European arrival to the emerald isle

Five months at home flew by and suddenly I've packed up my backpack and hit the road again. This time I'm taking on Europe and I've got one of my best friends who decided to come along for the adventure. Sometimes I question my sanity, leaving my comfortable life at home for one of constant travel, in and out of hostels or sleeping on couches, on and off of busses, planes, and trains but the second I arrive in a new destination I'm filled with the same sense of excitement and wonder as a child on Christmas morning and I remember why it is that I've chosen this gypsy lifestyle.

The first country on our trip is Ireland. Having found a ridiculously cheap flight from Boston to Dublin we figured it made sense to start here. I have a bunch of distant cousins scattered around Dublin and Cork and we were fortunate enough to have them take us in. Our landing couldn't have been softer as the two of us were completely spoiled this past week. Wendy, who is my second cousin once removed(?), and her husband Frank, took us into their home and we basically became their pseudo children for 6 days. We ate like queens and enjoyed every minute of it, knowing soon enough we'd be on our own and the meals on our budget wouldn't be quite as nice (or filling).

A day trip to the Cliffs of Moher was our first chance to see the stunning scenery this country has to offer. I always say that my photos don't do these places any justice; there is no comparison to seeing them with your own eyes.

We had a great time in Dublin visiting my family, catching up with a few old friends, and drinking our fair share of Guinness. After 6 days in the city we hopped on a bus and headed south to Cork. We were greeted off the bus by another cousin of mine and showed all around West Cork. The uncharacteristically beautiful weather made for the perfect sightseeing day. The landscape in this country is breathtaking. We drove along the Wild Atlantic Way which is miles of windy roads passing by glowing green hills set against the backdrop of a calm and sparkling ocean. It is absolutely gorgeous. I was happy to get to the tiny town of Glandore and be able to see where my great grandfather grew up. It's always hard for me to comprehend how people can live in towns with a population of less than 100. It is beautiful to visit but I for sure would go crazy.

Today was our last full day on the Emerald Isle, tomorrow we fly to London for some bright lights and big city livin. We couldn't leave without taking a trip to the Jameson distillery this afternoon which was actually cooler than I expected. Meg and I have been very conscious of our wallets especially with overly expensive London in our near future and we are becoming quite familiar with the feeling of hunger. An empty stomach isn't the greatest thing to bring to a whiskey tasting! Needless to say we went straight to a restaurant for an early bird special after the tour.

It's been a fun 8 days and a nice relaxed start to our trip but both of us are ready for London and some city excitement. Just hoping we can afford to feed ourselves :) Time for some royal sights, late nights, and maybe a little Spice Girls.

As the Irish say, Slainte!

Molly Rose