around and get drunk. But, hey, that means I have time to sleep, get up early and unearth new adventures for the day to come.

Annnnnnd! Speaking of which: Brussels just so happens to be the new adventure for tomorrow. :) YAY! I am excited for a change of place, but sad at the same time. I am pretty sure this is not my last time in Ireland (at least hopefully).

Love you all and thanks for reading!!!!

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