DoUBLIN’ the funMadrid, Fall 2011

As I write this I am sitting in the airport with an hour to kill before my flight takes off for Madrid.  I am quite sad to leave because I had such a wonderful time.  I know I will for sure be back one day! This past weekend I took my first solo trip out of Madrid and ventured to Ireland.  When I had bought my tickets a month prior I had planned to go and spend my weekend exploring around the city and being a tourist.  However, I discovered that a girl from my school was studying abroad there and made plans to meet up with her.  My flight was delayed two hours, which was a bit of a drag considering we were grounded on the tarmac in Madrid for quite a while…and two hours is a big chunk of time I could have used to see more of Dublin.  Upon landing I was greeted with the very green hills the Ireland is known for…and that was all it took to fall in love with the city.  I knew as soon as my foot hit the ground off the plane that this would be the adventure of a lifetime- and it definitely was.  I managed to find my way to the hostel easily after taking the Dublin airport shuttle to a main street, and then using a map I was able to navigate my way up the streets to my hostel.  I stayed at the Generator Hostel, a very nice, new and affordable place.  The beds and bedding were like sleeping on clouds…which is not normal for most of the other places I have stayed at.  Due to the fact my phone could not call/send texts to my friend who I was meeting, our main form of communication was through Facebook.  So as soon as I got to my room I was able to message her and make plans for the night.  I gave her the name and street address of my hostel and was waiting to hear back from her to determine when/where we would meet up.  After waiting a while I decided to go explore for a little bit and come back to see if she responded.  I left the hostel and was walking down the street when I ran into her- it was kind of weird/cool that we ran into each other so unexpected…but that was just the beginning of the best night of my abroad experience.  We hadn’t really met in person before; however due to the closeness of the Greek community at our school we were familiar with each other.  We started off the night by going to a restaurant for dinner and a drink.  From there we went to another pub, which we left right away because we couldn’t determine what were in the drinks.  After that was when the fun really began…We ended up at the fancier cocktail bar were we took a seat and were faced with a huge drink menu all of which sounded delicious.  Finally the bartender came over to us and asked what we wanted…Eventually he said he would just surprise us given a list of preferences we gave him.  We ended up with very delicious drinks.  The two men who sat down next to us began trying to chat us up—asking if we would take a picture with them.  They were clearly not from Ireland, and English was definitely not their first language.  We agreed and took a few pictures with them (all of which were hysterical).  They asked for our names—to which we gave them our middle names.  We began to get a little creeped out when they kept ogling at us and then asked if we wanted to leave with them.  The guy said he would give us a few minutes to talk it over and decide.  We both looked at each other, clearly thinking the same thing—NO WAY.  It was about that time when we noticed two cute guys standing together at the bar.  We both smiled over at them, and eventually my friend said she was going to go see if she could get them to come join us…Well they ended up coming over to our table.  It turns out she told them that we were a bit uncomfortable by the guys sitting next to us and asked if they would come sit with us for a while to ward the other two off.  It worked, and we began talking with the two cute guys who ended up being from the Bahamas and Bosnia.  The Bosnian guy was pretty hammered, but very sweet.  The Bahamian and I hit it off and were talking about someone I know back home who is an Olympic champion from the Bahamas, and from the same area he was from.  Our conversations went on for around a half an hour until the two guys said they had to go.  The weird guys were still sitting next to us and saw their opportunity to try to pick us up again.  The creepier one of the two singled me out and had his friend take a picture of me with him on his phone.  After that we high tailed it out of there to our next pub.  The next place we went to will forever be inked in my memory.  It was a place called Fitzgerald’s and as soon as we walked in we were greeted by the sound of some Irish singers (who were really good).  The immediately singled us out in front of the entire pub (which was pretty full) asking where we were from and for our names.   At first we were confused and looked around to see if they were talking to other people…But no—they were looking directly at us.  We told them we were from California, and then gave them our names.  From there they began making fun of my name, which I guess is some sort of hygienic cleanser here…Then is started to get much worse…I had been texting my mother back home, and the lead singer commented on that with more witty insults.  He then dedicated a song to us.  After that he dedicated one to me—a very romantic one that I had heard before.  I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling and was probably beet red.  While he was still serenading me, his partner/guitarist (who was short and near 40) came over and started pelvic thrusting leg.  I was a bit freaked out…and laughing…and the rest of the pub was too.  My friend had taken my camera and took multiple shots of me being grinded on by the short Irish man.  I was a bit embarrassed—however I was glad that I provided a little bit of entertainment for all the drunk people in the pub.  After that we started grabbing our stuff to get ready to leave, and were immediately pointed out again by the lead singer who fired us with insults.  We left anyways—though after we persuaded them to take a picture with us.  After that we went to a few more places, got harassed by more creepy/drunk guys (which we ignored) and then called it a night around 12:30 (the time at which people are just beginning to go out in Madrid) because we were both tired…On the way back to my street we ran into a group of young (very drunk) Irish boys who we stopped to take pictures with. The next day we got up early and met up for breakfast.  We went on a hop-on-hop off tour and visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Guinness Factory.  Both of which I recommend everyone to visit if they are ever in Dublin.  After that we headed back to my friend’s house where we had a low key night talking about everything and laughing hysterically about the night before.  Dublin was by far my favorite/funniest trip I have made during my abroad experience!
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