Posts Tagged ‘Europe’


Monday, March 12th, 2012


People told me that I would feel at home in Ireland because everybody has red hair. Not so. I looked for days before finding someone with red hair, so the proportion of red-heads is similar to the United States. I traveled to Ireland during my winter break when I was at the University of Sheffield in England my senior year of college. I was studying a class on James Joyce, and my big writing project was on a work of literature that took place in Dublin, Ireland.

Because it was winter, it was overcast and dreary. I went to the National Library of Ireland to look up books on James Joyce. I had to show my passport to get in, and the library issued me an ID card. I spent my mornings at the library and my afternoons retracing the steps of the main character in the book I was studying.


During my last three days in Ireland, I went to Galway, Sligo, and Cork. In Galway, I walked to Yeats Tower, which looked kind of like a castle, with literary connections. I was so stupid that I forgot to check the winter hours, and it was closed. I had walked 15 miles, and my legs felt like two aching sticks. Then I did something even more stupid: I accepted a ride. It was because I was about to collapse. Thankfully the old man who gave me a ride to the bus station was nice.

The city of Sligo had Yeats connections as well, and it looked beautiful, even in the mist. I went up to a taxi driver and asked him how much he would charge me if I hired him for the day, and could he take me to anywhere interesting, especially castles, abbeys, or literary connections. The older-looking man said that he would charge me 30 pounds for the day, which was much lower than I thought. He took me all over the place, and we had a great day. The man chatted about his wife and kids, and I even sat in the front seat of the taxi.


My final destination was Blarney Castle in Cork. I loved running around the castle, getting lost in the corridors. The sun came out for an hour or two, and the surrounding countryside looked gorgeous. I kissed the Blarney stone, which is supposed to grant eloquence. That was definitely my favorite place, of all the places I visited in Ireland.

If you ever go to Ireland, do not go in the winter. It looks dreary in general, and it’s raining constantly. But the country is definitely green, and I enjoyed riding on the trains all around the country on the last three days of my ten-day excursion. It wasn’t really a vacation because I was writing a paper the entire time, including when I was on the trains.

Travel Articles

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

These fun travel articles are personal stories from my own travels, mostly before I was married:

Growing Up in Guatemalatravel-articles-1


Living in Englandtravel-articles-2


Nightmare Through Europe” Backpacking Triptravel-articles-3


Travel that Got Me into Trouble


Travel that I Actually Enjoyed When I was Singletravel-articles-4


Travel in the U.S.A. with my Husband and Kids


Travel Humor

Germany and the Netherlands

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

GermanyThe last week of my “Nightmare through Europe” tour included Hitler’s devastating actions made into tourist attractions. I was in Germany. Our tour arrived at a concentration camp, where I was shown a horrible film that I wish I had never seen. I stood in the actual rooms where millions of Jews had been murdered. I already had a fever and felt miserable, but now I felt like vomiting. It was so far beyond sad that there were just no words. Silence seemed like the only appropriate response.

In the city of Munich, I saw the Glockenspiel chiming the hour, with the dancing figures coming out of the clock and twirling around like a huge wind-up toy. I walked by a clock maker’s shop, where the largest cookoo clock was located.

Germany-2The day was damp and dreary, but we went on a cruise of the Rhine River. We passed several castles along the way, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be magical and beautiful had I traveled in the summer instead of the spring. The rain drenched me to the skin.

Later we went to the Netherlands, where we saw more of Hilter’s devastation. I looked at the real place where Anne Frank and her family had lived. The secret passageway behind the bookshelf led to the attic. The rooms were so small up there, it would have been like living in a closet. Needless to say, when I took the ferry boat back to England, I was glad to be home.



Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

SwitzerlandI have to say that Switzerland is the most beautiful country I have ever seen. There is something majestic about the Swiss Alps that almost takes your breath away.

We stayed in cabins, which was a welcome relief from camping in freezing weather. My body almost had a chance to heal from the bad cold I had gotten in Paris. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

We took a steep trolley car to the Jungfraujoch, otherwise known as “The Top of the World.” It was a stunning sight, absolutely beautiful. The snow looked luxurious, like powder. The plateau was so freezing that my ears were numb, and I could no longer feel my hands. I couldn’t open my eyes for more than a few seconds at a time because I felt like my eyeballs were going to freeze. It was painfully cold.

There was an ice palace up there. The walls were made of ice, the floor, the ceiling, the tunnels, the figures – all ice. I had lunch overlooking the Alps. I drank some famous Swiss hot chocolate with my meal. I mailed a postcard to my family.

On the way down, I felt like my head was going to explode from the sudden change in altitude. I had a pounding headache for the rest of the day.Switzerland-2ice-sculpturesSwitzerland-3