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Reisverslag The final countdown...
18 mei 2011
The final countdown...
Ford of Water & more of Tra;
On the 21st of April, I was to go to Waterford and Tramore. I put a message on Facebook to see if one of my fellow internationals would share my interest in traveling to a new place. As it was during holidays, I expected quite a few to be willing to travel. The opposite, however, was true; Jonathan was the only other person interested, some where already going to another place, but mainly, others were being lame =D. Just kidding. However, it did mean that it was just the two of us. After having casted out the doubts of traveling with just 2 persons, we took the bus to Waterford, which was to take about 2,5 hours. 2,5 hours well spent, as, surprisingly enough, we had not stopped talking for all that time. Then, we arrived at Waterford, where the weather was absolutely amazing, considering it's Ireland (sunny all the time, 15-20 degrees). The city instantly seemed a lot nicer than Limerick, and so it was. One we visited the city centre we noticed how well taken care of it looked. It was properly kept clean, something which is DEFINITELY not happening in our not so fair city. Also, it housed a few gorgeous churches. Freakily enough, me being an athiest, I loved visiting these magnificently built houses of god. The architecture and decorations were amazing of some of the churches. After having seen a small bit of the city centre, we went on to Reginald's tower. This ancient tower was built somewhere in the 1200-1300's and has been enlargened in the 17th century to fit cannons. The tower gave both the history of the building, but perhaps even more interesting, the extensive history of Waterford, which used to be one of the best defended cities in the old days. After this, it was time to discover the city some more. Everything in here seemed so much more beautiful than Limerick. The next point of interest would be the Waterfor Crystal shop. Waterford Crystal is the most beautiful kind of crystal sculptures, glasses and such which one has layed eyes on. Also, it was renowned for its extremely high prices, as Jonathan and I soon found out. There was a lovely sculpture of a bear, which had the price tag of a mere €30.000. I was thinking of stating that I'd like to buy it and start searching for my loose change, but I figured that I'd do nothing but raise a few eyebrows. Amongst the beautiful sculptures were a crystal violin, a crystal harp and the sculpture of an eagle. The entire building looked very chique and modern too. After that, we continued exploring the city centre, came across some nice shops & places and then it was time for lunch. We went to one of the oldest traditional pubs in Ireland, namely Doolan. The food was great and very filling =) The place definitely did have a very authentic & characteristic feel to it. Then, we started searching for a place to rent a bike. Unfortunately, we were unable to find such a place, thus we went to the tourist office to ask about it. Once there, we received the dissappointing news that we had no chance of finding a place to rent a bike at this time of year. The lady working there did however advise us to take the bus to a town called Tramore, stating that it was a really nice looking town and that there were great beaches with it. We decided to take the advice and bought our bus tickets. After 15 minutes, we arrived at tramore. Well, not really, we had to walk for about 10-15 minutes to get there, but it was faster than remaining seated in the bus. What the woman at the tourist office said did not quite do justice to the town of Tramore. It was a gorgeous little town with a beach which houses dunes, a nice place to go sunbathing and some cliffs on both your right and your left. It was absolutely wonderful. Before visiting the beach, however, I had to get myself a towel and a pair of swimming trunks, as the weather was telling me to go and have a refreshing dive into the sea. Thus, in search of a pair of swimming trunks and a towel, Jonathan and I actually got to see quite a bit of the town. Once I had acquired these desired items, I changed, we laid down our stuff on the beach and walked into the water. Jonathan, however, did not get swimming trunks, so he was only getting his legs the touch of salty water. At first, I too was doubtful about actually jumping in, as the water was quite cold, but I overcame my doubts and dived in the salty sea. It was greatly refreshing and I truly enjoyed it. After spending some time in the sea, we noticed that the high tide was coming. How we took notice of this?; our stuff, which was placed quite a bit away from the sea was starting to become part of it. The towel I bought was completely soaked and did not dry up till 2 days later, so the purpose of buying that had been taken away. At least all the electronics (camera, mobile phone) were still working. After walking around at the beach and making some weird jokes ("oh my god there is a rock!!!" in the middle of a conversation), it was about time to return to Waterford. There, we had a small hour remaining, thus we went to Doolan and got ourselves the as of yet unfamiliar beer of Kilkenny. Certainly worth trying. After having finished it, it was about time for another 2,5hour busride, which was again met by hardly any pauses with talking. This trip will probably take the second prize for being the greatest trip within Ireland. (cliffs of moher & burren is a serious contender for it too, Kilkee still claims the first place) Another very successful trip =)
Dublin; zoos, museums & no alcohol allowed, but still having it!
The day after Waterford & Tramore, I was to head out to Dublin. I booked a hostel here and was to meet up with others who were already at dublin for a few days. I booked the at the same place as them. After a long and tiresome 3,5hour busride, I finally arrived. After meeting up with my friends, We entered a shop called "freebird records", a must visit for every fan of literature or music. They deal in secondhand books, cd's, dvd's and Vinyls. I found several nice cd's here and bought a total of 5 cd's for less than €25! It included two Metallica cds, which can sometimes, depending on the shop, already be €15-20 a piece! A great bargain for perfectly working cd's! After that, we walked around a bit, went to the Temple Bar district and got some food at the "Hungry Harry's". Got to love that name, but got to love that burger even more, it was huge! it had the need of a pin in the middle to keep it together. It was absolutely delicious. After having had lunch, we decided on going to the Dublin Zoo. For this, we first had to take a small walk through the Phoenix Park; a nice piece of nature. The zoo was fantastic. There were many exotic animals to be seen, my favourite being the African Wild Dog. Also, there were some rare animals, like snow leopards, scimitar horned oryxes and red pandas. What was quite funny, was that there were a lot of herrons present in the park. Why? Because they are stealing the fish of the penguins & sea lions. It was hilarious to see how the herrons reacted when the zookeepers came; they all landed and started staring at the ones who had the fish. The sight of 10 herrons staring at the same point was a funny sight. After that, it was time to quickly go to the hostel and leave my stuff there. After that, we went to a chinese place, where you were able to get a very filling meal for about €5,- After that, we wished to grab a pint, however, I was here on Good Friday. In Ireland, you are not allowed to buy alcohol on Good Friday. That was a major setback, but we decided not to take this as a setback and just grab a coffee at the Temple Bar. Here, we were entertained by a guitarist, a drunkard who was mimicing to play guitar with a cane and a weird guy who was dancing in such a funny way that I cannot properly describe it. After that, we wondered around town for a bit, discovering Dublin at night time (unfortunately without a possiblility of a club being opened). After that, we went back to the hostel, where a surprise awaited me. My friends had booze! Not nearly enough, but enough to have a (very) small drinking game with (what us Dutch would call "Kingsen") We had a great time in their room, involving loads of fun with the drinking game. After that, it was time for me to get to my room (I was placed in a different room unfortunately). The next day, I decided to go around Dublin by myself for a bit. This involved discovering a part of Dublin I hadn't seen yet (I think I also ended up in one of the less nicer parts of the city, looked a lot more shabby than what I had seen before that) Also, I continued shopping for a bit and bought an awesome shirt and another cd, now at the HMV (Tenacious D - Pick of Destiny, for only €4,-!) After getting myself a drink, I was texted by Inigo and he told me to go to the Archeological museum of dublin. Thus, we visited the museum. Normally, I'm not THAT much into museums, but I have to say that their materials were quite lovely (ancient weaponry, pots, coins, tombs etc.) Also, the information connected to it was at times most interesting. After that, I said goodbye to my friends, went my own way for a bit and did some more exploring around the city. After that, it was about time to return to Limerick. Another lovely trip had.
Norway; That is so boat
This trip could be called "the pique of randomness". Someone (Jonathan) was talking about Norway a bit and suddenly just said "Let's go to Norway!". Thus, another "epic", as he called it, journey would begin. I was soooo hoping to see a moose there. I didn't arrive on the same day as Melissa, Erin, Jonathan and David did, as I received an invitation later on and the flight they took increased heavily in price. Thus, I would arrive one day after them. Quentin & Clèment were to arrive the day after me. I had to say, I was a bit nervous with going all by myself from Limerick to the cabin in Risor, Norway. I had to take the bus at 01.00 at midnight in Limerick to Dublin Airport. Here, my flight would leave at 7.25 to Rygge Airport. From there (10.45) I would take the bus to Oslo, where I would then take the bus to Kristiansand (12.15) till Vinterkjaer, where I would finally get the bus to Risor (15.40) to arrive there at 16.10. Quite a long journey, no? Best part, I did not get any sleep at all! I was just not able to fall asleep =P
-> Day 1:
As I said earlier, I was quite worried about the journey. Fortunately, it all went very smoothly; the plane actually arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule! NS could take an example at this! When traveling from Oslo to Vinterkjaer, I actually met a Norwegian girl whose name was as difficult for me that she told me to call her RJ. Having chatted quite a nice bit, she actually learnt me some Norwegian words and expressions! It also made the trip a lot nicer and made it seem shorter. The views from the bus were truly spectacular at times! Norway's environment has not been matched by any country I have ever visited; there is no single spot to be found without a forest! Also, the fjords are simply magnificent and majestic. For this alone, I would love to visit the country yet again. When I arrived, my American friends who were already there picked me up and showed me to our cabin... which had a full-sized kitchen, a boat trip included, a fishing rod, a bbq, a flatscreen tv and very comfortable beds! All this for a mere €15-20 a night! Jonathan showed me around the environment a bit, like the fjord and the short hiking trail. After having eaten, we went to the fjord, where we enjoyed a bottle of wine whilst having a beautiful sunset. It was pure magic in the making and extremely promising for the rest of the trip. The magical feeling was actually enhanced when it came to my attention that the jellyfish in the water actually gave small blue blinks; an underwater firefly effect if you will. I could not wait for what this place had to offer more!!! You know what would have this day perfect?.. A moose!
-> The remaining days in Risor;
Indeed, the days which followed were amazing as well! I will shortly list all the things that've gone on; We've done quite a long hike, walking around the beach at the fjord, me & david actually jumped into the icy cold fjord and swam in it (it was frozen solid 3 weeks ago), did quite a bit of fishing where I hadn't caught anything UNTIL the very last day (I seriously caught a pair of underwear the first day!!! xD), made dinner out of the fish I caught myself (I never cut open a fish before, it was gruesome, but very interesting to see its organs), had the greatest boattrip ever with which we went to an unihabited island from which you could see the town (we actually got stuck for a minute too, haha), went into town where we bought amazing icecream, had a BBQ (MEAT!!!), spent every evening by the fjord admiring the fantastic view, watched avatar at midnight, drank some wine on our doorstep (where I completely bursted into laughing for about 5 minutes straight) and had one of the best times of my life! This trip definitely beats anything that Ireland could have possibly offered us! As we constantly said "It was so boat!" (insider joke) The only thing missing to make this perfect trip even more perfect... a moose!
-> Oslo & the return;
So, the final day had arrived in our cabin and it was time for the journey back to Oslo. After a long journey, accompanied yet again by astonishing views, we arrived. First, we decided to go to the Opera house; not to visit the opera, but the building complex itself is great and you can walk on the building itself. It also gives you a rather nice view of the Oslofjord. After that, we walked through the city centre (most shops were closed, Sunday) to get to the Oslo palace. A truly magnificent place, with a nice small park attached to it. After that, it was time for dinner. We went to a McDonalds, as we hoped that here we'd be able to find a cheaper deal, as Oslo is the most expensive city in the world. Even there, we were astonished; a Big Tasty menu was about €20,-! The cheap alternative was buying loose cheeseburgers, as these were a mere 10 Kronen (€1,50). I had 4 of them in order to be filled. After that, we went to another, significantly larger park which was also home to a statue park section. All of those statues were nude ones. There were quite a few funny pictures to be taken with them though! (see my profile picture =D) After staying here for an hour or two we decided on going back to a McDonalds to go to the toilet for free and to get some warm water to make coffee with. We stayed there too for about one or two hours, chilling, talking and I taught Erin & Melissa some Dutch! It was great! By the time we left it was 23.00. Thus, it was time for discovering Oslo at night! We walked around the city for quite a lot and saw great places! Watching over the fjord at this time was truly amazing! Here, I earned the title of "Space Heater", as Melissa was really called and hung onto me for warmth (since I don't really get cold) Finally, around 2.10 we decided on going to the bus station to wait there till the 4.00 bus. Here, we rested a bit. When I was trying to sleep, I was kept awake by an overenergetic Jonathan however, what really did annoy me! Oh well, I can laugh about it now =) And then... during the busride came the magic moment I was hoping for... I SAW A MOOSE!!! It was walking on the middle of a road! around 4.40 we arrived at Rygge airport, were we slept for a bit before being able to board our plane back to Dublin. It was an amazing holiday. I could've stayed in Norway for several more days, it was so incredible! Nothing in Ireland will ever come near to it... By far the best trip I've had!
On the 4th of May, one of my best friends from the Netherlands came over! Inge was to stay till the 11th. It was in the middle of the exam week, so there were a few times in which she had to take care for herself a bit. Those times, she went to Dublin and went exploring Limerick.
-> Cork & Blarney Castle take II
Inge and I had talked about places to visit (which I knew were great because I had been there already) and chose Killarney, Cork & Kilkee to do as trips together and that she would go to Dublin on her own. Kilkee was unfortunately not pushed through. The first trip was to be Cork & the Blarney Castle. We didn't spend too much time in Cork; mainly just to buy some food and when we returned from Blarney we went into the HMV and McDonalds. Bunratty was, as always, beautiful, but now it was even prettier than last time I had been there. Everything was blooming, even the large ferns in the fern forest area! (these ferns can be several meters high) The rock garden also looked a lot prettier with flowers flourishing amongst it. Showing Inge the caves around the place was quite nice too! And let's not forget the castle itself! It's too bad Inge did not dare kiss the Blarney stone. I did though and with that had kissed it for the second time. The time here was absolutely great!
-> Killarney & the park take II
Funnily enough, this trip was also better than the previous time. This definitely had to do with the fact that we rented bikes, but also due to the fact that, just like at Blarney, everything was starting to bloom. We did not stick to the path intended for bikes and went off-roading. This was one of the best things we could have done, the nature amongst the hiking trails were simply magnificent! I have made so many tremendous pictures whilst staying along this path. Also, we visited some points of view. After quite a bit of cycling around, we found a place where we could eat something. Here, I got a hold of the best cheesecake I have ever had! It was a banana & caramel cheesecake and it was as if I was eating a piece of heaven on a plate... Truly delicious! After that, we cycled towards the Torc waterfall. It was such an amazing, but slightly weird place. Why weird?; because, although the flowers & trees were definitely Irish, the place had the look of a tropical forest! It was so lush and fertile looking! It was a sight to behold. The weather was quite bad, unfortunately, on this day, but that could not stop us! We still had a great time at the park. After that, we shopped around a bit in Killarney before finally going back to Limerick.
-> Poker & Twente's cup
On the 8th of May, Fc Twente was to play the Dutch Cup final against Ajax. Inge and I were listening to the broadcast of it. At the same time, we were playing poker, accompanied by some good old Grolsch beer! Inge was in favour of Ajax, whereas I favoured Twente. It was an absorbing match, which also influenced our poker game at times. Not that it mattered, it was still nice to get in touch with football by listening to a radio, rather than watching it on tv. In the 116th minute (extended time), it became 3-2 for Fc Twente, which would also be the final score. Twente had won the cup and I had a great day following the events.
-> pubs, burritos & a concert
What else I showed Inge around a bit were the pubs in Limerick. We only visited two, however. Naturally, Dolan's had to be one of them as it is my favourite and it houses great traditional Irish music. At the other one, Foleys, Jonathan was going to give a small concert. That was absolutely great too! The best thing, however, was the final burrito night! Again, the burritos were absolutely amazing and again, a small jam session arose out of the blue. It was such great craic! After the burritos, we went on with watching Monty Python's "And now for something completely different", which I had not finished watching as I was too tired to follow it at the end. It was such a great time! I was really glad Inge decided to come, we had tons of fun and it truly reminded me of why I love Ireland so much.
Adare & the shop of awesomeness
Last Wednesday, a couple of us were supposed to go to the small village of Adare, which is not too far from Limerick. There was quite a change of plan in the last minute, however, as it appeared that it'd be only Erin and me going there. In the end, we had enough fun for everyone who bailed. The only thing which was a real bummer, is that both Erin and I forgot our cameras! No problem though, the memories will stick with me forever and always. We first walked around a small park, which seemed a lot bigger from the outside than it actually was on the inside. Then, we went on to the heritage centre, where we bought quite some stuff (gifts & reminders for ourselves). I bought an Irish cross here, because I truly find them to be such beautiful structures! When I die, I want to have an Irish Cross as a tombstone! Then, I got myself some food at a Centra, which I enjoyed at the park. Here, I was able to make a crow eat out of my fingertips! After that, we went to the most awesome shop that I had ever seen! There is nothing like it in the Netherlands. It reminded me of those kinds of shops which you always see in christmas movies, with lots of childrens toys, but also some interesting things for adults (they had tons of veriaties of scented candles) We visited this shop two times and the seconds time, we tried making bubbles which were blown by a machine stay airborne. Childish, yes, but insanely fun! After the shop, we walked around Adare, exploring it a bit more. We came across a nice old abbey. The church, which seemed quite small but was large on the inside, was not very decorated, but very full of character nonetheless. It was quite a charming place. After this, we went back to the heritage center, did a bit more shopping, explored a bit more (found a ball at a certain point and started passing it) and then finally headed back to Limerick. It was another great day and the last new place I would visit in Ireland...
Yup... it was time for exams. All done now. The Abnormal Psychology exam was quite difficult, but I think I passed nonetheless. The Social Psychology one was insignificant; even with obtaining 0% would I manage to pass. The results are still not in, but I'm not too worried about them. I'm just glad that's over with... Even though it did mark the end of my Irish experience creeping very close...
Solo round to Kilkee
Since me & Inge did not get to go to Kilkee, I decided to go on my own. Kilkee is definitely the place in Ireland where I had the most fun. There was so much to explore amongst the beautiful cliffs and so much climbing to be done around there too! That all made me go and make it my final trip in Ireland... It was a trip filled with a lot of climbing, having great fun, a lot of nostalgic feelings and making me miss everyone who had left Ireland... I also explored places of the cliffs which I didn't get a chance of seeing last time. There were absolutely gorgeous parts of the cliffs which I had not seen yet! There was just one major downpart to the trip... my camera died; I dropped it and it fell quite a long distance. At least all my pictures were still fine =) Even that could not break down the great time I had here on my own. Thus, my final trip in Ireland had ended... I cannot imagine that I will be home later today already...
And then.. it was time to talk about the most painful part of leaving... the goodbyes... I wish We all had more time here, more time to have fun with the entire group... I have made such wonderful friends here, some friendships which I think will last forever. Two of the internationals actually wrote me the most touching, sweetest letters ever, reflecting of our time together in Ireland... After having read that, I could not help but emotionally breaking down completely... I too, in turn had written letters for them. I also have a "family" here now. This started as a joke, but now it seems more than just a joke... They really do feel like my family... Today, I had my last pints in Dolan's with the very few international students who were still remaining... I feel extremely sad about leaving. The building I lived in for the past 4 months, building 29, was filled with international students, I'm the only one left now... I guess that means it's about time to go back to the Netherlands as well, but I would rather be here with my amazing new friends I've made here and dfeinitely with my family!!! I already miss each and everyone of the people I met here!!!
This will be my final blog from Ireland... and having written this was nice, but this time a bit painful too, knowing that the end of an era has just arrived... It is not farewell, however... it is merely "see you later" =)
18 mei 2011 03:02 | Door: Priscilla
Zo... dat was weer een lang (en mooi) verhaal om te lezen. Ben erg jaloers op al die tripjes... want dat doen ze hier dan weer niet (saaie studenten pfff :P). Haha ik wil zeker een keer met je mee naar Noorwegen! XD Dus als je toch besluit om er te gaan wonen kom ik je in ieder geval opzoeken haha :P
Hele fijne vlucht later today ;) en ik zie je over 3 weken weer want we gaan zeker bijkletsen en foto's kijken bij terugkomst! :)
18 mei 2011 05:41 | Door: marina
nice blog, yet again. But this familie here, in the Netherlands, are glad to have you back today. Hope you have a nice flight back. See you later!!!
18 mei 2011 10:50 | Door: carola
goede reis! :D herinneringen en ervaringen zullen altijd bij je blijven, verdwijnen niet. het is mooi dat je er positief op terug kan kijken en dat je het gaat missen is een goed teken :)
(ajax won de cup, niet twente!!! :P helemaal niets in.... whaha grapje hoor)
19 mei 2011 13:06 | Door: Roy Slijkhuis
@ Carola; Pssst Carola... Twente won de cup wel (Kvnb-beker), maar de titel niet ;) ik zal idd de herinneringen nooit vergeten... wat een tijd!
@Priscilla; Jaa, die tripjes waren gegarandeerd het leukste deel van de hele Ierland ervaring! En ja, wonen in Noorwegen klinkt zwaar vet =D Cannot wait for you to come back home!