Last time I checked, I was enjoying my spring break and then one day I blinked and suddenly I’m back in Salzburg going to class. What the heck happened?! But seriously though, spring break flew by faster than I could have imagined and while the days were flying by, I also managed to not post any blogs oops. This is my attempt at catching up. Again, I am a failure and am too lazy to insert pictures but this time they aren’t even on Facebook because I have yet to edit them (with the exception of Rome and Barcelona). Did I mention that I’m struggling to recover from my spring break high? Sigh.
Where did I leave off? Beginning of Barcelona, yes? Barcelona was amazing! I truly loved the city. The metro was easy to navigate, the people were generally friendly, the sights were beautiful…what else could I ask for? We saw all the Gaudi architecture but most of them had a pretty hefty admission fee so we just snapped pictures from the outside and moved along. Definitely the most breathtaking thing we visited was Park Güell. It is the park located high on a hill overlooking the city and was so cool! Lots of unique arches and winding pathways. I could have spent hours wandering along the pathways. On our last day, we went on a free walking tour through the Gothic quarter of the old city and learned a lot. It was nice to have some substance and stories behind the buildings – Barcelona has a very complex, rich history that was fascinating to learn about.
After Barcelona we traveled on to Palma de Mallorca. Let me tell you about my airport horror story, which is actually pretty funny now but was infuriating at the time. We flew to all of our destinations using RyanAir, the budget airline in Europe. I knew that RyanAir had strict baggage requirements but didn’t realize how strict until attempting to board the plane. As you go through the doors to the jetway to board the plane, a RyanAir worker stands next to a small metal crate. If your bag looks too big, you must stop and prove to them that your bag fits inside the metal crate. Mine was a close call so the lady stopped me and asked me to insert my bag into the crate. I tried, and it didn’t quite fit. I definitely could have shoved it in there to make it pass but she told me it didn’t fit and pulled it out. I asked, “Ok…so what do I do with it?” and was informed that I was supposed to go all the way back across the airport and check my bag and make it back to the gate before the plane left. There was literally no way that was possible. Infuriated, I grabbed my bag and wheeled it over to the chairs where I promptly started throwing things away (all of my liquids and my towel) and putting on clothes. By the time I had on enough layers for my bag to fit into her stupid metal crate, I was wearing two pairs of pants, a tank top, two shirts, a cardigan, a blazer, a rain jacket, and a winter coat. She finally let me onto the plane but I am still struggling to understand why my extra pair of pants could only board the plane if they were on me. You see these clothes going on the plane one way or another, what’s the difference? Either way, I was dripping sweat by the time I made it to my seat. RyanAir: 1, Maggie: 0.
Palma looked beautiful when we arrived: sunny, clear blue waters, sandy beaches. Following the directions the hostel had e-mailed, we hopped on a bus and headed towards our hostel. We rode, and rode, and rode…until finally 45 minutes later, we arrived at our hostel which turned out to be MILES from the city. The area our hostel was in wasn’t sketchy by any means but was just seedy. Picture a crappy Florida beach town from the 90’s that has had absolutely no improvements and hasn’t seen a swimsuit-clad body under the age of 60 since 2003. Lovely. But sitting on the beach was nice and we spent some time browsing the odd selection of knick knacks that the souvenir shops had to offer. If nothing else, it was a nice place to take a break and relax. We were only there for 2 full days before we hopped on a plane to Dublin. Once in Dublin, we trained it to Limerick.
I’ve gotta say, Limerick wasn’t my favorite. To be fair, we arrived on Easter Sunday, all the shops naturally took Monday as a holiday, and we left on Tuesday; maybe we didn’t give it enough of a chance. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like the kind of town I would have enjoyed which is interesting because all of my study abroad paperwork said Limerick, Ireland before I frantically crossed it out and subbed Salzburg, Austria a day before turning it in. Talk about last minute decisions. We didn’t do much in Limerick – we bought a couple of 5 euro movies and spent a lot of time laying in our bed watching them on my laptop. It was bitterly cold and rainy for 2 of our days there so we were ok with our decision. Maybe I’ll try Limerick again sometime.
After Limerick, we took a train to Galway. Galway is my kind of city! It was small enough to navigate easily on foot but bustling and busy enough to feel energetic and alive. Amazing! The people were very nice and the food was awesome! Bangers and mash, anyone?! We spent most of our time walking by the seaside taking in the pretty views. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see the cliffs of Moher – I assumed it was a short trip that could be made in a few hours but we learned that it was actually an all-day tour leaving at 9:00 and returning at 5:00. By that point, it was too late. Oops. I still loved the city! I bought a claddagh ring which I am already very attached to. A claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring that has two hands holding a heart with a crown on top. It means, “love and friendship reign.” It was also tempting to buy some kind of Irish wool scarf or sweater but as we all know, there was no room in my suitcase.
Our last stop was Dublin. Dublin ties with Galway for my favorite city visited to date. Such a cool place! While walking around on our first day, Julia and I were discussing how we had no idea what any of the monuments were and how we wished we could have a tour. Right about that time, we stumbled across one of the typical touristy double-decker tour buses. The guy told us that it was 16 euro for a two day pass and that was enough for us! We saw a few cool parks, Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse and a few other Dublin sites. And of course we had to hit up the pub scene at night! Our hostel was a block down from Temple Bar (the bar district) so we were right in the middle of the action. On our last night we joined a pub crawl that went to 4 pubs/bars and a nightclub. So worth it! We met some really interesting people on our pub crawl and got to see some pubs that we probably would not have found otherwise! Plus the nightclub that we went to was called The Kitchen which we all thought was hilarious but possibly our judgement was impaired? 🙂
By the last day, I was ready to be back in Salzburg. Seeing the fortress atop the mountain was such a great feeling! I might not have a clue what anybody is saying but I am so happy to have chosen it. Visiting so many cities makes me thankful for my own little corner of the world! I think maybe I’ll take a weekend off from traveling and just enjoy what Salzburg has to offer 🙂