Seeing Cities in One Day

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I haven’t done a ton of traveling — unfortunately, I’ve been starting to do more of the “studying” part of studying abroad, especially because I won’t be working on anything during Easter holiday.

I’ve been taking a few day trips on the weekends, though. A few weeks ago, some friends and I took a train to Chester, a cute British town near the Wales border. We didn’t end up going to the zoo, for which the town is primarily known, but instead spent much of the day exploring the city, which is enclosed by a wall we nicknamed the “Great Wall of Chester.” There were lots of cute shops and such, though unfortunately the infamous Cheshire Farm ice cream stand near the river wasn’t open. (We did see a Mark Twain steamboat on the river, which reminded me a lot of Missouri.)

My favorite part about Chester was the gorgeous cathedral. There were lots of stained-glass windows inside from all different time periods, and there was even tile artwork on the walls. (We also spent a lot of time coloring pictures of the nativity that were left out with crayons, because who doesn’t enjoy a good coloring break?)

IMG_1287Tile artwork in the Chester Cathedral — first I’ve seen in the U.K.

This past weekend, my friend Molly, who’s interning abroad in Brussels, came to visit. After a chill Friday filled with a Manchester Museum visit, Chinese food and milkshake-like pub drinks, we woke up early Saturday to head to the airport to see Dublin in a day!

We started by wandering around the Trinity College campus, then (eventually) made our way to the Guinness Storehouse, which seems to be the No. 1 thing Dublin is known for (at least if you’re between the ages of 18 and 24). On our way, we found the sleazy-turned-artsy Temple Bar district, saw the city’s castle that’s now used for governmental purposes, and walked around some pretty memorial gardens. One thing I didn’t expect to find in Dublin that I absolutely loved: some really cool street art.

IMG_1311This kind of art was everywhere.

We also stopped by St. Patrick’s Cathedral and paid our respects to the luckiest saint. We both come from Irish-Catholic backgrounds, so I think both of us really enjoyed the heritage aspect — that our ancestors definitely could’ve been here, at some point. (Some relatives are apparently still here on a potato farm.)

IMG_1341Me + St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

After quite the search for the Guinness Storehouse (Guinness owns more than 50 acres in the city, and there’s plenty of signage to let you know that), we finally found it. Although the tour was very, well, touristy, I enjoyed learning how beer is made — and that there are “right” and “wrong” ways to taste it, which we learned about in a tasting room. The conclusion of the tour brought a free pint of beer (one of the best pints I’ve had) in a circular room that gave a beautiful panoramic view of the city.

IMG_1331Yum.

After the tour, we decided to go back to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, but then decided against it because of the price (why pay to enter a library?). So, we went to find the coast, which we discovered is easier said than done. We found some really cool hidden places in the city, such as an inlet where it looked like people did tricks while waterskiing or something, and ended up on the main road near the financial district, where, yes, we could see the ocean.

We were almost to the airport and had some time to kill, so we decided to walk (or to try to walk, as we later discovered walking wasn’t really an option). This was probably the worst decision of the day, especially because we accidentally crossed through the parking lot of an arena where, yes, Beyonce was playing that night. (If only we had known!)

But despite that disappointment, it was a really fun day. I can’t wait to visit Molly (and see other Mizzou people) in Brussels in just a few weeks!

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