Finals week is pretty drawn out here in Ireland. It is actually three weeks long. While I spent a good majority of that time studying, I took a pretty nice study break one day and road tripped around western Ireland with a few pals of mine! It was the best day trip I have ever gone on! We drove through a ton of little towns and got to see a part of Ireland that many tourists don’t get to see. We stopped in a small town on the coast called Lahinch, where we spent a couple hours surfing.
The weather was uncharacteristically nice, so it made for a perfect day for surfing! We made a quick stop at the Cliffs of Moher and made our way home. The day was filled with throwback music, warm weather, and great company!
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A beauty about being in France is that places to travel are so close, and it is reasonably inexpensive. My first solo voyage was using a Blablah Car. This similar to our Uber. It is like a really cheap taxi that you can use for longer trips. They call it a Blablah Car because people tend to ride in the cars and talk a lot. This method is by far the cheapest way to go. I only used this method twice to travel and at least one time was very pleasurable. This was my first time using it and I took a short trip from Lyon to Chambéry. In the car with me was the driver and two other people who had reserved a seat. They were all native French speakers, so I was a little terrified but ready to really put my French to the test. As we rode in the car I listened intently to understand the conversation. I was able to understand that our driver was a student studying at a university in Chambéry, the male in the passenger seat was a cook at a restaurant, and the girl sitting next to me was spending the summer traveling Europe. When they turned to me and spoke in English, they were quite surprised how much I was able to understand. I really wanted to give myself a pat on the back! The car ride was just 6€! To get back to Lyon after my weekend in Chambéry I took the train. It was just 19€. This is a steal for an almost 2 hour train ride. Not to mention the view was absolutely stunning.
The mountains views from Chambéry were amazing! In Kansas City, the mountains are a day’s drive and surely will cost you much more than I spent to reach.
Another personal trip I took was with a group of girls to Montpelier to celebrate my birthday. I heard the city was beautiful and close to the beach….and seeing the beaches of the Mediterranean was a must for me. We reserved our train tickets which was about 50€ and a BlahBlaCar back for the 4 of us at 19€ per person. Again the train was a beautiful trip and scenery was amazing. Sadly this trip on the BlahblaCar was not so pleasant. Our driver was a peculiar man who showed up very late and he spoke no English. The no English was not a problem so much, after all we spoke French. But when we tried to speak to him in French, he pretended to not understand what we were saying. The ride back should have been just under 3 hours, but due to traffic took over four. This made for a very awkward ride back.
Montpelier was the most beautiful little city I saw in France. The city center was pedestrian only, and we found the best boutiques there. Unbeknownst to us, on the day of our arrival there was a large festival because the city was inaugurating a new line to their tram system that day. So the city was very lively and the was a party in a square just a short walk from the hotel.
On the day we wanted to see the beach…we did not all make it to the beach. At the hotel, we asked the concierge how to get there. In French she told us to take metro line 4 to a certain stop then take bus 31 to the beach. Simple enough right. Well we took metro line 4, which was a 35 minute ride to the bus stop. Once we arrived at the bus stop we did not see bus 31 on the map. My friend who is fluent in French thought she had heard the concierge say bus 32. This was on the map. So we took Bus 32. This bus ride took another 30 minutes, through another petite village and along the way, we never really saw water. Once we arrived to the stop for the beach, the driver told us, again in French, to cross the street and go to this small building to get a ticket to rent a bicycle that we would use to go to the beach. He then told us to come back to that stop to return to the city. As he drove away, we were all very confused of where the beach was and why the heck we needed to take a bike to reach it!
When we went to speak to the people at the little hut, they explained that it was a 15 minute walk and short bike ride to access the beach. But we would take the trail, cross a foot bridge, follow a path of a small train and then reach the bus!! We were confused and over it, but determined after all of this to see the beach. Even though it had been about 12 years since I rode a bike, I decided to give it a go. So three of us took the bikes and one decided to walk. 15 minutes later, we were not seeing any water! It turned out to be a 3-4 km bike ride one direction to get to the beach. In this time we had to pass a lagoon with water black and bubbly as tar that smelled radioactive. This was not the short trip we were promised. Once we arrived to the beach, without the friend who was walking, the beach was terrible! It was covered with rocks and not nearly what we were expecting.
We we amazed that the hotel concierge had pointed us there and decided not to stay. After alerting our friend who was walking, we decided to head back to the bus stop and give back the bikes! On the way back, we were also going into the wind, further adding to our frustrations. 3 hours later, when we finally got back to the hotel, our concierge asked us how the beach was. I was borderline livid when explaining the experience to her but she was genuinely confused of why we took a bike because the bus should of taken us directly to the beach. After a bit of conversation we realized she told us Bus 131, I had heard 31, and my friend heard 32. These were definitely, things lost in translation.
The next day we decided to splurge and just hire a taxi to take us to and from the beach. That was the best decision ever!