March (Traveling) MadnessDublin, Spring 2012

March started with a trip to Belgium and, of course, a waffle! Lauren, Ariana, and I traveled to Brussels, Belgium the first weekend of the month. Obviously, we went for the waffles and chocolate, but Belgium had a lot more in store for us.

At the center of Brussels is the Grand Place, a square with beautiful and imposing buildings!

We realized on our first night that almost all of the chocolate shops give free samples. So we proceeded to visit about 15...

While in Brussels, we visited the Chocolate Museum, the Atomium, and the de facto symbol of  Brussels, the Mannequin Pis!

The Mannequin Pis. This little guy is a big deal in Brussels!

My favorite part of our trip to Belgium was on Saturday when we spent the day in Bruges, a picturesque small town about an hour from Brussels. Bruges is well-known because of the movie In Bruges, but I don’t need to see the movie because I saw the real thing and it’s beautiful. The many canals and cobblestone streets give the town so much character. We rented bikes while we were there and they proved to be a worthwhile investment and a great way to see the city.

Pretty little Bruges.

Hanging out in Bruges :)

Following our weekend in Brussels, we were back in Dublin and back to work! I had a few papers to write and my first short story to write for my Irish literature class. Everything came together and my story was well-received!

On Wednesday night, my Writing on the Wall class had a field trip to Project Arts Centre. We saw “Love Matters,” a play by Northern Irish playwright Gary Mitchell. It was performed entirely in Irish, so we had headphones with a translator. It was an interesting experience and I really enjoyed the play – my favorite one I’ve seen so far in Dublin.

Thursday brought another weekend of traveling and it was the best one yet! I went to visit a friend who is studying abroad in Amsterdam and I fell in love with the city. We rode through the streets on bikes and saw so much in so little time. It was definitely my favorite weekend trip this semester.

Amazing Amsterdam!

While in Amsterdam, I visited the Vincent Van Gogh museum. It was really interesting to visit because I had learned about him when I studied French language and culture in school and I finally saw his work in person. One of the highlights of the trip was the food! Pancakes, french fries or frites, and sandwiches, oh my. I took pictures of my food it was so good, but I will keep those to myself.

Having the opportunity to study abroad and travel to these European destinations on my weekends is something I never stop being thankful for. It is so surreal to be here and bouncing around Europe when I spent so much of my life dreaming about visiting these places.

A few weeks ago when we were at the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, the director asked us as a group what we are going to do when our program ends April 14th. What I said then is more true now than ever…“We will cry and go home.” Time is flying by and I’m not going to be ready to leave in April. Therefore, I need to savor my time here and what better time to savor than St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner!?

 

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