Hayley, meet Dublin.

I am in Dublin! We got here yesterday afternoon and I just vegged out, tired from a week of travel. I bought the first of the Game of Thrones series and have been reading it in my free time. It was actually really nice today because I have a five hour gap in between classes now (I have a class 8-10 then one 3:15-5:15). I went around the corner to a Starbuck’s after working on some homework with classmates and just read while I sipped a Mocha Frappuccino. **Quick 200 pages in review: It is like the series, but being inside each character’s head. Amazing. Love. Gonna buy them all!!!!** Anyways, after my last class Alyse, Ashley, Megan, and I went to the grocery store to stock up on the goods. Ashley made us an amazing spaghetti with peppers in it, broccoli, and garlic herb bread! Yum. When she was heating up the oven for the bread (the tiny weird European impossible oven) it started smoking and the fire alarm went off. Earlier that day we had to call down to reception for a pan, how to fix our outlets, and wifi problems… we called them to let them know there was no fire it was just the oven. Megan goes, “Hey… it’s room 59… again. Just calling to tell you there is no fire it is just he oven. By the way, do you have a cork screw?” in her sincere and energetic Megan way. It was wonderful! I spent the night working on some homework and reading while talking to my amazing friends! The night is cool and the windows are open, gonna read and hit the hay very soon! Cheers. 

Wastin’ away in Galway

Today was a relaxing day of shopping and getting some work done! Went into town around 11 and shopped around then got lunch. Tara and I hit a few more places then went back to the hostel. I started reading the first book of the series Game of Thrones to get a little quiet time in which was wonderful. We all then went to dinner and on the way there was something happening in the park— a girl was up in the air attached to a huge helium filled balloon doing acrobatics! It was pretty crazy because earlier that day there were five women on stilts walking around dressed as fairies… makes sense I suppose! So we stuck around and watched a few songs. On the way back from dinner my day came full circle when we saw a harpist playing and Wade said they play the GOT theme song so we suggested it and they did it for us! We finished the night off in the park with a cider and continued to watch balloon girl. I came back and packed, got washed up, and am writing this! Gonna read a little more and get to bed. Dublin tomorrow for a steady two weeks— then HOME! Can’t believe it. We were all talking about how it will be sad not to see each other everyday, not to mention Europe! Goodnight.

Some highlights of my travel week so far! A beautiful medieval castle, going to the Cliffs of Moher, arriving in Ireland & sipping a Guiness, going to the Burren, & visiting a ruin of a cathedral! 

Last day in Broad Haven

Wednesday was amazing. We woke up late to catch up on some sleep and got a quick-boxed lunch. We got on the bus again for a half hour trip to where a group of us were going to tour an island by boat! It was beautiful and perfect weather for the occasion we couldn’t even believe it! We went across the Ramsey sound in our little rubber boat and circled around Ramsey Island (Ynys Dewi in Welsh) with a wonderful mermaid tour guide, Hannah. We learned that this island is “the most wild and rugged of all the Pembrokeshire islands” and were amazed! Some of the stone was 400-500 million years old! The island was inhabited by all kinds of birds, rabbits, sheep, and deer. We actually got to see two or three Atlantic seals around the island too! Only two people live on the island all year around and they are the wardens who help protect the animals on the island, a married couple. They can get stuck on that island for 2 weeks at a time during the winter—wow! Hannah said they get along well so it isn’t a problem ha ha ha. The views were amazing, some of the most beautiful I have seen. We went into a cave that has fresh spring water dripping down from the ceiling—we were joking that Mother Nature baptized us! After we were done there we went back to the hostel to change and pick up the rest of the group for horse back riding! We had to line up shortest to tallest and that is how our horses got assigned to us. I got “Nellie” and I was hoping she didn’t have the hairy hooves like the other horses had because I didn’t like them. She did have the hairy hooves haha but I loved her anyways <3 She is a 9 year old (20 in human years) Irish Cobb and is 15.1 hands tall! They said that they prefer Irish Cobbs to Welsh Cobbs because they are much better tempered. We began just walking down a little path and I was nervous doing that at first but then got the hang of it. We had to walk down a steep paved road, which was scary because Nellie and a ton of other horses kept slipping! When we were done with that stretch the horses had to walk over huge rocks! Finally we were on the beach—horseback—like in a movie! The instructors were super friendly and told us how we need to get a rhythm down in order to trot correctly. The first two times I was so nervous that I didn’t want to do it again but then I got it down and it was so much easier and way less painful—it was so much fun. Before we knew it we were done and traced our steps back to the stable. They had actually taken pictures of us on the horses at the beach and mine were awful so I didn’t buy any! That night after dinner we all went to the beach with some ciders and had a little bonfire—dream come true! I headed back a little early and went to bed zZzzZZz. I would go back to Broadhaven in a heartbeat.

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Missing my family!

I miss talking to my family! Hello out there! 

What I’ve been up to!

I haven’t written in a while because I have been busy and haven’t had access to wifi for the last two days! Here I go trying to remember exactly what I’ve been up to in the good old UK!

On Friday it was our last day of classes until the travel week. We all got done around 5:30 and met up with the kids who were done earlier. We decided we were going to go to a place called “The Court” that night to hang out (not the Court in WV though ha- ha)! It was a lot of fun to have a relaxing night with friends over a cider and chips. We met some locals who were nice to talk to as well who asked us all about American “Spring Break” because they have heard it is the big thing that college students do in the US. We explained to them that our spring break is only a four-day weekend and lots of students don’t get to go anywhere. The night was going swimmingly and we walked around Soho to see what it was like at night. The lights were awesome but we definitely saw some weird things. We were getting pretty hungry so we stopped at “Wok Walk” for some Chinese food. I sampled the chicken I wanted and got some lomein and even a sprung for spring roll… and then… I went to pay… and couldn’t find my credit card! It was a tragedy. I tried calling Mom to see if she saw anyone spending money on it but could not reach her until later that night—my time 2 and her time 9. But we decided since it didn’t have spending on it that we would wait to cancel it until tomorrow after I checked at The Court if it was there because someone turned it in. So that was my Friday! Wonderful with a dash of drama—I was pretty bummed I didn’t get that Chinese food.

On Saturday morning we (Mallory, Alyse, Tara, and I) had a big day ahead of us. We went to The Court first thing and I walked up to the counter, expecting nothing and asked if my credit card was found and described it—“It has a bull on it!” The kind lady went into a cupboard and pulled it out, gave it to me, and didn’t even ask for my name! I was SO GLAD we found it! We were thrilled and ate Pret for brunch <3 and then made our way downtown. We started the day with a tour of the Globe Theatre exhibition—Shakespeare’s theatre!!! It was amazing. We learned a lot during the tour of the exhibition but were bummed that we didn’t get to tour the actual theatre. After we finished there we went to St. Paul’s cathedral. It was 85 degrees out that day and we climbed all the way to the top! It was 530 stairs one way! Going up the first 200 or so wasn’t bad at all because they were not steep, but as you got further up it was more steep and narrow. Getting to the top was breath taking! The cathedral floor was really elaborate and beautiful. On the hand held tour I learned that the church was actually left open for a very long time and animals like horses used to roam around inside! It took them four years to clean up the inside and the outside after. It was also really awe inspiring that a church has been on that piece of land since the year 600. 600!!! Going to St. Paul’s was definitely something that I think people should put on their bucket list. To finish off the day of sightseeing we went to platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station! That was a lot of fun but not exactly what I expected.  I chose Gryffindor as my scarf and Alyse chose Hufflepuff and the Hogwart’s guy made everyone cheer for her because nobody ever chooses Hufflepuff! We got our pictures, went and bought be a coat at a store which is AMAZING called Primark, and then headed home—exhausted. Mallory and I met the rest of our group at an Indian restaurant called Taste of India—my first experience with the cuisine ever! It was great. I can’t remember what I ordered but I would definitely order it again. We went home after to pack and get ready for the travel weekend!

On Sunday morning I woke up at 6:45 to get ready for the 8 o’clock departure to Stonehenge! The bus is a really nice charter bus and I got a seat all to myself so I was able to sleep on the way really well! When we finally go to Stonehenge it was much hotter outside than we anticipated. We hopped off the bus and saw that the actual stones were roped off—not what we had seen in the movies! We waited in line and loved all of the sheep running around. We walked through a little tunnel and there it was—a wonder of the world! We were taking millions of pictures of the crazy rocks and got some good pictures of the group. I was really fascinated that the stones are actually longer underground at this point because gravity has made them sink over the centuries of its existence and that we still have no idea how they got to be that way or why! I attempted to do some cartwheels in front of the landmark but failed. Ashley noted that I looked like a bear… needless to say I deleted all of these pictures. We got back on the bus after about an hour and went to the ruins of a castle—(NAME OF THE CASTLE HERE)—which was really beautiful scenery. It was the first experience of the whole group seeing the rolling hills of England. We were re-energized after the bus ride being outside and getting to walk around and explore a little bit. We then travelled to Bath, which was famous for the Roman Baths, but we didn’t get tickets in time to visit them. It was still a lot of fun because we toured Bath Abbey (the church) for only 2.5 pounds! I lit a candle for my friends and family, which was nice because I have never done that before. I liked to think about it burning even after I left. The stained glass was amazing—I know Dad would have loved it! Later, I went into a gift shop and wanted to buy all of the beautiful glass work for my family but and hoping I find something even better in Ireland (we get there on Thursday). That night we slept in a medieval castle that the Queen still owns to this day in Wales! When we arrived at the castle (St. Briavel’s Castle) we were treated to a medieval meal—no silverware allowed—something I have always wanted to do! We started with vegetable soup out of a goblet with bread. I liked dipping the bread into the soup, but it felt very unnatural to drink it! We also had: potatoes, chicken, green beans, sweet potatoes, and some type of salad. The chicken was delicious but we had to tear it off the bird with our hands—it was HOT HOT HOT! For dessert we had a honey cake that I didn’t eat because I was so full. We then heard a little bit about he castle from our guide, Simon. He told us that it was used as the King’s hunting castle because the grounds were so forested back then it was the best place to go. If a person was born within a certain vicinity of the castle and had a home birth even today, that baby would be a “Forester” and would have certain rights that other people don’t have. He also informed us that the castle is haunted! I was not happy to hear that whatsoever. He said that there was a couple who brought their little boy not too many years ago and the little boy said that he had met a new friend named Tom. There were no other children staying in the castle at that time… but that Tom was a ghost! I didn’t get much sleep that night because I was very scared, but I was not the only one so I felt better about that! It was a lot of fun and made me want to go to a renaissance fair!

Monday rolled around and we woke up to a delicious breakfast at the castle. After we finished eating it was time to get back onto the bus! We stayed in Wales and visited another ruin of a church. This time it was a church that had been purposely torn apart during the reformation by King Henry, TINTURN??? Abbey. We spent a few hours here exploring and taking group pictures! I finally participated in a huge group pyramid and I was very ecstatic about it. We were very hot and tired and took naps on the bus as we made our way to a coalmine to tour! We were here much longer than anticipated because our guides thought we had to make an appointment so we waited from 12-2:30 though we could have gone in at any time… little things like this made our sleepiness show because we were just laying around wherever we could! The coalmine was really interesting and made me so grateful that I wasn’t born in the Victorian Era. Children of 6, boys and girls, had to work in the mines as door operators. They would be underground for 12 hours a day 6 days a week! I cannot imagine how they were brave enough to do it. A very old man at the time was 42 years old, for perspective. It was very cold 90 meters underground which was a nice blast of cool for us who had been in the sun all day. I realize now how romantic movies portray that time. After we got onto the bus again we travelled back into England to the metropolitan area Bristol and stayed the night at a hostel that was run by the same company who worked in St. Briavel’s castle. We were really happy with the lodging because it was a hotel turned hostel so it was only four of us to a room and we had our own bathrooms! We opened the window to let it air out while we went to dinner at a delicious Latin eatery called Las Iguanas! It was to die for and we had so much fun talking at the table. Bristol was like a mini London on the water—I liked it a lot for only being in the city one night. When we got back to our room though, we saw at least 150 gnat type bugs on the ceiling. It was awful! I climbed on each of the bunk beds and smashed them all with toilet paper so we could sleep bug free! It was so hot in the room because we had to close the window that we were all sweating the entire night! We are excited for air conditioning again—why has the UK not embraced it as much as the US?! Oh well—this trip has been amazing and I have already seen so much during the travel week I cannot wait to see more!

Today we woke up and had another breakfast at the hostel and got back on the bus! We headed into England again to see another castle—Carreg Cennen! It is by far my favorite thing we have done on the trip so far. I would not mind living on top of a hill overlooking the valleys of Wales every day and night with the clear sky above me! The scenery was something you would see from Lord of the Rings in Middle Earth or something: open, green, and almost untouched! So the castle was apparently built by the British and fought over for centuries between the Welsh and Brits—the battles were gruesome. When men would try to climb the walls the soldiers from the inside would pour boiling oil on them from above… not pretty. We stayed at the castle for a few hours and had lunch complete with apple crumble and homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert, how perfect! We then had a wonderful bus ride and arrived to our hostel for the night— on the beach, literally a 2 minute walk! We went straight for the water for an hour or two, came back for dinner, I had MGT class, then went back to the beach with everyone for some fun beverages. It is finally not 85 degrees here so we are all thrilled! Going to shower and actually blow dry my hair tonight— ready for a good night’s sleep and my big day tomorrow here in Broadhaven <3 

Some declarations of the day

I need to buy a jacket and I love Pret A Manger. 

GALWAY DREAMIN’

I CANNOT WAIT TO GO TO GALWAY AND BE IN A LARGE OPEN SPACE! YAY :)

S u C c E s S

Went to the Sherlock Museum today with my friend Wade. We have been so excited to visit 221 B on Baker Street the whole two weeks! It was pretty cool. Pictures to come later. Then we had classes and went to the National Gallery with everyone to look at some beautiful art. After that we went to the Pop Up Bar that goes from city to city decorated with props from famous plays and musicals. Then, we all went to dinner (OH NO I FORGOT TO TAKE A PIC OF THE MENU) which was nice. I sat at a table with three other students and our English prof Nicky who I think is so nice! She has a lot of wonderful stories and we were cracking up all night. Today = success! 

Wednesday, only 3 more days in London!

We are beginning to get excited for Ireland but worried we won’t see everything we have wanted to see in London! Some things to get off the check list still…

  • British Museum (I know, right???)
  • Tate Modern
  • Tour St. Paul’s
  • Tour the Globe Theater
  • Platform 9 3/4 
  • Peter Pan statue
  • Chill in the park for an entire EVENING! 

Today was a lot of school work and socializing. It was wonderful.

This blog is a place where I'll dump all of my thoughts, feelings and findings during my summer study abroad trip to the UK!


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