Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Trip Home

Consider I spent most of this weekend traveling, I hardly count it as the first week of the summer blog series! How do I spend a week coming to the states?

Well, first I took a train.

Then a plane. Then another plane. Then a train.

There were a couple of days between some of those, by the way, and two cities. Surprisingly, this is cheaper. Well, had I not gone shopping. But there was shopping.

And a viking hat.

My first stop was the train station in Kaiserslautern. That was the nearby town by the way. Then I went on to the airport after a very narrow time frame. That is, I arrived a minute or two before the train left.

The train was packed by the way. I ended up standing almost the entire way to the connecting train in Mannheim. This was faster, and I got a seat, for myself and my bag. My poor beat up bag. Ah well. It got there, bow intact!

It's an impressive bow. It really is.

I arrived at the airport safe and sound, on time to wait awhile for my flight Dublin!

I went to Dublin!


I was in Ireland!

Ireland was lots of fun. We didn't do all that much, but I met up a friend and we had loads of laughs. We slept in a bit the first day. Then the fun began.

We were look, specifically, for the Viking Splash Down tour. The urge to roar at passerby and pillage Dublin was great with in. Plus, there were viking hats involved. Everyone wants to wear a viking hat.

Well. I have a question.

What do you get when you combine two girls, one from the UK (but living in Ireland), one American, and neither with a a drop of directional sense between them? Two very lost tourists.

We asked for directions ten times, detoured into the Leprechaun museum, but did eventually find the tour.

There really was a museum all about leprechauns on the way. I highly recommend it! It's a guided tour all about people a third the size of man, who are the cobblers to the good neighbors. You hear stories, learn about the history, and get to be shrunk down to the size of a leprechaun and climb on giant furniture. It's great fun, that last bit, by the way. Great fun! I got to climb all over things, and a friendly man gave me a boost when one of the chairs proved too high for me to get to on my own. I nearly got stuck on it too!

You get to go through a room full of upside down umbrellas, one with a map of Ireland where you learn amazing things about the myths and the relics of Ireland, and see a real put of gold. It's probably Pyrite, but still. It was pretty awesome. After hearing a story from the guide, and making a wish in the wishing well, you get to exit out, but not before you draw a picture.

It was a fun tour.

Out one side are photo op things, and the guide won't mind taking your picture at all. You have to be careful, as my UK/Irish friend learned the hard way. There's a step up in the little fantasy scene.

From there, we managed to get to St. Stephen's Green to catch the Viking Tour. We arrived early enough to make a reservation on one of the last boats of the day, and then ate at a charming cafe, and spent time just hanging out in St. Stephen's Green.

The Viking Tour was by far the high light of the day though.

We got to wear viking hats. I do love dress up, even if it is a dress up hat, and I had great fun with my viking hat. Great fun. They normally don't let you keep it, but we got to keep ours, as it was one of the last tours, and the ticket seller took pity on us, in our quest to own our own.

The tour is amphibious by the way. By land and by sea, all in the same vehicle. It's left from World War Two, and is a lovely trip. They apparently have a fleet of them, including one from the Normandy invasion. Talk about history!

Then, of course, they painted them bright yellow.

Now, the tour itself is about Dublin's past, vikings, and Dublin's present. While on the water, you swing by to see U2's recording studio and everything. However, the tour is mostly about getting to scream at other tour buses, Cappuccino Celts (drinking at a cafe), Lost Celts (holding a map (upside down)), Competition Celts (other tour buses), and anyone who we felt like roaring at and making our fiercest face at. We made several people jump.

It was a most excellent tour. At the end, you are all roared out and ready!

That's right. We went shopping. I bought a new jacket. It's very sharp looking. I approve heartily of it.

After a lovely shopping trip, we found a very nice place to eat, and returned to the hotel early, due to an early exit the next morning.

Also, we rather expected it would take us three times as long to find our hotel. On the way back, we stopped by the Molly Malone statue, where a drunken Irish man took our picture after pulling in several complete and total strangers to the pictures as well. It turns out great.

The next morning, my friend and I parted ways at the airport, and I was off to the next stop! New York City!

I typed that as if it were much more exciting that it really was. You see, on landing, I got lost finding my hotel, despite having directions. I managed to see the new world trade center towers under construction...after having gone in the opposite direction than I meant, by accident. Whoops.

Then I made it to my hotel, assured the world I arrived, and promptly found an ATM to get Chinese delivered. I made certain to have orange soda delivered as well, and celebrated being in America with excellent Chinese food, and orange soda. It was heavenly.

I ended up sleeping shortly after, despite my attempts in staying up to adjust.

I woke up horribly early, hung around until I could make a phone call on Skype at a decent hour, then headed to Penn Station to store my luggage before poking around.

I didn't head to Grand Central, having, I am almost certain, gone in the wrong direction. Instead, I ended up at Madison Square Gardens.

For some reason, for years, I have thought these were actual gardens, and not an arena. I was clearly very confused. I was also disappointed, as I wanted to see gardens. Oh well, I did the next best thing, stumbles into Macy's, and went shopping!

I was in the world's biggest department store, my friends, and it rocked. So I bought a new outfit, promptly changed into it, and went back to catch my train.


Oh man.

I love trains.

Trains Rock So Much.

Like I am not even kidding, I love trains more than I though possible. Trains are super awesome, comfortable, pretty, and you get to see so many super awesome things and places along the way. I saw Newark, Trenton, Philadelphia, and way more.

Also, unlike European trains, US trains have electric outlets, so you can plug in the entire trip if you need to.

It was so awesome. I tracked the train online, and bugged my friends about the fact that I was on a train!

My aunt picked me up at the end of the trip, and I spent the night at her house, then the next evening went on to my summer home, with Grandma and Grandpa. I'm exhausted now, writing this, and hope you'll forgive me, if I end it now.

I won't be posting next week, as I take the time to get settled in and find a job here. Lots to do after all! And when there is a post, there will be a new background, to go with the new settings.

One Final Byte: America to me is the land of Orange Soda!

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