In late October, four friends and I left on our first big solo adventure. Our plans involved spending 10 days traveling across Ireland and Scotland, where we visited Galway, Dublin, Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. Somewhere in the planning process we developed romantic notions of what backpacking across a foreign country was supposed to be like: hopping trains daily to new and exciting destinations, crashing at bohemian hostels, swapping adventure stories with fellow travels, seeing the sights of the world. Only one of those came true (unless you count the Willy Wallace Youth Hostel and its tartan bedsheets as bohemian). When I recall that trip now, I think of desperately seeking accommodations in Galway and Edinburgh, running through airports, a too-heavy backpack, and U2's Beautiful Day, which had just been released and seemed to be in perpetual rotation on the radio.
It wasn't all bad; it was just a learning experience: something good to try once, but that I hope to never repeat. When I think about the good parts, I think of: beautiful scenery, eating $2000 Russian caviar in a Dublin bar, deep-fried Mars bars, and everything in Scotland.
For now, let's start at the beginning. The Irish countryside outside of Galway:
The Cliffs of Moher:
Trinity College Dublin:
St. James' Gate at the Guinness Factory:
Dublin Writers' Museum: