Currently (8:06) on the bus to Brussels. This morning went pretty smoothly, no problems finding the bus–and vice versa. We left when scheduled, so I think I can say we are getting better at this traveling thing. I think I may be one of the few still awake on the bus (other than the bus driver and his co-pilot–wait. Co-pilot looks to be snoozing also. I’m just assuming he is a co-driver. I can’t say for sure). The bus is very large, much larger than I expected. Every person is able to get two seats! It’s nice to be able to get comfortable; this is definitely where being short comes in handy.
It seems like there is some type of illness that is being passed around here. Nothing too terrible, but general stuffed/runny noses and coughing. I may have caught a mini version, but I didn’t get any of the fatigue that some of the other students had/have. Jeff told us that the second week of a large travel expedition, such as this one, usually is the hardest. By this time the adrenaline of being in a new place has lessened a bit, and the amount of travel begins to affect the body more. Something like that. Hopefully by Sunday or Monday everyone feels better, or at least close to feeling 100%.
This drive is really pretty; we are passing a wind farm now. The rising sun and morning mist is really a sight. I think if it was a midday trip it wouldn’t be as nice, a lot of the built structures have been very reminiscent of what I’d see driving to Columbus or Chicago, except for all the French, obviously.
Quick update about 10 hours later (21:27)
Brussels is beautiful, except for the most modern area (where their agriculture building is and many of the government buildings around there). Also, their waffles are super delicious (I got one with whipped cream, strawberries and drizzled chocolate. Uh-maze-zing.) and I scored some free samples of chocolate and got an awesome handpicked bag of dark chocolate truffles and pralines, and went to the beer store to get a lambic and a Belgian blond. In a small way, Brussels reminds me of Queens in New York, but a lot prettier. I still haven’t been able to pinpoint how exactly, but it was definitely more of the less-expensive area that reminded me of Queens, not the central part of the city. I believe we (a medium sized group of us) are going to try and find somewhere to dance (a Bal-Musette?) near the apartment-hotel tonight, mostly for fun, partially because its part of an assignment. Tomorrow I have plans to be running around Paris sketching, market shopping (probably more viewing than shopping), and maybe gargoyle kissing (also part of before mentioned assignment). Somewhere beyond the Notre Dame is an art suppLy store that I need to find, and at 7 I’m going on a night bike ride tour (with two others) that ends on a boat with wine! The bikes will stay on shore 😉
Still sniffling a bit, but other than that my enthusiasm/excitement level is pretty high–maybe even higher than the roof of this bus.
Signing off, again,
I don’t feel like a weekend was enough to visit Dublin; especially with the work that we were assigned to do while we were there. Granted, I could’ve worked on the assignment a bit more in London, but there is nothing to do about it now. The feel of Dublin is much different of London’s feel. London seems a bit more…glamorous, perhaps? I feel I cannot accurately compare the two, partially because while in London I was able to see so much more than I saw in the couple days in Dublin. I would love to visit Ireland again someday, and hopefully make it to the cliffs that I’ve heard so much about.
Saturday morning Sydney and I walked around in the morning in search of a cafe where we could work on our assignment before meeting back up with everyone else. Our hostel was pretty close to the central part of Dublin, although there weren’t as many cafes as I would’ve liked. I suppose that because Dublin is pretty north, outdoor areas for cafes aren’t as popular as London, and I’m sure as they will be in Paris. The one we decided upon was a cafe diner mixture; we both ordered coffee an took over a four person table. Around ten was when it started to get pretty busy. We both got a fair amount done by the time we packed up at 12:20.
We met up with most of our group outside and it was a little after one when we left to walk to the Guinness Store House/Brewery. What an experience! I feel much more knowledgable about Guinness, and about beer in general–of course, there is still more I’d like to know. The walkthrough felt similar to waiting in line for a roller-coaster, at least one in a major theme park, such as Universal Studios. The design of the tour space must have been fun to come up with. At the end, after we did the Guinness Tasting side-quest, we had a pint of Guinness on the top floor, the Gravity Bar. The room up there was glass 360, and so everywhere you looked you were greeted with a panoramic view of the city. It was pretty crowded up there, so after 10 minutes or so we retreated back downstairs to find the rest of our group. Joyce and I decided to share some sweets while we waited to regroup.
It was around 16:30 when we finally were out the door and on our way to the Temple Bar area in order to meet up with another girl in the group and to search for some dinner. Even with about 6 of our other friends not with us, we were still a pretty large group. We decided to split up in search for food with the intention of meeting up later on. Joyce, Ben, Jill and I walked around a while in order to find relatively cheaper food and we finally came across a pie shop, a savory pie shop. For 6 euros we were able to each get a very filling meal, in addition to a very large and very needed glass of water.
Afterwards we decided to walk more south in search of the Libskin building. On our way we also saw the memorial sculpture for the Potato Famine, which was a very haunting installation as well as the Calatrava bridge (one of two in Dublin, actually). The Calatrava bridge is suspended, at least that is what I think the type of bridge it is. It is also white and so it contrasts really nicely with the surroundings.
That evening was a pretty quiet one for me. Instead of heading out to the bars with some of the others I elected to stay in to read a bit and do some yoga. A small part of me wishes I would’ve instead gone out, but there is nothing I can do about it now. It was a nice break though to have some alone time, especially after a week of travel, tours and what not.
The first week in Europe was pretty exhausting, but I think I’m finally adjusting. I’m starting to wake up before my alarm clock–that’s my major clue right there. I’m excited, because this means I’ll be able to enjoy some quiet time in the morning soon.
It’s 18:23 and I’m just now getting a bit tired, so, I’m going to consider myself well on my way to conquering jet-lag. Europe uses military time instead of whatever the US uses and so I’m trying to adapt to it (by changing my phone/ipad) so to minimize any sort of time miscommunication. Subtracting two hours isn’t that difficult (my shortcut to get US time, it’s sort of like subtracting 12, but I just ignore the 1. Doesn’t work as well when it hits 20:00 I suppose).
Military time is more efficient though, I gotta say. With no “am” or “pm” there is little excuse for error, unless you give, or are given the wrong number.
Traveling is exciting, and stressful. More specifically, traveling by plane is stressful, except for a few parts–mainly the takeoff, landing and what goes on (or doesn’t) in between. Being able to fall asleep on planes is a good talent to have; I’m happy to say that it’s been a lifelong cultivation of mine–I get a lot of practice in cars. Currently finishing up this post
By the end of this trip I think I should be able to say which sort of transportation I prefer the most (when it comes to longer distances). Train, buses and planes, oh my!