I was initially waiting until my official photographer had sent through his pics before reporting on my short get away BUT he took so many pics that it will take a while before I get them..
The official photographer was Thierry, a friend of Arnaud. He left from Paris and was meeting us in Dublin. Arnaud and I left from Tours on Thursday afternoon. We got to the hostel, which was conveniently located above a pub and had our second (first beer was in the air) beer waiting for Thierry to arrive. Once he got there and we were introduced we walked around Dublin, a real colourful place and lucky for us SUNSHINE. Grabbed some dinner (Irish stew) had more beers and went for another walk. We stopped outside a cafe where one of the girls from the lab had worked and were planning to walk a bit further but we met LIAM. This Random dude who was sitting outside and offering us beer, since I can not refuse any alcohol, I gladly accepted, it had been at least 30 min since my last drink. He was from Ireland, living in London and back for a visit. Liam was extremely drunk but really friendly and we ended up talking to him for at least another hour or two (his backpack had a seemingly unlimited supply of beers). After that little encounter we went back to the pub at our hostel. We had made the plan to rent a car the next morning and drive to the Wicklow mountains, just south of Dublin. I still do not have my driving license (when my purse got stolen/lost it had my license in it and I never bothered to get a new one) so the driving was up to A and T. Both have no experience driving on the left hand side, but it went really well (Just a few scrapes on the side mirror). The scenery was amazing and once again we had fantastic weather. We stopped at different places along the way, but my favourite part was on our way home when we decided to stop at a little town on the coast. I forget the name of the town, there was of course a beautiful golf course and a little beach that we walked down to. From the beach there was a path along a headland that we followed and while we were sitting enjoying the view I heard something, looking down at the water there was this very cute SEAL!! When we continued on our way around the headland he seemed to be following us and then there were suddenly 2 other seals. It was so unbelievably cute!! Then it was back to Dublin for our last night there, I was soo tired that immediately after dinner I went back to the hostel and to bed.
Saturday morning we planned to head North to the Giant’s Causeway( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant%27s_Causeway). Hopped in the car after a hearty breakfast and drove towards Belfast, not surprisingly with me being the co-pilot, we made it there without once taking a wrong turn! It was of course a lot easier driving on main roads with big signs pointing to Belfast than driving on little roads with no signs and no map. I also learned that I am quite capable of holding my pee for 2 hrs.. it hurt and once we got to Belfast I jumped out of the car and ran into the first cafe I saw and then peed for 20 minutes.. After the pee break we walked around Belfast for a bit, it was very different to Dublin and I think liked the design of the city more. Our break was scheduled for 2 hrs so after lunch it was time to drive on up North. We made it up to the Carrick-a-rede Bridge. This tiny rope bridge which connects a tiny island to the mainland. Once again amazing scenery, lots of stinky birds and tourists.. It was 5 PM and we figured it would be good to find a place to stay and do the Causeway the next day. Driving towards a small town to find a B&B we picked up 3 hitchhikers 2 from Hungary and one from India. They had missed their bus and needed to catch a train to Belfast so we drove them to the nearest train station and since they actually had some time to spare also had a beer with them. We were initially planning to stay in the town, but it looked so depressing that we decided to head back to a town at the sea side. It was pooring down rain once we got there but we quickly found a lovely B&B, my room had the BEST bathroom and I was ready to just stay there and have a very early night. We were hungry though so went hunting for food, definitely not as easy as it seems since all kitchens closed at 9 PM and it was 10 PM.. Dirty dirty Pizza it was.. After the Pizza we went to the local night club, hilarious!!! It had 2 floors with pumping techno music on the 2nd floor and just loud music on the first. We (especially me) looked totally out of place since all the girls were super duper dressed up in skimpy dresses and high heels. I had a good time watching the guys watching the girls.. I think that Guiness makes the boobs grow and that night I decided that on our final night I was going to drink Guiness. After the BEST sleep in the B&B we had a lovely Irish breakfast and finally went to Causeway. It was packed with tour buses, but totally worth it!! After being there we had to head back South again but decided it would be better to spend the night Belfast and head back to the airport on Monday morning. We took the scenic route back and all I can say is WOW (just wait until you see the pictures)
We arrived in Belfast around 7PM and it was really really dead, there was not one person on the street and it felt weird. After finding a park and a hotel we headed into the dead city looking for food.. Walking into the first pub we headed towards the back room since everyone else was watching soccer. Of course they were not serving any food but since there was an Irish band setting up, we decided to stay for a drink. The band was really really good and instead of eating we all drank beers, I was actually enjoying the guiness more than I thought I would and they kept on coming. By the time the pub closed I had no idea where we were and just wanted to get to bed. I fell into a coma and missed Arnaud falling out of the bed and loud snoring (a good thing!).
Monday morning we had to be in the car by 8 AM to get back to the airport on time. Not sure if my boobs increased in size but the Guiness hangover was definitely in my top 3 of worst hangovers ever! Coming back to Tours was rather depressing, although I loved seeing my own bed the thought of going back to work just sucked. I really am trying to make the best of things but it has become overly clear to me that I do not really want to be here anymore. Unfortunately for me, besides applying for other fellowships there is nothing concrete in the future yet…