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FYI!

road
This journal is open to all who wish to read about my travels in the Emerald Isle.
Even if you dont have a LiveJournal account, you can still post comments- theyll just be under the name of "Anonymous". If you write your name, thatd be quite nifty. Im interested to see who reads this aside from those on my f-list and my uncle.
Anyhoozle,enjoy your stay here at ameliainireland,and I hope you have fun living through my words and pictures =)

xo

Wait, what?

homesick
16. Sixteen. Seize. Sechzehn.
However you want to write it, in whatever language, thats how many days it is until I step foot on Canadian soil. Today, Ive been here exactly 10 months.
Its wierd, it feels like time has flown by when I think "wow,Im home so soon" but when I think back,it feels like a long time and a short time, at the same time. I came here so idealistic, thinking things would be perfect and all that jazz. I thought Jake and I would get a nice little apartment, fun jobs, the locals would be your idealized movie versions of the Irish, the friends I made before coming over would grow to be my best friends ev0r, and then at the end, we would all share heartfelt and teary goodbyes, then Jake and I would skip off into the sunset, back to London, and live happily ever after.
Well, reality set in quick on all those fronts.
But you know what? I may not have the nicest apartment in the best area of town, I dont talk to any of the friends I started out with, Im not crazy about the locals (well,the knackers), and Im defs not moving to London for a happily ever after, but Im happy with how things turned out.
I could go on, but most of the ways I feel cant be put properly into words.
I know Im going to miss this place, and I wish Id explored the country more, but I can always come back, and I will be back. If not this summer, then next. Ill come alone or with someone, rent a car, and explore with no real time constraints like when I roadtripped with dad.
Dublin is home. And I have a feeling that, like Sarnia, when coming back (even if Ive only left it for a little) it will feel like Im grounded, Im where I belong.

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Edinburgh, Scotland

pleased
On Tuesday, I left for Edinburgh with my friend Lana, whom you may remember from posts regarding Oxegen and my birthday.
We had some troubles with the bus, which ended up with me freezing for an hour longer than I should have,and being on different buses,but in the end we got there just fine.
We found our hostel no problem,but we were about 2 hours early for check-in so we put our things in the locker room and set off to wander Edinburgh.
We hadn't gotten far when we decided we were hungry,so we stopped at a pub because a)the name was amusing (The Malt Shovel),and b)they had a special- 2 main dishes for 10 pounds.So we go in,find a table,order our food which we decide to split.We each had half a steak and ale pie,half a serving of roast beef, mashed potatoes,peas,carrots,a Yorkshire pudding,roasted potatoes,and boiled potatoes. So much food. But easily,easily the best thing Ive eaten since leaving Canada.And probably a bit more.
So then,stuffed to the ribs,we set off to walk around.Ran across an advertisement for a free ghost tour,so we made mental notes to come back.Walked up and down The Royal Mile,and as we passed St.Giles Cathedral,guess who we saw. Ami James from Miami Ink.No word of a lie.With his wife and daughter.We didnt ask for/try to sneakily take a photo because he was with his family and kinda looked like hed be a jerk about it.
So anyways.
Walked up to Edinburgh Castle,walked around the grounds/carpark for awhile,then headed back down.Popped into a Scottish Heritage Centre and watched them weave tartans,looked at various tartans,etc.Exciting,I know.Then we went to the 2nd floor and got a free sample of...Haggis.Oh yes.It was decent,to be honest.They went a bit heavy on the black pepper,but other than that it just tasted like..sausage.Im not a huge fan of sausage though,so it wasnt my thing.
We walked a bit more,then went back to the hostel where we met with 2 guys we had spoken to earlier, Jay and James.The two of us had gone to the bar downstairs,Belushi's,to have a drink and to hang out where it was warm for a bit.A little while later,Jay popped in and joined us,then James showed up.We just sat and talked for aaaages.They all have crazy broad taste in music,so they were all discussing that and I just listened and absorbed.Good times indeed.And no,Im not being sarcastic.
Jay decided to join us on the tour,but James decided hed rather head to another pub.He and Lana (who has a UK phone) switched numbers,and she said she would let him know where we wound up.On the tour it was us and 2 other women who were from England,and our tour guide.He was an interesting guy,dressed up and got into character and everything.Very amusing.At the end,everyone who tipped him 5 pounds (aka all of us) got a book hed written,so thats pretty sweet.Its the history of Scotland from day one to day two,and its informative,but at the same time amusing and sarcastic.Best history lesson ever?
After the tour,we all went to this pub called the Scotsman's and he told us one last story.Lana,Jay,and I were having an excellent little chat when James showed up,and it just went wierd.
Dont get me wrong here. James was a lovely guy. Full of stories,outgoing,etc.But hes one of those people who,while theyre fun to hang out with sometimes,too much will bug the hell outta you.
So after we had hung out there for a bit,we decided we wanted to stay out,so we ended up going to a place called The Tron.It was a fun bar,pretty alternative,and they played music videos from the 90s on TVs throughout the place.James made a new friend whos name I didnt get,and refer to as Plaid Pants Guy.Plaid Pants had made friends with 3 other girls,so we eventually all went and sat together.This is skipping over about an hour and some of talking and telling anecdotes and explaining a situation.But that last bit did end up with James telling me I needed a tall,handsome Australian.And what a coincidence,guess what Jay is?Silly boys.
So back to the girls.They were Emma and Katie from New Mexico,and Lotta from Germany.We then left The Tron and went to a club called GHQ, which we later discovered was a gay bar. But whatevs,we got to dance and it was awesome.James and Plaid Pants wanted to stay on a bit,so the rest of us walked back home.I talked to the girls about why they were in Scotland,how they met,and so forth.Really nice girls.They were staying in a different hostel,so we parted ways.Got back to our room (the 4 of us,including James,were all in the same 10-bed room) and went to sleep.I think James came in at 4 or something.Whatevs.

Wednesday,Lana and I had our tour of the Highlands,Glencoe,and Loch Ness.We had to be at the tour office at 8 am,so we tried to get ready quietly but still woke up Jay (oops) but he wanted to say goodbye anyways,since he was leaving that day,so it wasnt all bad I suppose.
We got to the office,checked in,then went to the cafe next door for coffee and breakfasty foods.A dry scone for me,and a dry muffin for her.Awesome.Hopped into the van,ended up next to an annoying couple,but whatevs,and we were off.After an hour and some we stopped in a little town called Callendar.Bathroom breaks,food wanderings,and the like.Back on the bus.Lana falls asleep really easily,so she slept through a chunk of the Highlands,but whenever we stopped she would wake up.We drove by a bunch of lochs (lakes) and through some really pretty little towns.Eventually,we got ourselves to the one,the only, Loch Ness. Both Lana and I opted not to take the boat cruise,and instead had lunch and went down the the edge of the loch to try and coax Nessie out.
It didnt work.
Our tour guide was really nice,and he gave a really good run-down of local history and interesting information.We got home around 8pm,so Lana and I went back to our hostel and hung out for a bit.Then we walked around the city a bit,I found a couple stores I wanted to go into the next day,and I bought some tiny bottles of alcohol.A tiny Malibu for me,and a tiny Scotch for the sisters boyfriend.
When we got back to our room after that adventure,we found we had a new roommate.This was a lad by the name of Jamie from Australia.Why all the J names,Im not sure.They talked for awhile while I sorted my suitcase,then went to sleep.

On Thursday,Lana and I went on the free walking tour.It was about 3 hours long,and run by a super outgoing Canadian (woo!) girl by the name of Heather.We saw St.Giles,Greyfriars cemetary,the Elephant Cafe (birthplace of Harry Potter),the Writers Museum,Princes Street Garden,and a bunch of other places.Well worth the cold and rain.We headed back to the hostel,but managed to lose eachother.I stopped into a couple little shops,then went back where I talked to Jamie for a bit,then Lana showed up.We changed into dry clothes and put the wet ones in a dryer,then we headed off again.We went into the stores Id seen the day before,and I ended up buying an amazing plaid dress.Why didnt I get a kilt,you ask?Well you see,I was only going to get a kilt if it was a reasonable price,and it was my family tartan.However,the Sinclairs are a dying breed,so the only ones I could find were MAD expensive.So,plaid dress.Lana had been craving a deep-fried Mars bar,so we found a place that did them.But they were out!OH NO!So we had deep-fried Snickers bars instead.So good. Following that,we went to a place called Hot Tatties,which is a restaraunt that only serves baked potatoes.You can get a variety of fillings,of course.And theyre all vegetarian or vegan.It was sweet.I got mine with hummus and onion,Lana got sour cream and cheddar cheese.And then.It was time.For.
The pub crawl.
The 3 of us went to the first bar,which was near the Tron,where we got free wine or beer.Both of which I hate,but I did manage to drink a glass of wine anyways.I held my breath and chewed gum after.Then we went right back to Belushi's where I got to knock off the Jagerbomb dominoes,and we each had a free green,red,or blue shot of something.There was a live cover band,who were actually really good,but we only got to hear about 5 songs before we left.Outside Belushis I met one of the guys who also does the pub crawls,so he tagged along with us.Next bar we got free blue shots,and I hung out with L&J, then Belushi guy (whos name,again,I dont remember) and Jean-Philippe.His English isnt perfect,my French is bad,so we spoke in a strange English-heavy creole.Good times.On the way to the next place,I befriended an American by the name of Chris,so the bunch of us hung out in this little alcove-y type thing.Good talks,good talks.Free shot of whiskey on the way out.Last bar before the club had kareoke,so that was good times.Jean-Philippe kept trying to get me to go up,so our conversations mostly consisted of "you should go up!" "no,after you!" "after you,I insist!" "no,no,aprez vous!"
The girl running the crawl,Andra,rapped Lose Yourself which was pretty nifty,and Belushi sang Lola.Free red shot AND a sucker on the way out.
Last stop was a club where we got VIP (w00t w00t) and danced.And DANCED.For ages.So much fun.Seriously.The wall kept scratching me (it was exposed rock) so I might have bruises now.I forgot to check.So after dancing for a few hours to techno and electronica and all that wierd stuff,we decided to go home.JP was at a different hostel,so we said our goodbyes.Chris was at the same hostel as we were,so we walked back in a group.The two of us werent that tired,so we sat on the stairs and talked for a bit.Jamies joined in twice for a little,and then an Australian girl named Christina and her boyfriend Tyler came and hung out for a bit.Tyler left soon enough,so that left the 3 of us.We went down to the "Chill Out Room" after awhile and,well,chilled.I started feeling like a 3rd wheel after an hour or so,so I got up and started collecting my things.Christina decided to go to bed then,so Chris and I hung out for another half hour before going to bed ourselves.
Friday morning, Lana and I slept in a bit,then went to this place Jay had told us about called Chocolate Soup for coffee/hot chocolate.Time flew,and next thing you know we're running late for our bus.Balls.So we skedaddle to the bus,which seems to take forever,then we had to go to the Aer Lingus counter because I couldnt print our boarding passes at the hostel.Turns out our flight was delayed,so we had plenty of time.Thank Jebus.
So yeah,got on the plane,got home,safe and sound.

Best trip Ive had yet.And by yet,I mean ever.

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Finally.

road
Im all but tying myself to this chair so that I write this freakin' entry.
*get up for a snack*
Ok. Lemon jellybaby, 2 handfuls of toffee popcorn, a carton of 5 Alive,and cherry cake. I also got a ribbon and literally tied my leg to my chair.Its not very comfortable.
So whats been going on in the last month? Oy.

Well,dads visit was fun. We took 3 days and went on a roadtrip around the lower half of Ireland. Why only 3 days? Because Leo didnt tell me when my time off was going to be granted,and so I though I only had 3 days.I had almost a week off after that. But its fine though, we were rubbing on eachothers nerves- I would get annoyed when he wouldnt listen to my road directions despite him dubbing me Navigator, and then hed get annoyed when I couldnt tell him where to go when he took a route I said not to. But overall, it was fun, and nice to hang out with my dad again.
We headed south, stopping in Kildare to walk around and get lunch, then carried on to Cashel where we saw the Rock Of Cashel. Pictures (which will follow) do not do that place justice. It was beautiful, intimidating, haunting (but in a good way), interesting... Ugh. Loves it. After Cashel, we went down to Blarney and to Blarney Castle, home of the Blarney Stone. Blarney. The castle grounds were really nice, and the signs around the castle were short,to the point,informative,but fun. We kissed the Blarney Stone, walked around a bit more, then went for dinner and got a room for the night. At about 10, we went across the street to a pub that had live music and Irish dancing. Pretty cool, except the table of drunk old people (easily 60+ years old) who were talking loudly the whole time. Sigh. Got dad an autographed CD for his birthday,which Ill be mailing to him in about 2 months time. The next day we went through Killarney,took some back roads for almost an hour for fun (I got to drive here,and only stalled the car 2x. Impressive,since I dont really know how to drive stick), Limerick (where we went to a bar for a drink,just to say we had), and then to Ennis where we spent the night. In the morning we walked around the town for a bit and went to the old Ennis Friary. Then it was off to Lehinch, and the Cliffs of Moher. Beautiful. Slightly terrifiying. Or maybe thats just because we were walking along the unprotected and unstable edge of a cliff with a sheer drop down to the ocean. No big, whatevs. After that we stopped in Lisdoonvarna for dinner, drove through Galway- stopping for a bit to walk around, eventually found accommodation for the night in Loughrea (lock-ree). Next day we headed back to Dublin with a brief stop in Birr to look at a castle and a giant telescope.
Roadtrip photos
Dad ended up going home after 2 weeks because his knee got rediculously infected and swollen somehow,so he didnt get to go explore more of Europe. Lame, but such is life. He had a good time anyways.

Work has been fine.There was a couple weeks where I only got 2 shifts/week, so I decided to start volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Crumlin (Dublin 12).Its one bus for about 40 minutes,so thats not bad. Ive only gone out 2x though, the first time to see the place,and the second to do some cleaning. Its been slow- not a good thing. That means that families are staying long,because their kids are still really sick. Tonight Im going out there (probably shortly after I finish this entry) and Im cooking for the families.

And now, the moment youve all been waiting for.... GENEVA
You didnt even know I was going,did you? Pfft. Jerk. Way to not listen.
Ok,I got distracted again. Disconnecting internet.

Now,where was I? Ah yes, Geneva.
I was there Sept.19 - 21. I got on the flight no problem, landing was no biggie. Got through the gates and started to scan the crowd for my dear friend, Fabian, not knowing if Id recognize him. After all, we hadnt seen eachother in 5 years. As I looked down the hall, I saw a lanky figure leaning on a railing straighten up and start walking. Though he was far away, I knew it was him. Giant hugs. We then went to pick up groceries for dinner and headed back to his parents place. We had some good talks on the way home, with him telling me about his girlfriend, Laure, and me filling him in on Jake. At the house I met his dad, got a tour, then we grabbed bikes and rode into town. He decided to take me on a scenic route, which nearly killed me (I was on his sisters bike,who is much taller than I am). It was fun though. We went to the UN building, looked at a giant chair art installation thing, then kept going. Passed a wierd purple ball thats part of "Project Genome",which neither of us knew what was about. He took me to Central Perk (like from Friends) which isnt a coffee shop- its a bar. A smoky bar at that. We didnt get anything to drink,but on the way out we did get icecream. On our way to the Jet D'eau, we walked through a plaza which was,that weekend,the location of the Vans BMX Jam. We watched for a bit, talked to one of the guys running it- ok, Fabian did- and I got a flyer to take home for Jake as a present. Oh yeah, I spoil that boy. Anyways. We went to the Jet D'eau, which was nice enough, but I didnt really get the huge interest in it. Maybe its nicer in good weather? It had started to threaten rain and spit a little,so we got back on the bikes and headed home. Laure came by soon after we got home and changed into dry clothes, and we got dinner ready. Proscuitto and melon, followed by raclette (boiled potatoes which you pour melted parma/mozza cheese over).Simple,but quite tasty. After dinner Fabian, Laure, and I watched The Life of Brian and went to sleep. I could hardly sleep...Couldnt get comfortable, cold sweat, etc. Ugh.
But I accidentally got an extra hour of sleep- my phone didnt automatically adjust to the new time zone. Oops.Ate some breakfast, made faces at Fabians yogurt/milk concoction for his cereal, and went back into town on the bikes. Turns out that throughout the year, theres little flea markets here and there, but once a year theres one huge one where they block off city streets.Guess what was going on tht day in town...haha.Excellent timing. I looked over some stones a guy who introduced himself as Octavius was selling- nice things like amber and lapus lazuli, but I was far too cheap to buy any.Though I did see a tiny little quartz fish I wouldve bought for Randy,but figured I probably end up losing it before I got home.After walking around together for a bit,we decided to split up and meet again at 1230. So I went off, almost got lost, bought dads Christmas present, and got back to the lovebirds a little bit late. They had found Fabians sister (Lovisa)'s college booth,where she and some friends were selling cakes. Went back to the house without Laure,because she had bought a stereo and needed to drop it off at her house. Checked out a map for our next adventure, then had lunch- Ravioli and pesto. Which is now one of my favourite simple meals. After lunch, we picked up Laure and their friend Solene,and went to France. For 15 minutes. Because Fabian got lost. Eventually we found where we wanted to go by taking a Swiss route- Mountains! After 30 min of climbing,I realized there was no way Id make the next 2 hours. So we went back down and took a cablecar up.At the top,we looked over Geneva, watched some parachutists,and went for a short walk up the rest of the mountain.To be honest,I ended up getting a bit annoyed,as the 3 of them, who speak fluent English, were speaking French,which they know I dont understand. Grr. We went back down eventually, and while they went and looked at the photos while we waited for the next car, I sat down because my legs were trembling. Too much uphill walking,I guess?Who knows.Laure and Solene went off ahead because Fabian ended up gettign roped into a conversation with an older couple,then we ended up even farther behind because I stopped at a corner store for a drink. I think I just needed sugar, because I felt way better after a half can of Fanta. When we caught up with the girls,we went home, dropping off Laure first,then Solene. I took a short nap,which couldnt really be called a nap since I was half awake, then we had dinner. Nothing fancy,just sandwiches. Fabians dad got Laure to try some wierd Swedish food, which smelled like death but, apparently, tasted fine. It was fish, so I didnt try it. After dinner was plum pie that Laure made, then Fight Club, printing off my ticket, and sleep.
The next day we were all up relatively early, I said goodbye to Laure, then Fabian and I went on a walk to the river. It was super muddy though, so the walk was cut a bit short. We went to the mall after that,where I bought some chocolate. Stopped at McDonalds for a milkshake, but they didnt understand/have it,so I ended up with a Flurry.Sigh.Back to the house where Fabian pushed me on a swing for a bit while his mum laughed at us, packed up, played some Sims on my phone, then had a little bit of risotto and left for the airport. As I was walking to my gate, I realized I didnt have my phone,so we backtracked alllll the way to the car, where it was sitting on the ground. Of course.Said goodbye to my Fabian,then went through the gate. At one store,some guy kept staring at me through the windows,so I mouthed "fuck off" to him,which made him come inside and try to harrass me. So I walked away and ignored him. I sat down on some chairs and started writing in my little notebook. A bit later,he walked by me and said something to me,but again I just ignored him and he left. Creep. Got to my gate, but a little can of Pringles and a bottle of Coke for 5 euro (yikes),and waited. My flight got delayed a good 45 minutes,which sucked balls. FINALLY got onboard and we took off. Turns out the airline somehow got the flight to Dublin, Ireland, confused with one to Jordan. Yep, as in the Middle Eastern country. How they managed that...I dont know. As we landed in Dublin, I found texts on my phone (Id had NO reception all weekend,which was super lame).Most were from my phone company,sayign I had voicemails. I dont get voicemails. It was after 6pm, and it turns out I was supposed to start work at 5. I frantically called several people I work with, as well as the store I wasnt working at that day, who called the store I was working at that night,to say I was on my way. Ended up being almost 2h late. Ugh. But I made it!
Something always goes wrong on my trips. Meh.
Swiss photos

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Sep. 25th, 2009

stress
Fuck you, LJ. I had a giant entry typed up and it got deleted.
Will try again later. Too cold and hungry now.

Dublin Ghostbus~~~~

memories
Tildes arent spooky,are they? Sigh.
Last night, dad and I went on the Dublin Ghostbus Tour- the only ghostbus tour in the world!It was 25eu,which I was a bit iffy on,but dad wanted to go and paid,so hey.Why not. I read the reviews on TripAdvisor,and they all either said it was great,or it was horrible.So I went in with no expectations.

Our tour guide was Declan,and the driver was Frances "Blood on the tires" Shoemacher.The bus' name was Molly,as in Molly Malone.There was a joke in there somewhere.Our first story was about 118 Summerhill,set in the year 1966.Declan even used props! Well,the newspaper headline and a mirror,but whatevs.
Next we heard about Misery Hill,where they kept the lepers and criminals,the latter whom they would hang for 6 to 9 to even 12 months.But that was a quick one,as hed come back to it later.
After that,we parked outside the Royal College of Physicians,where a former doctor/professor would give lectures on how we are just masses of organs,and thats all we were- using cadavers to explain,which he would have paid people to steal from graves for him a night or so previous.Yet now,they say his ghost haunts the building.Irony?
Next,we stopped outside the birthplace of Bram Stoker,the author of Dracula.Apparently,Dracula is a combination of the Gaelic words for "bad" and "blood." Nifty little tidbit of info there.
On the way to St.Kevins cemetary Park,Declan talked to us about voodoo and had a girl stick a pin in a voodoo doll which had been blessed by a witch doctor.
Once we got to St.Kevins,we learned the history of it- it was once a graveyard/monestary,but the city decided to turn it into a park,so they exhumed all the graves and had the families of the deceased come claim their ancestors,who were then moved to the outer perimeter.Now,you can eat lunch right on top of where great-great-great-grandma used to be buried.How sweet.Anyways,we were then told the story of Blessed Dermot O'Hurley.We got to go into part of the park thats locked to the public- Blessed Dermots former chapel,where he would hold secret masses.While inside,everyone took pictures and for the most part got loads of orbs- one older guy even got a clear-as-day eye in one of his orbs.Imagine this: http://tinyurl.com/m6kvkg in an orb.Yeah.Creepy.I got a smiling face in one of mine,but you have to look.Dad couldnt really see it,though its clear to me.On the way out,we stopped at a tree for another story.A woman on the tour a couple years ago was visiting from Mexico,and when walking by a certain tree,she saw a small boy,who was about 10 or so,with striking strawberry-blond hair.She mentioned it to the guide,then boarded the bus again as though nothing had happened (she was used to these kinds of things).The strange thing was,even though its a very old cemetary,the boy was dressed in modern clothes.So after the tour,her guide did some research.In the 60s,a 12 year old boy was murdered,and his body was found in that park,his killers never found,thus his soul never given peace.And this boy was known for his strawberry-blond hair.
When we got back on the bus,a British chap on the tour was letting people see a photo on his camera.Some couldnt see it,some could make bits out (like myself),and some could see it clear as day.It was the image of a priest,against the former chapel wall.
On our way to the next stop,we talked about exorcism VS psychotic illnesses and heard a recording of a genuine exorcism.It was a bit creepy.
Next stop was St.Patricks Cathedral,where there was a (now blocked-up) tunnel known as The Entrance To Hell,and this is where we heard the history/legend of it and Darkey Kelly.After a brief stop outside the cemetary where we heard the origins of the phrases "graveyard shift" "saved by the bell" and "dead ringer",along with the story of Samuel Morgan and his wife.I cant remember it all,but in the end he was buried in a paupers grave while she has a proper burial,and to this day a figure dressed in white is seen roaming the cemetary,searching for her husband.
That was the last stop of the tour.
Overall,I had a good time.In regards to the reviews,I think it was really dependent on your tour guide.Declan was really informative,with a dark wit and sarcastic humour,while being just the tiniest bit creepy/eerie/spooky during the tour.
Photos will be up eventually,if Photobucket would stop being a tool.
Finally!Collapse )

Dads here!

day2day
My dad got into Dublin Friday morning!
I didnt get much sleep the night before because I was up late talking with Jake,but I still managed to catch him getting off the airport shuttle.We went for breakfast at this place on Parnell called the Kingfisher (family owned and operated for 30 years,dontchaknow) and then went back to my apartment.I was tired,and dads always up for a nap (hes currently napping on the couch) so I showed him his room and then went to mine and half-slept for a couple hours.
After waking up,we went for a walk down OConnell and through Temple Bar.Got some lunch at The Vat House in Temple Bar,then ended up at Dublin Castle,but this time we did more than just look at the gardens.We went on the castle tour,which was interesting enough.The tour guide was nice,and joked around with dad some while we waited for everyone to catch up.The tour lasted about 50 minutes,and it was only 3.50eu for me (student price- I still have my old college ID) and 4.50eu for him as an adult.Afterwards,we looked around at the grounds of Christchurch Cathedral,then went to a family history place that prints up the history of your last name,along with your family crest.It wasnt that great though,since all spellings of St.Clair (Sinclair,St.Clare,etc) had the same history,which shouldnt happen,and the Wood crest was different than the one dad and grandpa once researched.But the guy was really nice about it all,so thats good.
After that,we went home.We went down to the bar on the corner, Hill 16, for drinks that night.Dad got a Guinness even though he hates it back home- it just doesnt travel well -and I had a WKD.Of course.

Saturday I got up late and we went back to Temple Bar to find the photography museum.Its split in half or something,with one being archives,but theyre on opposite sides of a square. That has a Farmers Market on Saturdays. So it was packed. Oh wells! Our landlady,Marcella,texted Jake to let him know she was on her way up with an electrician to fix the bathroom fan.And that she would be there at 2. This was at about 1230. Great,eh?So dad and I had to get home,not stopping for food on the way even though we were hungry,only to have to sit around for an hour waiting.Urg.
Eventually she and the electrician showed up,and it was fixed and they were gone in about 30-45 min.We left right after they did and went to this little Italian place I went to with Dermot last week.On the way there,I stopped at the library to pick up a book.After lunch,we had to head back so I could get ready for work.I felt bad leaving dad in the apartment from 6 onwards,but Jake said he was planning to go out,possibly immediately after he finished work,and I was going to be working until 4am (turns out it was 515 when I got to leave),but he was fine with it.

This morning,I slept.Left dad a note,which he didnt see until about 130,so at 2 or so he went out while I stayed in bed..I was so tired =(
He got back around 5,and I looked up mini vacations we could go on,then remembered to book a ticket for myself to go to Geneva,Switzerland in late September.Happy birthday to me!
Tonight dad and I are going on the Dublin Ghostbus tour.Should be fun!

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Dusseldorf, Germany.

memories
I got home Monday afternoon. Its Thursday afternoon. What?
Excuses,let me show you them...
Home.Slept like a log.Woke up,Jake got home.Made dinner.Spent time with Jake before he left to caatch his flight to Poland.Slept.Got caught up on things.Work.Sleep.Wrote a little.Did some other stuff.Work.Sleep.Cleaning. Now here.

So last week,I realized I had a long weekend off of work.Im tired of sitting at home,so I decided I was going to take a trip.I clicked around on the Ryanair site for awhile,comparing prices,before settling on Dusseldorf,Germany.150eu,roundtrip,after taxes.Oh yes.

I went down to the Hanlin internet cafe to print off my boarding pass before work the day before I was to leave.My sheet came up,so I took it and headed off.After I got off work,I went home,got a little bit of shut-eye,then left at about 630am to catch the AirCoach to the airport.

Thursday
Checked in,and found I was 2.5 hours early for my flight.Oops.Bought some breakfast (smoothie and a turnover) and a book (Nineteen Minutes) and settled in to read and people-watch.There was some lady walking around getting people to do surveys,which was a tad annoying when there were very few people at the gate,because shed walk around aimlessly.But anyways.So boarding started,and there was a guy,probably about 17 or so,and his dad in line before me.Normal.Except that said kid kept standing far too close,and breathing heavily.Creepy.But hey,we were getting on a plane.So we board,I grab a seat,and as Im sitting down,guess who picks the seat right behind me,when 2/3 of the plane was still empty? Yeah.So I moved. I ended up sitting with a group of kids from a church who were going to Germany to visit their sister parish or something.They were really sweet,all of them.They offered me candy.Haha

After getting off the plane,I went to Information to find out how to get to the city.I was told to take a bus,and then the train.As I stood to board what I hoped was the right bus,I ended up talking to the guy behind me,who turned out to be from Cork.His name is Derek.We spent the bus ride,as well as the train ride just talking about everything.The train ride reminded me of the drive to see my oma & opa,which was nice.
Once we got to the station (425pm),Derek had to catch his train to Cologne,so we parted ways.I took a taxi to my hotel,which was supposed to cost 5.50 + 1.75/km,but he only charged me 5.50. Aww.

Got settled into my room at Hotel Diana,which turned out to be a private room,not a 4 person like I thought I had booked.Nifty because it meant I had privacy,but I was looking forward to meeting people,so it wasnt that great.Oh well.I read for a bit,then got changed- I had come to Germany in pants,a tshirt,and a sweater,and the temperature that day was 27C/81F.Put on a dress,and left.At the reception desk,I was told I should check out old town,aka Altstadt.Got a map,and headed out.The map wasnt that great;there were intersections where the map said there was a block between the roads that intersected in front of me,but overall it worked for the general purpose of keeping me from getting too lost.

It was bright out,so I ducked into a store that sort of looked like H&M and poked around for a bit.Got some sunglasses,a bottle of apfel-kirsch (apple-cherry) juice,and a birthday present for my sister.In the store,there was a lady with a mini Greyhound on a leash..I thought it was odd,but ignored it.
After paying,I continued my walk,but only briefly- I was stopped by a guy who worked for a charity,and we had a nice talk.I was a forgeiner,so he didnt go through his spiel with me,and actually gave me directions to the Rhine river.I walked along the boardwalk for awhile,marvelling at how the river-front bar stretched as far as the eye could see,and how it was packed.

I turned down a street because there wasnt much boardwalk left that I wanted to explore,and I ended up running across this little hole-in-the-wall art shop.Floor to ceiling shelves,packed full of supplies,tables in random places stacked with things..it was what an art shop should look like,I think. (Dont get me wrong,I still love Michaels.) I bought some stuff for a present for Susan&Kevin,and a birthday present for Jake.As I left,my stomach started grumbling,so I walked around looking for a place to eat.

As I was walking down this main street called Heinrich-Heine-Allee,I looked to the other side and noticed that there were trees and grass and other things Im not used to seeing in a city.So I ran across to check it out.Turns out,and my map confirmed it,that it was a park!Again,my map wasnt the greatest,but from what I gathered it was likely part of the Hofgarten.I took a few pictures and walked along the edge of the stream,which was full of ducks and swans,before continuing my quest for food.It was serene and quiet,despite being right on a main road,which I liked.For food,I ended up at a Pizza Hut.Oooooh.

On the way home,I stopped into a Kiosk,or as we call it,a convenience store,attached to I think a parking garage.I grabbed myself a Fanta and some water,and on the way to the cash,I passed a counter full of little hotel-sized bottles of alcohol.Most were only a Euro or so,so I grabbed one that amused me.After paying,I asked the guy what it was,and he shuddered,laughed,and said (I think) "Schnapps." On the back,it says Likor, Feige + Wodka or Liquor, Fig + Vodka. Thats going to be..tasty...Ugh.Got back to the hotel, read as I ate some of my pizza, texted with Jake a bit, then went to sleep.

Friday
I woke up to my alarm going off at 1030,then layed in bed for awhile and planned my day.Apparently I needed to plan faster or wake up earlier,because the next thing I knew my door was being opened by the cleaners.I tried to apologize and ask if there was a time I should be out by,but they didnt speak English and my German is horrible.I got ready really quick after that,and went downstairs to get directions to...The Aquazoo.

I needed to take a train,so I was given directions to the station Id arrived at.Once I got there,I realized why I was only charged 5.50- it was about a 10 minute walk.I couldnt figure out the stupid ticket machine,so I had to have someone do it for me.But he was really nice,so it was ok. I went to the platform,and since my train wasnt due to arrive for 6 minutes I decided to run back upstairs to the toilet since I had no idea how long the trip was going to be. My little excursion ended up taking me 10 minutes of circling the station through back hallways before I found out Id passed it in the first couple minutes of my search.Way to go,self.Got back downstairs 5 min before the next train was due to arrive,but it ended up being late.Oh well. Got on,no problem,but missed my stop. It was only by one,so that wasnt bad.Finally,I wound up at the Aquazoo.

The porter at the hotel had told me that there was a beautiful garden adjacent to the Aquazoo that I should check out,so I decided to do that first.As I was walking in,I realized that some people were having their wedding photos taken.I turned around.

Admission was pretty cheap to the Aquazoo...something like 7 euro. The Aquazoo is like any other aquarium,really...so theres not much to tell. They also had a bit of a normal zoo,with little animals like lemurs. Theres not much to say about it, I wandered around on my own, took some pictures, then left. Exciting, I know. Afterwards I went to the garden where the wedding had cleared out,and walked around and took more pictures. Crazy,I know! There was a little cafe, so I stopped by and got a milkshake.Mmmmmmmmm milkshake. There was a long pool/fountain thing in the garden,so I sat down and dipped my feet while enjoying the sun and the hot weather.After awhile,a not-yet-fully-grown German Shepherd came over and started running through the fountain.He was cute until he started barking at me for no reason,so I left. Got back on the train,and sat down a couple rows across from some guy. Who kept staring at me. Sure, when youre on a train you people-watch,and look out the window.But this guy was full-out staring and it was creepy.So I said "uh,can I help you?" to which he replied "no,Im ok,thanks" and kept staring. So I moved. Wierdo.

When I got off the train, I accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up exploring a part of town called Stadtmitte.I walked by two friends,one of whom was sitting in a shopping cart while the other took a picture,and I asked if they could help me out with something. A bit after that and realizing that there was nothing of interest in Stadtmitte,I decided to go home.And ended up getting lost. I stopped at a fancy McDonalds (bet you never thought youd see those words together,did you?) to get my bearings and have one of those little fruit packets you can get,then carried on again.
I found a store similar to BiWay/The Bargain Shop,and bought a dress to wear the next day,which I figured would be just as hot,and I had only pants to wear that day.After that,I walked past an adult store,and figured that I had to check it out since I was in Germany and all.It was...not great. Half was devoted to movies with one or two little booths that looked like photobooths,but had two TVs inside with pictures of naked ladies telling you to put in some money,and a larger bench.I think you can figure out what those were for.The other half was also pretty lame,with the counter taking up about a quarter of the floor space,and the middle being a giant rummage bin of more movies. It was a bit of a let down. I had passed another one on my way to the train station earlier (that had an elderly couple window-shopping at. Hilarious.) so I checked it out to see if it was any better.And it was.I was appeased.
I then found a dollar(ish) store,and bought a bathing suit- I forgot mine in Canada,and planned to spend the next day sunbathing in the Hofgarten.It only cost me 3 euro,so heck yes to that.Went back to the hotel to try on my new clothes,eat some dinner,and shower. Tried to sleep,but my body wasnt used to suddenly being in a hot room. I ended up sleeping with the ceiling fan on,which I normally hate doing (ask my dad). As I was falling asleep,finally,Jake texted me and woke me up. We exchanged I think 5 or 6 messages,then I slept.

Saturday
Got up and dressed at 8am so I wouldnt scare the housekeepers again,then went downstairs for breakfast.I ended up eating really fast,because one guy was disgusting- chewing loudly,with his mouth open,while he was talking...Ugh.Im pretty sure hes the guy who stayed down the hall from me and blared bad techno for hours on end,so I can safely say..what a douche. After breakfast, I went out.I had to go to an internet cafe to see if I could change my booking at all,since I wouldnt actually be staying for the 3rd night.Turns out I couldnt,so I went back to the hotel and paid for the 3 nights.It was only 81 euro,so not getting out of that last night wasnt a big deal.

I sat on a bench outside the hotel and checked out my map,figuring out where to go that day.As I was sitting there,a woman came up to me and started asking me questions in German.I just looked at her blankly,and then said "English?" She was from Chicago (though born and raised in Bavaria) so we understood eachother.She asked me how to get to Koingsallee,which is where I was planning to go,so we just went together.Her name was Monica,she was 42,with two sons who were 20 and 23 (Philip and Kevin),and was moving back to Chicago after living in Germany again for a couple years. She was fun to hang out with.
We found Koingsallee,and all its fancy-schmany shops.We didnt go into many,except for Benetton and a shoe store which was mostly Dolce & Gabbana, but everything was on sale! so I think the cheapest thing in the store was a pair of shoes for 100 euro.I found a pair of boots that were nifty; they went over the knee a bit,but there was a heart-shaped cutout so you could bend.And they were only 400 euro! Oy.
We went to a little Italian place for lunch,where I was only able to finish half my big bowl of pasta.The waitress asked if I was actually done,so Monica told her the reason Im so skinny is because I dont eat pasta. Grr. Im not that skinny,and I love pasta. But thats another story for another time.

We walked around some more,got some icecream,and found ourselves at St.Andreaskirche, the church I had seen the first day I was in Dusseldorf.This time,we went inside and looked around.It was gorgeous.Not as nice as the ones I saw in Lucerne, Switzerland,but still hella nice.
Once we got back to Henrich-Heine-Allee,we parted ways.She went back to her hotel to see if her one son who was with her (Kevin) was up and moving yet,and I went back to mine to pack. The jerks from breakfast were blasting their music again,so I left after getting most of my things together.

FOr dinner,I went to this department store that allegedly had a nice restaurant in it. It wasnt. So, still somewhat hungry,I left. Got distracted and ended up buying some new earrings since I only have 3 pairs here that I can wear to work,as well as a wooden pair for Jake,which is what hes been looking for. When I left,I took a wrong turn again,and ended up walking by this Mexican place where someone started waving at me. What what whaaat? It was Monica and Kevin! I sat with them while they ate, then Monica ordered the two of us pineapple margaritas. I think I was able to have about 5 sips before giving up and giving it to Kevin- it tasted like pure rum to me. But then again, I dont drink often,and when I do it isnt much. We talked about tattoos, how Kevin didnt believe I was Canadian until I was talking and prounounced house "hoose" without realizing it,and because Canadians always wear something red,which I was- I had red underwear on. After they finished and we all got up,we said our goodbyes and "so,we'll see eachother again next summer,then?" Ah,good times.

Back to the hotel to finish packing, check my Facebook and Twitter, and took a nap.
Airport fun that doesnt have much to do with the city of Dusseldorf.Collapse )

Finally,I got back to Dublin.
Sweet,sweet home.

Germany pics

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Deutschland!

road
Alrighty you guys,Im on my way to Germany!
I found a flight for 150eu roundtrip after taxes,and 3 nights at a hostel for 81eu.Free breakfast included!
Ill be keeping up with my Twitter,so check it out there:
http://twitter.com/miaamelia

Hospitals.

stress
So for the past 3 weeks or so,Ive had a stomachache. Not just your average,run of the mill,ohh-I-shouldnt-have-eaten-that uncomfortable stomachache,but one where each day,it feels like Jackie Chan is punching you in the stomach repeatedly.
So yeah,3 weeks.
Id mentioned this previously in my Oxegen entries,I know.But the other day when I was at work,I had to go home early because of it.Jake came by to see how I was doing,and ended up walking me home.After curling up around a hot water bottle for a good 2 hours,we left for Mater Misericordie Hospital.
We got in,and the waiting room was full.But it was a very small waiting room,so no worries.I got registered and into Triage in under 20 minutes or so,so I was hopeful.JAke and I quickly worked out that half to 2/3 of the people in the room were waiting with actual patients.Fine and dandy.But nobody was getting called in.Odd.Then a guy showed up.A drunk guy.A drunk guy who sliced his finger in half lengthwise and was bleeding all over the place because the cloth he had wrapped around his finger was soaked through.
After two hours of waiting and him saying all he wanted was a couple stitches and to clean up his arm,I realized that if he wasnt getting seen soon,I definitely wasnt.We talked to some other people waiting,and there was a girl who had been there since 2 pm,who had no feeling in the left side of her face.Her eye only closed halfway,her lips didnt move on that side when she talked.And she was at the bottom group to be seen after she had been waiting 12 effing hours.
We left.
The next day,yesterday,I went to a private clinic near Temple Bar and was seen immediately because it wasnt yet busy.Turns out I just have a stubborn infection,so I was given antibiotics and painkillers,and it should be gone in another week.
So to all those planning on coming to Ireland with SWAP/USIT...if you can,wait until business hours and just go to a clinic.Its 200euro cheaper too.

xo

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