Today, we began our day in Galway, Ireland. We had a nice hostel breakfast of toast and cornflakes. After breakfast, some of our classmates went to the Pedestrian Mall in town to do some last minute shopping for friends, families, and themselves!
Our class then got together in late morning to have a discussion about the trip thus far. We compared the different cities we’ve been too such as London and Dublin. Then we also compared the mega cities to the smaller towns we’d been through. Most of the class agreed that we felt more comfortable and at home in the smaller towns such as Bala, Wales than in the bigger, metropolitan areas. We compared the cultural differences that we came across. For example, in restaurants you have to be very assertive and forget about your “Iowa nice” to get service. We also talked about how using public transportation is part of their daily lives and something we’re not all used to. We noticed that there are familiar brands and stores here, but they have different names. "T.J. Maxx," for example, is "T.K. Maxx" over here, and "Lays" chips are "Walkers" here.
We discussed what the different countries do to be more sustainable. In Ireland, we noticed that they have a lot of toilet paper dispensers that only dispense one sheet at a time. We also noticed that Ireland separates all of their trash into compost, recyclables, and waste. All over Europe, we noticed that a lot of the hostels and hotels we’ve stayed in have push button showers. Every 15 seconds or so, you would have to hit the button again to keep the water going. We thought it was a really good way to limit water use in the shower. For instance, when putting in shampoo or conditioner you don’t have the water running so it conserves the water use.
On the road again…
We headed off to the Cliffs of Moher in Doolin, Ireland.
It was very chilly and VERY windy today. Nevertheless, the Cliffs were magnificent and breathtaking. We just had to make sure we stayed a ways away from the edge so as not to get blown of the cliff! Standing on the highest points of the Cliffs you could see the long stretch of cliffs and water to the left and then the beautiful village on the right. Even though it was cold and grey, there were little bits of sunshine and small purple flowers and “Locks of Love.” But watch out for the fence! Nick got too close to the electric fence when he was trying to snap a picture and got shocked today!! Don’t worry, he’s OK :)
To celebrate Eric's birthday tonight, we are going to Gus O’Connor’s for some LIVE traditional Irish Music. It’s the only pub in town so we’re looking forward to meeting locals and more friends on the road. We ate there for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. Our whole class signed a dollar bill and taped it to the wall to follow tradition and leave our mark here in Doolin. Maybe one day some of us will make it back to see our dollar.
UPDATE: The pub was absolutely fantastic. Brittney and Samantha Topp met a sweet, old man named Ted who sang to the Irish music. He also talked to them about his recycling habits and told stories of his youth, family, and music. The locals were all very nice and welcoming and the class had a great time singing and laughing together!