On a good note, I did have a fantastic weekend. Beth and I tried to go to Cork but missed the bus, so we decided to go on an adventure. We took the next available bus, not knowing where it was going, or where we would stay when we got there. We ended up North of Dublin in a town called Droghea (draw-duh) and stayed in our first European Hostel next to Sketchy McSketcherson. We scared ourselves ridiculously (as girls do) but everything was fine. The next morning, we walked around the town. It is filled with old old churches, and towers, and St. Lawrence's Gate which is the oldest surviving gate of ancient Ireland. We also found graveyards from the 1600's. It was amazing. The town itself is beautiful, far prettier than Dublin, and the shop district was amazing. We tried on beautiful silk skirts and linen dresses, and had a great time. Parts of it reminded me of Ouray, CO.
After seeing the town, we rented bikes and rode 5 miles to Newgrange to visit the oldest archeological site in Ireland. It's a giant burial mound built in 3200 bc, or several hundred years before the pyramids. The bike ride so far has been my favorite part of Ireland. We rode down windy back roads under a canopy of the glossiest trees I've ever seen. Beth was fascinated by the cows in the fields (she's from Philly...however all I could think of was STUUUUUUUUUUUU the COW) We rode up this hill and could see the entire landscape below us. Down below, cottages with thatched roofs had smoke coming out the chimneys, and sheep dotted the green landscape. It was the Irish version of Thomas Kinkaid.
Getting there was interesting because the entire trip the only directions we received had to do with pubs. (you'll see Daly's pub, and then Thatch's pub) but they didn't tell us where to go when we saw them, but we saw them, and that's what counts. (We found out you go straight at Thatch's pub and turn right at Daly's pub) When we got to the site, there's a beautiful visitors center with a tea shop for the guests. We ate lunch there and wandered around the village before taking a tour. Of course, it started raining (and by raining I mean flooding) while we were there, so both of us tried to huttle under my umbrella while we wandered around the grounds. The infamous Irish spiraled circles originated from this site. It's over 3 acres and the entire side of the tomb is covered in white quatz, so the sun glinted off of it from a ways away, even in the rain. We got to go into the tomb, which is remarkable beause it's built under over 50,000 tons of rock, and is still standing today. It's set up perfectly for the winter soltice, so they did a simulation of the event, and it was phenomenal. The sun's morning rays shine directly into the center tomb and illuminates the entire burial mound for 17 minutes.
Beth and I then tried to ride back, but about a third of the way there, Beth's tire got a flat, so we had to walk the bikes back the rest of the way (probably 4 miles) I was wearing my stelleto boots, and she didn't bring warm clothing, so we were caring our bikes, our backpacks (which were sopping wet...my backpack still hasn't dried out) back into the city, where it stopped raining as soon as we returned the bikes. It was worth it though. I know Beth and I saw a side of Ireland we never would have ever thought to go see, and we saw it in a manner that no one else in our group would even attempt. I loved the feeling of spontanity, which has really given me a lot of confidence. Beth and I never would have done something like this at home, but we accomplished a lot, and encouraged each other to go something as crazy as this weekend. We were going to go back to the stores to buy stuff, but we were both grungy beyond belief, and exhausted, so we caught a bus back to Dublin and slept the whole way. In total, with round trip bus tickets, tour tickets, hostel, and bike rentals, we spend less than 50?.
I hope to be able to get more of this money thing straightened out, but because this weekend was so beneficially amazing (not having anything, no plans, money, direction, and still have one of the best adventures of my life) makes it easier for me to relaz and not stress about everything else. Some days it works better than others, but we'll see how it goes.