Galway

Dia duit! Finally it was Friday, October 17th. The weekend we planned to go to Galway. Because we usually have ‘Wine Studies’ on Friday mornings, we already went to the lecture of ‘Advanced Wine Studies’ on Wednesday afternoon. Our lecturer was very kind and didn’t want to abstract us from such a cultural trip of course. Together with a lot of other Erasmus students we left at about half past 9. Two busses were overloaded, it just felt like one of the school trips at high school. Everybody loudly sang along with their favourite songs and even some little dances were made in the bus. Nothing was too crazy for this bus driver.

After about half an hour we already had our first ‘pee stop’, not that we really had to go to the bathroom, but more to get some more drinks. If we would be stopped by the police then, at least we could offer them some drinks, said the bus driver. In the afternoon we arrived at the hostel and afterwards started our guided walking tour throughout Galway. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that good, but being as fully integrated as we are, it didn’t bother us to go outside. Galway is a little old city and especially known for its live music in the pubs. Therefore after dinner we planned to do a pub crawl, or just ‘kroegentocht’ as we call it in Dutch.  During the night we had to do crazy challenges such as to gather as much potatoes as possible. The one who ended up with the most potatoes was the real ‘Viking’ of the night.

The next day we had to wake up early to go to the ‘Aran Islands’. It took us about 45 minutes by ferry, what was long enough for most of the students. When we finally arrived on the islands, we rented some bikes to cycle around. The beautiful beaches and nature were already worth the visit, but the real highlights of the trip were the cliffs. From the very top of the cliffs we enjoyed a fantastic view over the sea. On Saturday night we went to a club in Galway, called ‘The Stock Exchange’. The prices of the drinks changed every few minutes, a brilliant concept of course.

And then it was already Sunday, the last day of the weekend. Again we had to wake up early (9:00 AM) to visit one of the most touristic attractions in the west of Ireland, the ‘Cliffs of Moher’. Yes again cliffs, can they be even more beautiful? Yes, of course they can! Everybody who will ever travel to Ireland should definitely bring a visit to this natural wonder. A combination of a magnificent view, loads of heavy wind that can take you off your feet every minute, the constant alternation of sun and rain, beautiful nature, this is the Republic of Ireland as we’ll see it on postcards. Around 8pm, after a long bus drive, we arrived ‘home’, in Dublin. We were completely exhausted, but we can look back on a great weekend.

Obviously I’ve done more last weeks, besides the trip to Galway. I’ve actually had an Irish dance class for example. The class, organised by the university, was especially meant to learn international students a little bit more about the Irish culture. Complicated figures and very fast dance steps made that is wasn’t easy at all. I think that I have to pay a little bit more attention to the River dance Christmas show this year to improve my dance skills.

Furthermore I joined the Student Cycle Challenge together with Catijn and Liam. As well as the dance class, this was also an initiative of the university. This time to promote cycling in the city. Every day we had to count our rides that were made. Unfortunately we didn’t win the challenge, but nevertheless we enjoyed participating.  With our group picture we were more successful though. We managed to ride on one bike with the three of us and therefore won one of the goody bags.

On Saturday, October 11th we went with the canoe society to Dollymounth. This was the possibility to bring all our techniques and skills learned before in the swimming pool into practice. Fortunately it was warm and sunny all day long, so the perfect weather for spending time on the water. The games we played made some of the members a bit too competitive, which obviously resulted in everyone being completely soaked.

Last Saturday I went for the first time in my life to a real rugby game together with Catijn. We had to cycle about 45 minutes to arrive at the Tallaght Stadium, where the game Ireland vs. Scotland took place. Even though we still don’t exactly know the rules of the game, it was a lot of fun to watch. Especially the referees who were completely dressed in pink were entertaining. Although Ireland lost the game, I don’t think the Irish people will drink a pint less because of it.

In contrast to the shops in the Netherlands that must already be overloaded with ‘pepernoten’, ‘gevulde speculaas’ and other ‘Sinterklaas’ treats at the moment, the shops over here are filled with pumpkins, loads of pumpkins. The first homemade pumpkin soup is already a fact. Ireland is getting ready for Halloween, which is celebrated pretty big over here as I’ve heard. Together with both of my brothers and cousins who are coming over this weekend (yeah!) we are going to experience it. I’m curious what All Saints’ Eve will offer us.