Monday, August 16, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

August 16 & 17

Going home...


We got to London Monday afternoon. Paddington Station was huge. But we found a cab to take us to Inverness Terrace, which is just a stone's throw from Kensington Palace. We stayed at a nice little motel called New Kent Hotel which was connected to a string of other hotels. Our room was a triple, shared shower and toilet, private sink. We got breakfast also (eggs, bacon, toast, tea). It was 20 pounds per person...good deal. Alisa and Lacey stayed in Dean Court Hotel right next door, which is owned by the same people. So we visited with them quite a bit and heard about their trip to Scotland.

Anyway, Kim, Susan and I went on a walk through Kensington gardens and took pictures of the palace. The walk took us to Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall, and the monument to Albert (which was so incredibly ornate). We ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe (the original!) for dinner, which was expensive but very good.

It rained most of the day and we walked a lot of miles, so we decided to take the tube back to the hotel. We went through Notting Hill Gate... But anyway, we got back to the hotel and just hung out for awhile with Alisa and Lacey until we went to bed.


We got up very early this morning to walk Kim to the bus stop, since she had to get to Heathrow by 6. Then we walked back to the hotel (only a couple of blocks away) and went back to sleep. We woke up about 8, showered, then went to the breakfast room. Lacey and Alisa came to our room about 9:30. We left at 11, caught a cab to Victoria Station, then the train to Gatwick.

(Note: Of course I fail to mention how we almost lost our lives in the cab. London cabbies are not to be messed with).

We have now been on the plane about 2 hours. The takeoff was a little scary, but we're going smoothly now. I guess we're flying north over Scotland, over Ireland, perhaps the southern tip of Greenland, down through Canada, over Lake Michigan, and into St. Louis.

Saturday, August 14, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

It's after 1 am and we got in not too long ago from our night out. We went to Brown's, which is a rather swanky restaurant. The university paid for our food. I ordered the swordfish steak and mashed potatoes...yummy. I had toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce for dessert...really yummy.

(Note: And thus began my passionate love affair with sticky toffee pudding.)

After dinner we went to the Huntsman for drinks. Greg bought us all a round of drinks. The cider with blackcurrant was really really good...

Earlier in the day, Mary and I walked into town to sell our books. We tried so many bookstores and no one would help us until we went to the Guildhall market. I made 2.60 pounds from my books and donated what I didn't sell to the library.


Mary and I planned to go to lunch at Sally Lunn's. It was soooo good. I had half of a Sally Lunn bun with goat cheese and herbs and there was shredded lettuce, shredded carrots, tomato, cabbage, cucumber and bean sprouts on the side. It was one of the best meals I have had so far in England...

...Then we just browsed the shops. I bought two hand-made lace lapel pins - one for Mom and one for Grandma.

Monday, August 9, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Last day in Dublin - first stop: James Joyce Centre, where David Norris (an Irish senator) gave a lecture. It was really funny. Then we went to the Irish Writers Museum, 3 pounds to get in, but not worth that much. It was interesting, but not that much so. After that, Ray and I went to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is so beautiful, as are all cathedrals I've seen so far. I walked around for a long time and took pictures of everything and lit a candle. The gardens outside the cathedral were really bright and cheerful in the chilly grayness of Dublin. I really liked St. Patrick's Cathedral the best - it was so peaceful and I'm sick from yesterday, so it was a nice place to spend a lot of time.

We left Dublin at 8:00 and we are now on the bus going back to Bath.

Sunday, August 8, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Ok, first I have to talk about yesterday. We went to the National Gallery, which houses art from all over the world. I liked it better than the Tate Gallery in London overall, except it lacked a Pre-Raphaelite exhibit and there were no really famous paintings there (that I saw anyway). But I did see a Picasso and some Rembrandts, a lot of iconographic art, and an exhibit devoted to the paintings of the Yeats family (as in William Butler Yeats).

After the gallery, Greg, Mara and I went to lunch at some sidewalk cafe and just hung out for awhile. Then we went to the National Museum. They had a huge number of exhibits from every tribe that ever inhabited Ireland: the Vikings, the Celts, the cavemen, etc. The Celtic exhibits were particularly impressive. There was so much intricate Celtic knotwork on everything. My particularly favorite piece is the Tara brooch, worth about 20 million pounds and incredibly detailed. I didn't see all of the museum, but a good part of it anyway. I walked back to Avalon House via Grafton Street (which was packed)...

For dinner, we went to Planet Hollywood. I was adamantly against it, but I didn't want to eat alone, as everyone else decided to eat there. It was fun. Our waitress was named Sinead and she was really cute and a lot of fun to talk to. It was an interesting mix of American and Irish, since the food and everything was American, yet the servers and hospitality were unmistakably Irish. The food was good too, esp. the dessert. :)

After dinner we walked to the Samuel Beckett Theatre at Trinity College to see Translations. It was really good. Definitely got my money's worth. It was so much better than I was expecting.

After the play, we all walked over to the Temple Bar area to go to a pub, but the pubs won't let in anyone under 23 after 10pm (only on Saturdays) so no one (except me) could get in. So we walked over to River Liffey, crossed the Halfpenny Bridge, walked back over to Temple Bar, and sat and watched people before coming back to Avalon House.

In about 45 mins. a small group of us is going to walk to the bus station to take a day trip to Glendalough.


Glendalough - the entire trip - was amazing. The bus driver was funny. he talked throughout most of the drive, telling us old Irish folk tales and making jokes. He pointed out celebrity homes to us: Bono, Daniel Day-Lewis, Paddy Maloney of the Chieftains, George Michael, Mel Gibson's former home, Bob Geldof, and Enya's castle. But the highlight of the trip was definitely the coastal and mountain scenery we saw along the way. It was utterly breathtaking. Dublin, of course, is along the coast of the Irish Sea, and we drove along the coastline through some small and charming towns (Dalkey and Black Rock come to mind). The coast was spectacular, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. He stopped along the way to allow us to take pictures. It was a bit misty because of the rain, but it only made it more beautiful and more mystical.

When we had travelled for a little over an hour, the bus made a stop at a beautiful little rest stop situated between the mountains. There was a shop that had nearly everything imaginable, a bakery, and a cafe. We stayed there for nearly an hour.

We got to Glendalough at about 1:30 and went to the tourist center to watch a short film. Then we took a guided tour of the monastic ruins, unfortunately, it was pouring rain. I got soaked despite my waterproof jacket. The ruins were really beautiful and there was a really old cemetery around it. In the middle of these ruins was a giant white cross known as "the wishing cross." Supposedly, if you put your arms around it and your fingers touch, you'll get married within a year. (Note: they did, and I didn't...although two of the girls who traveled with me got engaged within a year of putting their arms around the cross. My boyfriend at the time unceremoniously dumped me.)

On the drive back from Glendalough, we saw rivers running wildly alongside the highway, between the mountains and over rocks. It was again amazing...Ireland impressed me more and more with its natural beauty. I took more pictures. We drove past ruins of centuries old buildings, just sitting next to the road. We drove by miles and miles of coniferous forest. Ireland is the most amazing place I have ever seen.

(Note: What I failed to write about, which surprises me now, is that we ate lunch at the lovely and elegant Glendalough Hotel. And I remember the lunch being very good, even though I can't remember what I ate.)

When we got back to Dublin, we ate dinner at Bewley's. It was a fantastic place...really fun atmosphere. Then we came home to Avalon House to rest for a bit before going to Temple Bar.

Saturday, August 7, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Saturday, August 7

I didn't get much sleep last night since our hostel faces a busy street and is right across from a pub. It was noisy outside all night. But I woke up bright & early this morning, ready to face another day.

I took a shower (I'm still trying to adjust to unisex toilets & showers) and I went downstairs for breakfast: yogurt, a muffin, and juice. I ate alone watching life go by outside the window. As I left the cafe to go someplace quiet and read, an old Irish man stopped me to chat. He said something profound, something about how you have to live your life making the most of everyday. He was really nice to talk to.


I visited the National Gallery, the National Museum, did some shopping, went to see a Brian Friel play, and hung out at Temple Bar. I'm exhausted, so I'll write all about it tomorrow.

Friday, August 6, 1999

Bath 1999: excerpts from my study abroad journal

Dublin! Ireland!

I'm so excited to be here. We left really early this morning and flew out of Bristol. We flew a 737, which wasn't bad, and I had a window seat. :) We flew over Wales, so that was cool since I won't get to see Wales at all.

We're staying at the Avalon Guest House here in Dublin, which is nice. I share a room with about 10 other girls. There's an upstairs loft that is divided into 2 rooms and I have the top bunk in one room. So far, I have the room to myself.

The taxi driver we had to get here was so funny and nice. He drove by some of the big tourist attractions and joked around with us. He was great. We just came back from lunch not too long ago. We ate at Cafe Angelo and I had chicken nuggets and chips...very greasy - but good and cheap. We are getting ready to walk to Trinity College.


Today has been a long day. It's not even 8:30 yet, but we have seen a lot. We walked through St. Stephen's Green into Trinity College and went to see The Book of Kells and the long library. That was great. We familiarized ourselves with Grafton and O'Connell Streets. Then Greg walked us over to the Temple Bar area, where we ate Mexican at the Alamo Cafe. It was pretty good, and they even had fried ice cream. We went to some pub afterwards, but I didn't drink anything. I've spent more money than I have planned to.

There are a few things I have noticed about Dublin: James Joyce is practically worshipped like a god, music is playing everywhere on the streets (I've heard guitar, fiddle, penny whistle, and uilleann pipes on the streets), and the weather changes more drastically than it does in Ohio. It went from pouring rain to sunshine back to rain, and the temperature changed constantly. But Dublin is a fun place with a lot of history. Even the post office has a history. It's all so fascinating to me.