The Only Place Rain is Acceptable

Back on an uncomfortable plane with a weekend full of clothes, beauty products, shoes stuffed in my North Face backpack, this time Destination: London, England, UK.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetAfter the short one hour flight, I had arrived in a new country with a city that never sleeps, uses a different currency, and has a public transit system that is taken to a whole new level. I had all my touristy activities planned (hop on/ hop off tour, London Eye, Thames River Cruise, etc..) I had once again booked my stay through Airbnb, staying right outside of London in the Buckhurst area. Because I was there for 2 short days (definitely stay longer than 2 days, I’ll explain further down) my exploring started as soon as I dropped my bags off at the flat.

I purchased an Oyster Card, definitely a must in London if you’re planning on using public transportation. Using “The Tube” wasn’t that hard, thanks to Miss Laura telling me to download the tube app.

I arrived in the city, walked up a flight of stairs, and witnessed what I consider pure craziness. The amount of people, double-decker buses, shops, etc. are overwhelming at first glimpse. (You can sorta compare it to NYC)

My first activity I had planned was the hop on/hop off bus ride to get a feel of the city and somewhat understand the areas. It had started misting rain but that didn’t stop me from sitting on the top level of the bus. The sightseeing had begun only to be stuck in traffic for 45 minutes due to a socialist protest going on. After going maybe 500 meters in an hour, I hopped off. (Thankfully I had purchased a 2-day pass)

Here is why you don’t want to go to London for only 48 hours.

1. The city is HUGE!!

2. You never know what the weather will really be like (BBC isn’t always right)

3. You also never know when a protest or event will shut down streets.

4. 48 hours in London, trying to complete a mile long list of to-dos is impossible (with sleep).

The rain or protest wasn’t stopping me. I walked to The London Eye, one of the top things to experience in London. The ride is 30 minutes long, with around 20 other people in the pod. The views are breath taking, you can see all of Westminster and London City.

IMG_5267Finally what I had been waiting for all day, seeing “Wicked, The Musical”. The Apollo Victoria Theater was spectacular and so were my seats. 🙂 The performance/music/popcorn was amazing. After the show, I went to the tube to head back to Buckhurst… My goodness the amount of people getting on at 11:30 at night was ridiculous. I was compacted, hugging my purse like a sardine into one section of the tube.

The next day was Father’s Day/Sunday/ my last day in London. Thankfully the weather was nice! I started by going to church at Hillsong Central London, I got back on the hop on/ hop off bus and enjoyed seeing The Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and many more sights. I took the Thames River cruise that gave you a different view of London. Finally I hopped on the tube and went to an area of London called Shoreditch.

The area of Shoreditch was recommended to explore by the lady I was staying with. Shoreditch in one word, artsy. The area was filled with creativity, local artist/designers/markets/coffee shops, and a really cool place called “Cereal Killer Cafe” you can satisfy your craving in all forms, from basic cereal and milk to cereal cocktail drinks. You walk around hearing aspiring musicians play, see colorful graffiti on all the brick walls, and occasionally get asked begged to come into ethnic restaurants.


Though my time is London was extremely short, I got most of what I wanted to do done. Everything was totally rushed but it is intriguing experiencing a new country and adding a new stamp to your passport 😉

And seriously the only place rain is totally normal, prepared for by every English, and acceptable is London.

It Can’t Be Almost Over

With the start of week thre, it’s also the final week we are in Cork. So for the 4 week program, we are required to read three books, create a presentation of what we plan to write our papers about, and write a paper due after we arrive home. When completing these simple tasks we receive 6 honors credits for school. Thankfully.. Monday we had a full day to work on our presentations that we were presenting on Thursday and Friday. For my paper/presentation I finally decided to compare whisk(e)y. There are many differences between Irish, Scottish, and American whisk(e)y. I will be comparing the top sellers of each country. I am doing research on advertising strategies of each brand, cost to make, and processes of making the whisk(e)y. Being a business major, this allows me to use what I’m learning during the program and what I’ve learned in prior marketing and finance classes to complete the research paper.












The Ring of Kerry was this week’s day trip. During this trip we made multiple stops around County Kerry. Our first stop was called “Ladies View” this view was named in 1861 when Queen Victoria and her ladies-in-waiting visited the spot. After a 20ish minute drive we arrived at the beautiful falls of Killarney National Park, we were able to climb the falls, take photos, and enjoy the presence of nature. Back to the bus, driven by Patty, a fellow who had worked for the UN, had 5 seconds of stardom in the movie The Wind That Shakes the Barley, and was probably the
most terrible confident bus driver. We arrived at our next destination, Muckross home and gardens. This was the first national park in The Republic of Ireland. The walking trails, gardens, and lake views are spectacular. We finished our day here, eating lunch, walking the trails, and touring the 65 room home.











As I said in the beginning, this was our final week in Cork. This city had become our home away from home, from waking up and going to Mardyke Fitness Centre to workout, walking to Mango in the morning before class to get a coffee and cherry scone, getting groceries at Centra, Lidl, or Tesco, to walking into city centre and knowing The Liberty Grille was the best restaurant in Cork. We all connected with many locals and I know I will stay in contact with some. I felt as though I was no longer a tourist but more like a semi-local 🙂 Saturday we would be traveling to Trinity College in Dublin to finish our last week of the program. For me, there was mixed emotions leaving Cork. I was sad to leave but also ready to see new places. I also did not want to pack! (I waited until 4am Saturday morning to pack for Dublin)


Do you know where The Titanic’s last stop was?

This week we really focused on the museums in Cork, The Titanic, and art. We typically go to class during the morning and head to a museum as a class during the afternoon.

My favorite museum was the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. This was a very eclectic art gallery with hands on activities all around.

The first thing you see is the largest “knitting map” I’ve ever seen. This piece was created by many people from all over Ireland.IMG_1395

As you walk around and see more, you come across a room with marker all over the chairs & table. Here you can write/draw all over. You see names and images created from people all over the world.

The museum is full of textiles and patterns that exhilarate all of your senses (well except for taste 😜)

Lastly, there is a chalkboard with a single question, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” That question is answered very easily by myself. I see myself traveling the globe, experiencing different cultures, and learning languages. The world is my playground and I want to explore every square inch. I want my brain overflowing with knowledge from different countries.


Also this week we took a day trip to a very colorful city with an unknown history called Cobh. The city is home to colorful home, fishing boats, St. Colman’s Cathedral, and the last stop of Titanic before sinking.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetAs a class we went to the Titanic experience, we were given a boarding tickets of real Irish passengers that boarded Titanic. I was Kate Connolly, a twenty-three year old third class passenger. You go on a journey of what life was like on the ship. At the end of the journey you see if you survived the sinking. I was rescued by lifeboat 13 and survived the sinking.

During the afternoon, we were able to explore the city. Ashley and I walked around finding the Titanic Memorial Gardens, we explored St. Colman’s cathedral, and enjoyed Raspberry sorbet from a local candy shop.Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetWhat a busy week of study abroad, actually just about every week is busy. This weekend I’m hopping on a plane traveling somewhere, check out my next post to see where I traveled and my experience! 🙂

Here’s a hint, it’s rainy 😜

What’s the Rat Pack?

So I haven’t posted much but I would like to catch you up on my 1st weekend trip.
My first week flew by and I headed to Edinburgh, Scotland. In the three days I was there I couldn’t believe how much I had gotten accomplished! After arriving late Thursday evening and meeting Sue, the lady we stayed with (our first airbnb experience), my travel buddy and I found a great fish & chips restaurant, then hit the hay.


































Friday: June 12, 2015

•We woke up fairly early to go hike Arthur’s Seat {the #1 thing to do on trip advisor in Scotland😊}

Just an FYI, it’s steep, bring water, sunscreen, and tennis shoes!

•Next we walked to The National Museum of Scotland, by far one of the largest museums I’ve been in (also it’s FREE) From space to animals this place has it all.

•We ate lunch at The World Famous Frankenstein Pub 1818, first off the food is to die for, and secondly, there is silent movies and a robot monster that does a little dance every 30ish minutes.

•After lunch we came across these underground tours, being the curious tourist that I am, I wanted to check it out. Ashley and I did the Ghostly Underground Catacomb tour of Scotland, we found out about the Burke and Hare murders

  • Burke and Hare were two men who in the beginning sold corpses to Dr. Robert Knox, then got carried away with the money and began killing people so they could sell those corpse for money.

We also found out Scotland basically had an underground city that is now supposedly “haunted”.

•Finally we finished the long day window shopping and eating dinner at Amarone, an amazing Italian “ristorante” on the Royal Mile.

Saturday: June 13, 2015

•Just like the day before, we woke up early and headed out, on this day is was half the temperature as the day before (it went 27 C to 15 C) and slightly misty. Our first stop was a place I had found on Pinterest called “Mary’s Milk Bar” they are world famous for their frozen hot chocolate. I sat inside the vintage pink & white striped shoppe and enjoyed the dark chocolate with sea salt hot chocolate with a big peanut & Carmel gelato. ({delizioso} that’s Italian for delicious)

   •Our next stop was the Edinburgh Castle, this stone wall castle looks over all of Edinburgh. We took a short tour and truly didn’t spend much time there due to the weather and loads of people. But I was able to snap a few photos and see The Crown Jewels.

•After leaving the castle we came across The Scottish Whisky Experience, we found out how whisky was made, tried whisky, and say the largest collection of whisky in the world.

  • Fun fact: Scottish spell their whisky without the “e”

•Directly across was Camera Obscura, a 6 story illusion museum. Each level has a different theme and you’re able to experience them all by using all of your senses. It’s very hands on and fun just to play like a child again! The best part is on the rooftop, you see breath taking views as well as close up views with large binoculars.

• Walking around the city we passed “The Elephant House” for any Harry Potter fan, this is the location J.K. Rowling enjoyed coffee/cake while writing Harry Potter.

•We finished the afternoon enjoying Patisserie Valerie Selva (Chocolate sponge layers filled with whipped cream, zabaglione custard and fresh fruits) and Strawberry Gateau (Layers of vanilla sponge filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries)

•Deciding to go back to Sue’s we were walking to the public transport bus and saw a live music pub called “Rat Pack” we debated going in, but it was our last night in Scotland so we decided to go. The fellow was singing Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett.. The sound was beautiful. A few hours later, ears ringing, we were tired and ready to go back to Sue’s.
Sunday: June 14, 2015

•This morning we had a fairly early flight back to Dublin, Sue drove us to the airport and we were Ireland bound. Ashley and I had arrived back in Dublin around 9:15 thinking we had until 10:30 to catch our GoBe bus back to Cork. We slowly made our way to get breakfast, while I had gotten my bagel and Ashley was getting a full Irish breakfast, I doubled checked our bus time…. The bus was coming at 10:00am it was 9:50am!😖I yelled at Ashley from across the airport, she hurried over with her food and started shoving her food in ziplock bags. We ran through the terminal down the escalator and through all the different bus stops arriving at ours just before the bus was taking off (we made it)

This concluded my first weekend of traveling through Europe. Scotland treated me very well, I couldn’t have asked for a better first Airbnb experience, itinerary of things to do, and first experience using public transport (Edinburgh has a wonderful app for public transit called Transport for Edinburgh I recommend anyone traveling to Edinburgh download the app, it was a lifesaver)

Arriving in Cork

  Leaving the airportAs of today, I have been in Ireland for 11 days. From the Thursday I arrived it has been a nonstop journey.

Here is just a glimpse of what my days have consisted of.

  • Saturday, June 8th
    • Hop on/Hop off tour of the city of Cork
      hop on hop off tour
      During the Hop on/Hop off tour of Cork
  • Sunday, June 7th
    • Went on a Paddy Wagon tour to the Cliffs of Moher (one of the tops tourist places in Ireland)
      Cliff of Moher
      Sitting on the edge of the world 🙂 Cliffs of Moher
  • Monday, June 8th
    • First day of Irish History Lectures
    • Visit St. Finn Barre Cathedral and The Elizabeth Fort
    • Movie night with the class, “Waking Ned Devine”
  • Tuesday, June 9th
    • Lectures during the morning and afternoon (all day)
  • Wednesday, June 10th
    • Daytrip #1
      • Kissed The Blarney Stone and enjoyed the nature of the park
      • Ran in to Madison’s Momma 🙂
      •  Walked the Pier at Kinsale (Probably my favorite Irish City I’ve been to)
      • Toured & Explored the beauty of Charles Fort
        charles fort
        At the top of Charles Fort
      • Celebrated Jacob’s birthday at Chamber’s (Free cake & Sparking Grape Juice)
  • Thursday, June 11th
    • More lectures (I’m going to tell you every time I’m in class, just so you think I’m actually learning, in which I am… It’s just a lot more fun!! :P)
    • Travel to Edinburgh, Scotland for the weekend

The first week, as you can see, there is barely any time for sleep!