Bonjour!

Bonjour!

Just got back from Paris! I absolutely adored it. Not only was the weather absolutely gorgeous, but the city and culture was also unbelievable.

I was surprised at the amount of cafes and “boulangeries”, which are bakeries that sell baguettes and other fresh breads for only a euro. Unlike Amsterdam, many people did not speak English. I ended up using a lot more French than I had expected.

On the first day, my friend and I walked the streets, stumbling upon Notre Dame Cathedral. It was stunning. Next we walked along the River Seine, the large, clear body of water that runs through the middle of the city. We then arrived at the Louvre, which took forever to get into as the lines circled the infamous glass pyramids outside. However, it was worth it after entering the giant museum, lined with amazing art that stretched for forever. The Mona Lisa was not as crowded as I thought it would be, however unlike the other works of art it was roped off, keeping everyone at a distance.

After the Louvre, I had the best lunch I had ever had in my life at a restaurant called Antiquaires.

I then went to the Museum D’Orsay, which featured mostly French artists. I enjoyed Monet’s work the most.

The shopping in Paris was also amazing, Chanel, Hermes, Tom Ford, Cartier, Missoni and so so many other designer brands lined the Rue de Cambon.

I did the other classic French touristey things, seeing the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysee, and a river tour. However, my favorite thing was the Musee de L’armee. It gives a large background on French wars and leaders, including World War I and II. Napolean’s Tomb also resides within this large area, which was cool to see.

One of my other favorite things that we did was grab two cheeses, a baguette, and a bottle of wine, and watch the sunset under the Eiffel tower. The brie was unlike anything I have ever had.

I hope to go back to Paris, however I am happy to be back in Dublin, which now feels like home 🙂

Amsterdam and Portugal

Hallo!

That is hello in Dutch. Sorry for the wait on an updated blog post, but I have had a crazy couple of weeks.

My time in Dublin has been well spent. I have seen so much of the city, and feel well acclimated. I have gone to the Guinness factory, the Dublin Castle,  and shopped and dined in the city center. My classes are very interesting, and I have met and befriended many of my Irish peers, as well as students from other countries. My first two weekends I stayed in Ireland. First I went to Howth, a small beach town about an hour from Dublin. We walked the beautiful cliffs, and saw some amazing views. Cork was also beautiful and green. The city was similar to Dublin, however we took a ten minute ride out to the Blarney castle, and kissed the Blarney stone. The stone hangs out so you must lean backwards to kiss it. It supposedly give you the gift of eloquence.

After two weeks in Ireland, I was itching to experience new cultures and see different countries, as I had never been outside the country. I met some high school friends who are studying in Madrid at the time in Amsterdam. Amsterdam was amazing,

We spent our first night eating some Dutch cuisine which included cheese croquettes and beef and potatoes. Afterwards, we headed out to do karaoke.

On Friday morning we woke up and hit the city. The city was also filled with cobblestone streets, much like Dublin, however bike paths zigged and zagged throughout the city. I almost got decked by a bike about 100 times because I was not used to the large population of bikers. Canals ran through the entire city, lined with tall thin houses that peer down onto you. After a walking tour, I learned that the reason for the canals was due to the fact that the city was built on a swamp like area. The first dutch people took the plans from the infrastructure of Venice to build the city. The reason for the narrow tall houses is because residents were taxed on the width of their houses, so people built their homes thin and tall.

My favorite part of the trip was the night canal tour and the tour of the Anne Frank house. The Anne Frank house was chilling, as we made our way up and through the steep stairs and had the opportunity to see where the Franks resided for two years.

Overall the trip was amazing. I cannot wait for my next journey, as I will be flying to France on Thursday. I will try to be more consistent with my posts!

Vaarwel!

Kelli Murray