Friday, August 12, 2005

Winding Down, Heading Home

Tonight we are getting dressed up and heading to Maddingly Hall for our farewell dinner. It's been a busy week. After another all-nighter to finish my second essay, I spent my final week enjoying the sights around Cambridge. Steven J. and I went on an 8 mile hike around Audley End and visited Audley End house, a Jacobean mansion built to entertain visiting royalty. We hiked through fields of wheat and startled four large dear (two bucks and two does) while they were feeding. I saw two open air Shakespeare plays (a so-so Macbeth and an excellent Taming of the Shrew)and ate at a Spanish Tapas bar and a Turkish restaurant (fried lambs liver is dee-lish). My favorite afternoon was spent in a walk down the river to Granchester, a small village about a mile away. We had tea and cakes (treacle tart- much better than it sounds) at the Orchard, a famous but low key Victorian out door tea house frequented by the likes of Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russell, Wittgienstien (sorry about the spelling)and Sylvia Plath. Today Brittany and I went punting down the river- by ourselves. It was awful. We couldn't get the punt straight and kept hitting other tourists and running over ducks. I'm sure we'll laugh about it later. I'll be staying in London with Laura for the next two days and visit various museums, stately houses, and some musical that she really wants to go to. I'll arrive back in the U.S., God willing, at around 4 PM EST Monday. I look forward to seeing all my Gainesville friends soon!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Ryanair had the honor of flying us safely to Dublin and back. The plane rides were bumpy, crowded, and featured several delays. The seats were so uncomfortable that they evidently damaged the rear end of poor fellow in the safety procedure cartoon (please look closely at the 4th panel from the right on the bottom row). OUCH!!!

The Guinness Factory

During our Dublin visit, we made the obligatory pilgramage to the Guinness factory. At the end of the tour, you get a free pint in glass walled bar overlooking the city. Needless to say, we spent a few hours enjoying the authentic Irish pubs. One of the pictures features Steven L. and myself (in some very natty hats) before I had whiskey, and another picture shows what Steven J. and Chris looked like after I had whiskey.

Dublin Pictures

Here's a few pictures of the Irish sea and a couple of the sights in Dublin. The picture of the large pole is the monument erected by the city government to celebrate the millennium. They completed it in 2003. According to our tour guide, the locals hate it: "America-the Statue of Liberty; England-Big Ben; France-The Eiffel Tower; Ireland- a steel pipe." Some Dublin nicknames for the Millenium Spire include "Da Pole in da Hole" and "Da Stilleto in da Ghetto." I also snapped a picture of the exterior of our hostel, Abraham house. It gives you a good idea of a Georgian Dublin streetscape, with terraced buildings and painted doors (just in case you missed the "Doors of Dublin" posters featured in every Irish pub and Bennigan's since 1992). Finally, Steve and I dressed up as Plastic Paddies at Carroll's, the chain of souvenir stores selling cheap crap for tourists.

County Wicklow and Glendalough, Ireland

During our trip to Ireland, we went on a day trip to county Wicklow, just North of Dublin. As you can see, it was gorgeous. The ruined church is in Glendalough (valley of two lakes), and is the site of a monastery founded by St. Kevin.