Okay well, it looks like the last time I updated my blog was post Paris, and woah, that was a long time ago, so first things first.
IRELAND!!! The Thursday after fall break was over Eddie, Kelsey, Ryan (a guy Eddie met from church), and myself all went to Ireland. Eddie, Kelsey, and I traveled together and Ryan just met us in Dublin. The trip there went okay, we were flying into some really strong winds but the flight went fine, especially with a couple Dramamine in my system haha. When we got into Dublin it was 7:30 or so, and since we had a really early day the next day we went to the hostel to drop our bags off, walked around and then went to dinner. Dublin is a really nice city because it is very easy to walk and our hostel was in a really good location! A little after we got back to the hostel Ryan arrived and then we just hung out until sleeping. The next morning we headed off to Galway, its about a 3 hour train ride to get there, but it was great because we all got to see part of Ireland that we really wanted to, sheep and green! Galway was another cute city and again we had a really nice hostel. The first day we just walked around, went to the main pedestrian street in town and just saw different things, the river, museum, cathedral, it was nice. Saturday we went on a tour from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher, it was an all day tour and we had a super cute tourguide named Desmond. We had numerous stops throughout the day and we were lucky enough to actually make it to the cliffs at a moment when the sky was clear! After the tour we went to dinner and then back to the hostel, it had been a long day. Sunday was another bright and early morning in order to catch a train back to Dublin! We wanted to give ourselves as much time as we could in Dublin, and we got into town at 11 am or so. We split up for lunch, the boys to Burger King, and the girls to a restaurant for an Irish breakfast. We met up after eating and walked around to some of the touristy places by Grafton Street, the main pedestrian street in Dublin. Then we all split up again, Eddie and Kelsey needed to go back to the hostel and Ryan and I both wanted to see the city so Ryan went off and I did as well, I took a bus tour because I wanted to see as much of the city as I could in the couple hours I had, and it worked out really well. After our little split, which did include Starbucks for Kelsey and I, woohoo, we all met back up at the hostel and went out to dinner. Again, it was a pretty early night because we all had early flights back to Brussels Monday morning. Ireland was a great trip! The group got along really well and having 4 made it really easy when we couldn´t decide on something, we would just split up. The country was amazingly beautiful and the people were very nice, it was a dream come true to visit Ireland and I definitely would like to go back!
The week after Ireland was pretty relaxed, I had classes and one day at AGE before heading out on another trip. This time the WWI/WWII tour to Luxembourg and France.
I´m not sure how to really describe this weekend, it wasn´t fun, but it was really interesting and something I think everyone should at least learn about if not see for themselves. We started off by going to the American and German cemetaries in Luxembourg, they were both very different but did show just how devasting WWI was for the soldiers on both sides. After a stop at one of the many forts along the Western Front, where we rode a train inside to get around, we headed to Metz, France where we saw a bit of the city before having the night off. Saturday was the hard day, we started off with heading to Verdun, a WWI battlefield with terrible loses. We started by going to the museum and then to the Douaumont Ossuary, this was the worst part of the weekend. This building is the tomb of 130,000 German and French soldiers that died during the fighting at Douaumont/ Verdun, they know the names of the soldiers but were not able to identify the specific bodies of each man. The ossuary is has all of the bones in what I guess can be called a basement, and there are little windows in where you can see the bones, I´m not sure I would recommend it and in the inside are all of the names and a little chapel. The ossuary is also situated right across from a very large French cemetary, and the image in its entirity is just heartbreaking. After that difficult moment we went to the Douamont Fort, it was again not super uplifting but interesting to see another instance of how soldiers defended themselves, but how the men in charge of the fort would switch throughout the war. We then had lunch, and it was a much needed break from the really depressing day so far. After lunch we headed to Reims, France, along the way, and as was done most of the time in the bus we watched movies or documentaries on the war, mostly all on WWI. In Reims we had a champagne tasting, and that was a very nice way to bring up the day, I even bought a bottle :-) We had the night free and all did dinner in small groups. The next day was Sunday and with the hope of making it back to Brussels early, we headed off. We saw the cathedral in Reims, where kings of France had to be crowned to make it official, and then we headed off to another fort, but this time they were really just caves. The tourguide in the caves was fantastic, he had so much passion for what he was teaching us about and he knew so much, you could tell that he did his own research on the subject and he just made it incredible. After the caves and lunch we began our trek back to Brussels, with a quick stop at the train car where the Armistice was signed, and we also saw the room in Reims where the WWII peace treaty had been signed earlier that day. We made it back early and after a good dinner of Chinese I made it back to the house.
It was a long weekend but it really did show the horrors of what the first and second world war did for the world.
Since then I have been busy at homework, with my present computer problem, it has a virus and isn´t working, I have been at the school computers or on Eddie´s (he is very nice in letting me use it when I need to) in order to finish a paper that was due yesterday, and now i have 2 more due this coming week. Neither of these papers will be too much work luckily.
I am in shock that December is almost here, I honestly feel like I just arrived in Europe and happened to do a lot of traveling in the first week, the fact that I have been here for almost 4 months is crazy to me, and I am not ready for it to end. Going home will be amazing, and seeing everyone will be great but I am going to miss Brussels, my host family, roommate, and all my friends I have made here terribly. Well maybe I should get to working on my papers, or buying train tickets for when my mom gets here, I´m sure everyone can guess which one is going to happen. I am really excited for my mom to get here, and I can´t wait to show her the city I have grown to love!