Temple Rome has ruined my life. I had this whole big unoriginal plan of graduating from college and eventually going to grad school, then getting a job and spending the rest of my life working, raising a family (God willing) and living the good ol’ American dream—charming husband, adorable kids, white-picket fence, little yippy dog and soccer mom minivan—the works!
I am currently a cadet in the Air Force ROTC, so in May I will commission as a Second Lieutenant and Public Affairs Officer, and I’ll spend two of my four years of service on Guam. So now living and studying in Rome, having the opportunity to travel all over Europe, I can’t wait to serve those four years and get right back into traveling the world!
And if it wasn’t enough that we’re already living the life in Rome, we’re also given a 10-day fall break right smack in the middle of our 15-week semester. My sister Jaclyn and I had been thinking about this break long before we even arrived in Rome, and Dublin, London and Paris were at the top of the list. So thanks to EasyJet and Ryanair, we booked those three cities in that very order. Ok, so maybe I was being a bit dramatic before, Temple Rome obviously hasn’t ruined my life, but they’ve definitely spoiled me rotten—right down to my very core.
It would take volumes to recount our entire fall break, so this is what I’ll do: Dublin was our absolute favorite place and the city we enjoyed the most. Full details of our time in Dublin—I can do—but I am going to have to go Halftime Highlight Show style for London and Paris in another post, and of course, my apologies in advance.
Our flight was scheduled to depart around 11 a.m. Monday morning, and we were excited when we found out that five of our girlfriends from the Temple Rome program were on the same flight, and staying in a hostel not far from us. You see, a friend of mine who graduated from Temple is now in medical school at Trinity College in Dublin, and so he kindly let my sister and I crash at his place for the three nights we’d be in Dublin.
We arrived mid-day, and we first had lunch on the docks of the Grand Canal and began making plans for the evening for when I’d be celebrating my 23rd birthday, and everyone was in the mood to fiesta. My friend rounded up a bunch of his roommates and friends from school to come out for dinner and then out for a night in the Temple Bar area for my birthday. We made sure to stop at the famous Temple Bar for a round, and in the end turning 23 wasn’t so bad, after all.
The following day Jaclyn and I headed out in the morning to explore Dublin. We started at Trinity College, walked Grafton Street, alive with tons of people, shopping, and entertainment. We spent time talking to different people in St. Stephen’s Green while admiring the deep green grass, neat little bridges and beautiful lakes and then we walked until we got to a place called Jim Joe’s, which seemed like a great place for lunch. As true tourists of Dublin, we ordered a seafood stew, a vegetable pie (like chicken-pot-pie, except I don’t eat meat), and for dessert an amazing fudge brownie topped with ice cream. It was the perfect lunch, and we met three American students studying abroad in Dublin who we enjoyed sharing stories with, comparing cities and exchanging travel information.
Our next stop was the Guinness Factory! We really wished our whole family could have been with us in Dublin, and especially our dad and two brothers for the Guinness Factory; they absolutely would have loved it.
We planned to spend about an hour there and after two hours of touring we finally made it up to the Gravity Bar at the top level where you get to enjoy a free Guinness and admire the 360 degree view of all of Dublin. It was breathtaking!
Following the Guinness Factory we met my friend and his one roommate for my birthday dinner. Dakota was a great trendy restaurant, and since Jaclyn and I enjoyed the seafood stew so much at lunch, we ordered it again for dinner! We then went to the bar at Trinity College and were introduced to a nice group of med students, some we had met the previous night. My friend and I spent the evening first on the MV Cill Airne; a boat turned bar/restaurant on the Liffy near the Grand Canal. It was beautiful sitting on the deck of the boat having a drink looking out at the Samuel Beckett harp-shaped bridge and catching up with this friend that I hadn’t seen in over four years—funny how life works sometimes. We headed next to a pub called The Ferryman and really enjoyed the music, the people, and the overall local feel of the place.
Sunday Jaclyn and I had plans to go to either Galway or Cork, but being that each is about a two to three hour train from Dublin, we tried looking for something more local. The Wicklow Mountains, Valleys and Lakes Tour popped up on Google, and for a very decent price we could take a seven- hour bus tour through the Wicklow Gap and the Blessington Lakes. The next stop was in the beautiful village of Avoca for a visit to the oldest weaving mill in Ireland and lunch at a little mom-and-pop restaurant, and then past Glendalough “glen of the two lakes” for a final scenic drive along the coast of Ireland. The tour was absolutely amazing and we couldn’t have had better weather. The bus stopped at several different spots and at one point Jaclyn and I were hiking in the woods along a waterfall that led to a lake at the top of a mountain!
We’d picked three of the most expensive cities in Europe to visit on our fall break, and Dublin was probably the most expensive of the three, so when we arrived back in Dublin city centre just in time for dinner, we decided to save some euro and eat in. Our girlfriends were getting back to Dublin after spending a night in Cork, so we all made plans to meet out in the Temple Bar area. We made sure our last night in Dublin was full of Irish craic (term in Irish culture to mean entertaining, funny or enjoyable conversation), plenty Irish jig, tons of laughs and just plain fun. We all agreed that Dublin was really quite an incredible place, and so our last night was nothing short of bittersweet.
Jaclyn and I pouted our way though packing our things, excited for our next adventure in London but genuinely sad to have to leave Dublin (really, it was quite pathetic!). It was just around 6 in the morning when we were walking towards the city centre when a man randomly stopped us and asked us if he could give us a cab ride to the airport. We took it as a blessing in disguise and hopped in the cab, thankful that we didn’t have to cart our luggage any further.
David was our cabbie’s name, a middle-aged man with a wife and a daughter and enough Irish craic to get us all the way to London! During our 20 minute cab ride he told us stories, jokes, tales, played us Irish music, talked to us about Irish life and culture, told us his life story and ultimately made the last moments of our weekend in Dublin just over the top incredible.
We lived it up as much as we possible could while we were in Dublin, and our tour guide through the Wicklow Mountains at one point on our tour fabulously, in his Irish accent, quoted Oscar Wilde (who lived in Dublin) when he said, “The only way to give in to temptation is to yield to it.” Along with Arthur Guinness and John Jameson, I’d say we would have made Oscar Wilde pretty proud during our little holiday in Dublin. So cheers to us. Next stop: London and Paris in my next post, “Sarah’s Fall Break Part Two: London and Paris.”
Can’t get enough of my dazzling wit and charm? Be sure to check out my personal blog, The Bergen Beat, where I’ve been posting about this study abroad experience as well! www.sarahbergstein.wordpress.com.