On the evening of the 23rd (late evening, thanks to Ryan Air and its stupid, late flight times) I flew out to Dublin from Paris to stay there until the 26th for something to do for Christmas. I went with my study abroad program, and a couple others we know. We all are from the states and were wishing we would have been able to go back for the holidays, but we couldn’t so it was nice to be together for the break. I was originally going to be all by my lonesome in Paris for Christmas, so it was nice a spot opened up, or was there all along, for this trip!
I landed late on the 23rd in Dublin, so I unfortunately wasn’t able to go see the Guinness Storehouse Factory there with everyone else. The next day, Christmas Eve, we decided it would be a good idea to profit from the suburbs of Dublin and see what else the area had to offer, so we went to Howth. We got there around lunchtime and got lunch at a traditional pub. It was a nice day with no rain, and even a bit of sun. Some of us did a little hike onto the cliffs which was absolutely beautiful and good exercise, too. That day we went to St. Augustin Catholic Church for Christmas Eve mass. The church was beautiful and the people nice, but the priest was a bit harsh, haha. I’m guessing Dublin is pretty conservative Catholic! On Christmas we honestly just sat in the apartment and ate a bunch- of chocolate, and the Christmas meal we made that was complete with chicken, mashed potatoes, and of course, delicious cider! The next day we left early in the morning to go to London, to be there on Boxing Day! All in all, honestly I didn’t feel like there was that much to see in Dublin, but it was a nice city and we stayed there the right amount of time.
We got to the hostel in London- Palmer’s Lodge: Swiss Cottage, a good introduction to what hostels are like to this hostel virgin, in the early afternoon and checked in, happy to be able to finally put our bags down and go get something to eat.
One of our goals in London was to go to an Indian restaurant, since we all miss spice in Paris (even though Indian restaurants actually exist here, too) so we asked the receptionist which one to go to. She gave us a rec for one close by, so we gave it a try. She even called ahead so they knew to expect us. It was pretty good, but it was lacking in spices. Not spicy enough! When I’m used to French food- I need some spice in life, however good French cuisine may be! After eating we decided to have kind of a low-key day (we’re good at those, and we’re on vacay after all) so we did Harrod’s and a bit of shopping on that street. Harrod’s was quite incredible, but not quite as amazing as Galeries Lafayette in Paris- I’m obviously a bit biased, though 😉 It was also really packed. And all I bought was chocolate. Neither two things are surprising! By the way- the whole time in the UK I was eating so much Cadbury Dairy Milk and “Buttons”. It is SUCH good chocolate, and fair trade which is good as well!
Another one of our goals in London was to go see a show, so on the 27th we went to the theater that shows ‘Wicked’, Apollo Victoria Theatre, and we bought some tickets. We got pretty great seats for a total of 22.50 pounds each! Then, we ventured over to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guards- which was honestly a bit overrated/ I couldn’t see a damn thing! haha. Anyways- Wicked- I really enjoyed the show, and the funny, cute British children sitting behind me and their comments during it! Everything is funnier in a British accent. Seriously. The next day, the 28th of December, we went on a free walking tour of London/Westminster that started at Hyde Park. It was really informative and I saw a lot of the major sites of London, including: Constitution Hill, Buckingham Palace, Royal Palaces (where Charles/Camilla/Prince Harry live, and the St. James Palace where mail to the queen is sent), Trafalgar Square, WWII barracks, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (Think Kate and William!), London Eye, etc. We ended at a spacious pub with delicous food- I’m not a fish lover so I ordered the chili con carne served with basmati rice. It was delicious! Afterwards, we did a bit more walking, mostly underneath the London Bridge all the way to the London Eye and then we went back to the hostel. We went on a Camden Pub Crawl later that night that demanded our energy! It was really fun- there were a lot of free shots. I’ll end it at that, ha!
I’m happy to be back in Paris for NYE! Wishing you and all your loved ones a blessed new year 🙂 -Meg