12.04.2011 - 13.04.2011 12 °C
Yesterday, I was trying to be productive at 9pm, when I suddenly get a frantic phone call from Amir. He had just gotten off work, where he was offered to take a special class in order to be able to work in a different section for El Al. This 3-week class would be in Israel. And he was flying out tomorrow (today) AND they were going to make him work the morning of the flight. He would be back May 20, two days after I'm leaving for Chicago. I immediately took the train to Chateau d'Eau (not a good area at all - he met me at the station) and spent at hour with him, going over what he had to pack and chatting. Saying good-bye was not fun at all. But these Israelis love to travel, so at least there's hope of seeing some of them in Chicago, or at least back in Israel. It was supposed to be the other way around! They were supposed to be saying good-bye to ME! Now that makes Henry and Amir. I hope no one else leaves early...
Daniela and I woke up this morning early in order to go to the famous Parisian Catacombes, which happen to be right near our school. This is an underground cave with skulls and dead things that have accumulated over the years. Not so sure why it's famous, but since it is, we figured we'd give it a try. Not that we're morbid or anything...We thought it opened at 9am; we got there, saw 3 people standing in line, and found out it opened at 10am. It was quite cold outside, very different from the other nice days we have been having! We decided to go to school and sit in the computer lab for a bit, and then go back to the Catacombes. We came back at 9:50am, only to see a long line! We didn't think that so many people would be there right at the beginning, and on a cold day, too! We stood in line, hoping to be able to get to the front by 10:30am (Daniela had a class at 11am and I had a lunch rendez-vous at noon). Didn't happen. We made it 1/3 of the way. Maybe, just maybe, we would have gotten in at 11am. Darn! That was so annoying! We rescheduled it for next Thursday.
I had a wonderful lunch date with my two French girfriends from Negocia (Montaine, who goes by Monty, and Laura), the business school where I'm taking one class. They suggested a cute restaurant called WATT, right near the Sorbonne. Yep, the Frenchies know where to go for food and not-so-expensive food! The menu was a make-it-yourself kind: salad, pasta, fish, and meat. I had eating a bit beforehand, so I wasn't hungry enough for that. Instead, I had a pumpkin soup, a tapas that was a little piece of bread with cheese (St. Marcellin) and confiture du figue (fig jam) on it, and a tiny pot of chocolate with pralines for dessert. Total: 12 euro. Yumminess level: 100%
French class got cancelled today because Mme. Benoit had to go to a funeral ( :-( ), but we were all secretly happy. The next session, we are all meeting at her house in the southern suburbs (apprently, a really nice area) for hors d'oeuvres and a round table discussion about the French books we've read and the CORE project we recently handed in. I'm very much looking forward!
Tomorrow, I'm going to Versailles in the morning, by myself. It's a bit sad, but no one wants to join me. A lot of people are going to be in Geneva, Switzerland this weekend - two polysci classes are going. This includes Daniela. Oh well. But, on Sunday, I'm going to Giverny with Caroline, Raphael (Moroccan Jew randomly met through Amir), and possibly Deb and Jenny. I'm so excited!
Now, to continue my Ireland adventures!
Facebook photo album:
Tuesday, April 12
We left Galway early in the morning (11am being early for us). We drove through scenic areas with lots of ruined little stone houses. There were also more pieces of watchtowers. It seemed like there was a ruin every 5 minutes! We climbed to another watchtower, this one more intact. We also spent time on a limestone bed on the coast. It was gorgeous. Toward the late afternoon, we made it to the Cliffs of Mohar. Wow, what magic G-d creates! No wonder they are extolled in every guidebook. There was supposed to be a puffin colony somewhere, but we couldn’t find it! We took a car ferry across a river to the tiny town of Terbart. It was 8:15pm when we were on the ferry, the exact time that I was supposed to register for classes at Loyola for next semester! That morning, I was in a panic, because Henry told me he wasn’t sure we would be near internet in the evening so that I could sign up for classes. I hurriedly sent an email to Mom and Dad, explaining how to sign me up for classes in case I couldn’t do it. We sped off the car ferry into Terbart; the first thing we saw was a hostel! I ran in and asked to use their wifi. The nice man let us, for free, and, using Henry’s computer, it being 8:40pm already, I hurriedly signed on to my school account. To my huge relief, I saw that my parents had signed me up for classes, and that I was only waitlisted for an evening class, which I was sure would open up (lo and behold, it did, a few days ago). THANK YOU so much to my parents!! I was SO worried! I had to get into all those classes in order to be able to start the 5-year BBA/MBA program Spring ’12. After the panic, we all went to get dinner at an Asian restaurant, surprisingly located in this tiny, middle-of-nowhere Irish town. The Korean waitress was so nice! She even brought Henry extra rice and kimchi from the kitchen because he said that he missed it and used to eat it before. She told us that she and her business partner opened the restaurant just the last week! We were even the first to sign the guestbook (but not the first to eat there, of course). She said that it was rare for Koreans to actually live in Ireland. Some come to learn English but go back afterwards. She said she likes it and finds it peaceful. It was sad to say good-bye to her, but we had to be off and find shelter for the night in Tralee, a bigger town an hour away. When we got there, it was close to midnight. The hostel was, unbelievably, closed, and so were the Bed&Breakfasts. We meandered around in the car for a while, hoping to find something. Henry suggested we sleep in the car for the night. Daniela and I looked at him, horrified! Of course, army/guy/experienced traveler Henry could sleep in the car no problem. But Elina and Daniela had other plans. We told Henry to return to the main street, where we had spotted a bar/hotel earlier. Thankfully, because of the bar, it was still open. The nice host let us have a 2-person room for 3. There was a bed big enough for Daniela and I and a single bed for Henry. For 60 euro. Not bad; thank goodness for the host! It was wonderful to sleep in a nice bed that night and not worry about hostel showers the next morning.
Wednesday, April 13
We left the hotel at 11am. We drove to the Dingle Peninsula (Henry wouldn’t stop making fun of the name!), which was highly recommended to us by Damien. It started raining in a misty way, giving the gorgeous Irish country landscape a different touch of beauty and freshness. The heavy rain clouds gave off a foggy mirage when they heaved over some small mountains. Yep, Ireland does have some small mountains. We saw more sheep, of course. When we got to the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, we stopped to eat some pub food at a nice place. We walked around the small port, but it was raining, so we hurried back to the car. Then, we drove right back the way we came from Tralee. We didn’t have enough time to round the Dingle coast, because we had to turn the car in by 7pm in Dublin. Any driving in Ireland is worth the trip, but this would not be worth if it if we were going to be late getting into Dublin, where they would charge us an extra day’s worth of car rental for tardiness. As it is, each of us had to pay 120 euro for the car for the trip! Ouf! Were we going to make it? It would be the longest drive yet. Amazingly, we made it, with 15 minutes to spare. We only stopped for bathroom breaks. We took the bus to the city center afterwards and found our last hostel: Paddy’s Palace of Dublin. Not part of the same chain as in (London)Derry. Henry left his stuff in our room, since he had an hour and a half in Dublin before he had to jump on a plane to Scotland (lucky duck!) where he would be staying until Saturday night. He has a friend from the army there. So, we walked around town a bit on one of the main shopping streets. We saw Dublin’s spire and stood over the bridge, admiring the river that divides the city into two. Then, Daniela and I sadly said good-bye to Henry. He would be leaving Paris for good the following Tuesday. He is going back to his home town of Waco, Texas for the summer before he gets stationed in Germany for a couple years.