Galway Girls

As mentioned in my previous post, Jenny and I really wanted to go on a day trip and really didn’t want to have to organize anything, so we splurged and went on a day tour of Ireland. From living in the vastly huge United States, it has been really weird going to Europe where you can travel from coast to coast, pit stops included, and still get back with enough time for a Guinness.

First, the cliffs of Moher:

We stopped for just a few minutes to look at these cool cracked rocks — I really can’t remember what they were called! That’s what I get for doing this so late in the game.

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Galway was our “goal” destination and we had a little tour and did a little shopping, but the Cliffs were the best!!

Finally, we got back to Dublin pretty late, but early enough to find some Guinness at a nice little pub with live music!

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Dublin for a Day

We had a very cold and windy day in Dublin for our walking tour, but we warmed up with some Irish coffee and some cool sights.

We took ourselves on our own walking tour to see the sights that were a little bit further out afterward.

Downtown

Miss. Molly Malone

 

Oscar Wilde

Churches

Potatoes and Beer

Dublin was gorgeous! Just looking at these photos really makes me want to go back and explore even more!

As a small side note- we did not eat or drink at The Temple Bar because everyone says that it’s super overpriced and touristy ūüôā

Where to stay while traveling

Planning accommodations while traveling and not breaking the bank can be difficult and stressful. I had absolutely no idea what to look for or what to avoid when it came to a place to sleep on my trips. Luckily, I learned from experience and am here to help!

I only stayed in hostels and Airbnb’s, no hotels, so I have had quite a few¬†distinct¬†experiences. You really need to figure out what you are most comfortable with and go from there.

I’m going to start off by talking about Hostels. I used hostelworld.com to easily look up and compare hostels. I can do a more detailed post about what to look for in hostels, but the first few things you need to look at are location and price, then room¬†availability. If you’re traveling alone, it’s probably best to spend the extra money for an all women or all men room for safety and peace of mind. Really, it’s more peace of mind. I’ve never had an¬†issue! Hostels are basically hotels (at least the European ones)¬†where you share a room with other people and may have to pay add on fees for things like towels or breakfast. However, they are¬†relatively¬†cheap and are truly not scary!

Airbnb is another option that I would suggest using for longer trips. With Airbnb, you are renting a room or renting an entire apartment or house from a person. There are no company or chain Airbnbs, just generally pleasant people looking to make a few extra bucks and share their city. On Airbnb.com, you can see comments and reviews of people as well as photos of the location. Most of the time, you have access to a kitchen and other general living space. Location, price, and reviews are important on this one as well. Also, for safety, I would suggest using Airbnb with a buddy. The experience at Airbnbs feels a lot more like you are a local. I loved the one we stayed in in PARIS (a loft apartment built in the 1500s).

Those are the two housing options I used and would recommend for traveling while abroad. As always, feel free to comment with questions!

 

How to travel the world while Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is awesome in that you get to pretend to be part of a culture that you are, in fact, not part of. For me, that meant pretending to be European and pretending to be European meant traveling all around Europe during my time as a resident of the European Union.

No one really talks about how to how to actually do the planning a preparation required to be a European¬†jet setter. (note: you’re probably traveling on the cheaps so jet setter may be a bit too posh for what I’m talking about)

This is the first post from a series I’m doing on how exactly to plan weekend trips or spring¬†breaks while abroad, mostly focusing on Europe.

The very first thing to do is make some lists. Yes, lists! They are the best way to figure out where you actually want to go.

1) Destinations List ::¬†I made a list of places and activities I wanted to see and do¬†in Valencia, where my program took place and set that aside. Next, I focused on what cities I wanted to go to in Spain, and then branched out to all of Europe. Do not hold back here! Write down literally every place you want to see, knowing that you won’t get to them all and you will have to come back to Europe in the future.

2) Dates List ::¬†The next thing to think about one you have your lists is how much time you actually have. My program had some weeks without class on Fridays and we also had a spring break. It’s really important to spend time in your new home city as well. I listed out all of my possible travel dates and set that list aside, going back to my mega list of locations.

3) Prioritization :: Are there any places that you would be upset with yourself if you missed? For me, those places were Rome, Paris, and Barcelona. I highlighted those destinations on my list so I knew to look into tickets there first. Then I went through and numbered the remaining places in order of how much I wanted to see them.

4) Talk to friends in your program :: Does anyone else want to travel with you? Are there places you forgot you wanted to go or places that sound cool now that you hadn’t thought much about earlier?

5) Make a Pinterest Board :: for your Adventures Abroad where you can start pinning ideas for sight seeing and cultural tips, packing lists, food guides, everything!

Stay tuned for how to decide when to go where!

Extra Time in Brussels

Brussels day two was quite the relaxing day. We slept in and then hit a couple of the places we hadn’t hit earlier or wanted to go back to. We went back to Manneken Pis and saw Janneken Pis, went shopping for chocolate and found another bench on which we ate another waffle.

Over all, I liked Brussels, especially the waffles, but we certainly didn’t need the 30 hours we spent there to see everything. We made it through the airport security (we had to go ¬†through it twice) and then we ate sandwiches at the airport while waiting for our plane to Dublin to arrive.

Brussels for the Waffles

We had to get up super early to catch our 6:20AM plane to get to Brussels. It took us a long time to get through the airport in Brussels because of what happened to terminal 2. It was a mess. Once Jenny and I figured out the public transportation, we dropped our stuff of at the hostel just in time for the walking tour of Brussels.

Jenny and I found some waffles and sat at a fountain, then went to the cathedral, the market for chocolate, and then had French Fries or Belgian Fries before going back to our hostel.

Berlin, Baby

I’m back in the USA!

I spent the last few weeks traveling through Europe after my program ended, going to Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, Galway, London, and back to Valencia.

I am behind on blogging and have new content I want to share (study abroad tips, baking, and lifestyle content) so I’m going to go through and highlight some of my favorite parts of the trip.

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Berlin was the first leg of our journey, “our” being Anya, Shelby, and Jenny, who came all the way from the US to travel with me.

I was really looking forward to eating my way through Europe, and Berlin did not disappoint. Pictured below are currywurst and snitzel with coleslaw and a bunch of other German food I can’t remember.

We went on a walking tour and saw a whole lot of historical places. Here are some photos.

Memorial for Murdered Jews of Europe

Day 2:

We went to the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island (Germans are very creative with their names) then had lunch by the river, saw one of the last standing bits of the Berlin wall, went to the Topography of Terror Museum (I highly suggest it!) and then ate Berliners!

Day 3

We had apple strudel for breakfast!!! It was so. good. Then Jenny and I found Germany’s version of the tomb of the unknown soldiers, saw the cathedral up close, went to the German history museum (and learned a lot!) then met back up with Shelby and Anya for a delicious hamburger at Peter Pane restaurant. I really wanted BBQ sauce since it’s not a thing in Spain, so I risked trying it. Turns out, it did have honey (i’m allergic) but I ate it anyway because BBQ.

There’s a taste of what I did in Berlin, on to Brussels!