Wednesday, August 15, 2007

3 Day Weekend

In the weekend in the middle of the conference I took a bus halfway across Ireland to visit a Japanese friend of mine living in Galway. Dublin hadn't exactly felt Irish, particularly as everyone I met was from overseas, but Galway had a very Irish feel. Full of pubs and drunk people. Also the nice small lanes, churches, and country side, but mainly the pubs, which strangely all close at about 1 am.

From Galway we took a day trip out to the Aran Islands, which despite Ireland's almost perpetually damp and unappealing weather, have to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Fields divided by ancient stone walls, castles thousands of years old, and even a white sand beach. But best of all, it actually stopped raining for most of the afternoon and turned into quite a pleasant day.

We hired bikes as it was about 10kms to the main castle we wanted to visit, and there were a lot of things along the way that buses wouldn't have stopped at. Explored a couple of nice castles along the way and one very nice ruined church. Check my brand new mechanical pocket watch that I had brought in Japan, and seeing we had time, even stopped for a bit at the beach.

Finally got to the castle, and had a nice relaxing lunch lying in the sun on the side of a 100m cliff plunging into the Atlantic. This time checked the time on my cell phone, and was somewhat shocked. Turns out I had forgotten to wind my watch that morning, and it was actually about an hour later than I had thought. The next 30 minutes of my life involved a quick trip down a hill and an energetic bike ride back to the boat that was about to leave. Got there 4 minutes before it set sail.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Europe Trip

Tomorrow I am leaving Japan, and going to Europe. Ill be there for nearly 4 weeks and will be visiting Dublin, Gdansk, Malmo and Madrid. So you don't have to google it, ill be visiting Ireland, Poland, Sweden and Spain. Its sort of an educational thing visiting a summer school in Dublin, with a holiday tacked on the end, that I hastily arranged about 3 weeks ago.

The choice of places to visit was based largely on a night spent using a wonderful web page aggregator of information on European budget airlines. The trip is already costing me far too much and I couldn't really afford to visit specific places, so my apologises to all those people I would otherwise have come to visit. As it is though, I got flights from Dublin to Gdansk, Gdansk to Malmo, Malmo to Madrid and Madrid to Dublin, for about 100euro. That's less than the 137euro I'm paying to rent a room in a flat in Dublin for 10 days... The other days will be spent on couches and in hostels.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do in any of the places, but they all of nice churches and I've heard rumours of a castle or two, so I'm sure ill find ways to spend the time. Its going to be quite bad for my Japanese though, a month of not using it at all would be enough to forget quite a bit, but then i guess its easy enough to find Japanese tourists anywhere in the world.
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