Wanderlust: 20 Places I Want to See

This past year, I have made it a goal of mine to travel as much as I can—to take advantage of opportunities that allow me to see the world.

The first time I flew on a plane, I was 18 years old traveling to Orlando for a journalism conference. I remember I was shaking in my seat, my travel companion talking me down that anxiety. I remember the plane taking off—I immediately felt a sense of excitement and calm.

That rush of the unexpected and possibility. When I was a little girl, I did not see myself seeing the world even though I yearned to. I was afraid of the unknown—afraid to take risks and try new things.

I have come a long way since my first flight to Orlando. Since then, I’ve traveled to Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Colorado, France, Montrèal, Ireland—and many more places that have inspired me and provided some of the best memories. I thought that it would be fun to share a list of 20 places I want to visit domestic and international (in alphabetical order):

  1. Arizona (particularly Grand Canyon and Monument Valley)
  2. Australia
  3. Barcelona
  4. California (all of it!)
  5. Civil Rights Trail in the Southern U.S.
  6. Fiji
  7. Greece
  8. Hawaii
  9. Iceland
  10. Italy
  11. London (November 2018!)
  12. Nashville and Memphis
  13. New Zealand
  14. Paris (September 2019!)
  15. Prague and Vienna
  16. Quebec City
  17. Scandinavia (Finland, Sweden, Norway)
  18. Scotland and Northern Ireland
  19. Seattle & Vancouver
  20. Switzerland

How about you? Have you been anywhere on my list? Thanks for reading and keeping up with my journey.

 

 

 

The best of mystery: Ruth Ware

Greetings, Bookworms!

As an adult, my taste in genres has broadened, and I find myself reaching for mystery novels more and more. Lately, my wish list and Goodreads account have consisted of Agatha Christie, the queen of murder and mystery. I also gravitate toward female novelists who are making strides in the genre and write about strong, female protagonists, like Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, Kate Morton, and one of my favorites, Ruth Ware. All of these women have kept me up at night and I couldn’t be any more thankful!

I consumed Ruth Ware’s latest novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, in less than four days. I closed it wanting more and yearning to revisit her books. When it comes to Ruth Ware’s books, I follow the same ritual: I’d get the novel, open the book, and be entranced finishing them in days rather than weeks, loving every minute of the story.

Because I wanted to revisit her novels, I thought it would be fun to rank her novels and give a few reasons why I love them (without giving away too many spoilers). I have never done anything like this before! Excited!

OK, here goes:

 

westaway

 

Left to fend for herself after her mother passes away, twenty-one-year-old Hal Westaway receives a mysterious letter detailing her grandmother’s death and that she is receiving a substantial inheritance. But there’s a mistake: Hester Westaway is not Hal’s grandmother. Broke and desperate, Hal decides to visit the house anyway and deceive the family and claim the money. Hal then journeys to the house, a sprawling, beautiful English estate, and soon discovers that there is something very wrong about the family…and the inheritance.

What I love about this book:

  • The TAROT: After her mother dies, Hal takes over her tarot reading kiosk on the pier. Weaving tarot into the story creates such a magical and spellbinding element, making it even more mysterious and intriguing.
  • The setting: Trepassen House is old and filled with secrets. The sprawling fields, overgrown maze, rickety boathouse, and creepy, unkept qualities add so much to the story. I found myself wishing Hal explored it more—especially the maze!
  • The sisterhood: There are many moments of sisterhood in this novel. From the love between a mother and daughter to the love between two best friends, this novel is about the importance of love and sacrifice. You’ll see!

 

lying game

When remains of a body are found on a beach in a coastal village, Isla receives a group text message from her high school best friend that she needs help. When her two other friends respond “I’m coming,” she finds herself on a train to help Kate. Once inseparable, the four friends—Kate, Fatima, Thea, and Isla, discover that their well-kept secret isn’t as concealed as they thought. The four close friends must take out a page of their old book, and the Lying Game makes a comeback.

What I love about this book:

  • The nostalgia: Although I do not know the characters, what I love about this book is how relatable the nostalgia can be. Have you ever seen a friend from high school or early college years and relived those memories with them, looking back at the old times? That’s what this book is like—although, their past is a little darker than mine.
  • The unreliable narrator. The unreliable everyone: I used to hate the unreliable narrator…until this book. I loved not knowing what was true and even the uncertainty of the truth. You realize, as the reader, that you are part of the Lying Game. Even when you close the book, you still don’t fully know the truth.
  • The outcome: Oh, you just don’t see it coming. The ending of this book is tremendous, filled with action and lots of heartbreak.

 

dark dark wood

Ware’s debut novel, In a Dark, Dark Wood, follows the story of Lenora, a reclusive writer who finds herself attending her old best friend’s weekend getaway in a creepy glass house. When Nora wakes up in a hospital bed and learns that she might be responsible for a murder, she tries to put the pieces together, revisiting her dark past and trying to find out the truth.

What I love about this book:

  • Again, that idea of the unreliable narrator: Nora, whose memory is altered after the incident, does not know what is real. As she lies in the hospital and eventually revisits the glass house, Nora puts the pieces together and discovers the truth.
  • The Agatha Christie-esque collection of characters. It reminded me a lot of And Then There Were None or Murder on the Orient Express. All of the characters had their own suspicious qualities about them, and you find yourself unable to trust any of them.
  • The planchette: The characters, drunk and wanting to have fun, use a planchette to “break the ice” among the group, and while it’s all fun and games, some characters find what the planchette writes out is a little too close to the truth. So creepy!

 

cabin 10

In The Woman in Cabin 10, Lo, a writer for a travel magazine, boards a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. One night, Lo wakes up to a loud noise and splash. When she looks outside, she notices blood smeared on the glass of cabin 10’s veranda. There was a murder on the boat, and no one believes her. It becomes her mission, then, to discover who is missing from the boat, and boy, does she get in trouble.

What I love about this book:

  • From the minute you open the book, you’re on edge: A life-changing, dangerous incident happens in Lo’s life that sets the tone for the rest of the novel. The thrill is there right from the start!
  • The most suspenseful and unnerving action happens in this novel: Lo certainly goes through a lot to solve this puzzle. Ware definitely tried something new with what happens to Lo—and she succeeds in that hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-standing-up thing.
  • The odd sense of sisterhood: Lo finds herself making a strong connection with the most unlikely of characters, and you end the novel feeling a little sympathetic towards that character and happy with the outcome.

 

This was fun!

Readers: Have you read any of Ruth Ware’s books? How would you rank them?

And Readers: If you haven’t read any of Ware’s novels, what are you waiting for?

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back: A Conversation with a WWII POW

On this day four years ago, I was sitting under the hot sun at Omaha Beach in Normandy listening to President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande speak about the importance of liberty and friendship.

Who would have thought I would ever write that sentence—not me!

In 2014, less than a month after I graduated with my Bachelors, I traveled to France with a group of fellow journalism students from Central Connecticut State University to cover the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Looking back, I realized then that it was a tremendous opportunity. Now, four years later, I there is nothing I wouldn’t do to relive those moments.

All of my classmates had their goals for the trip. For one who is deeply connected to history, I knew that my biggest goal was to meet someone who fought 70 years ago on those beaches and share their story.

The first three days of our trip were filled with heavy emotions. I remember standing on a silent Omaha Beach letting the wind whip through my hair as I looked out into the vast ocean. We walked along the innumerable rows of white crosses at the American Cemetery, reading the names and paying our respects to the nearly 10,000 soldiers who lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

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We visited Pointe du Hoc, the highest point between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach.  I walked inside the bunkers, originally under German occupancy before American troops captured the area while scaling the cliffs. I remember looking out into the water from one of the edges of the point and taking in the scenery, wondering how a place so beautiful could host such dark and scary moments in history.

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After the commemoration on June 5, our group stood outside waiting for the buses to bring us back from the beach to our designated location. It was an excruciatingly hot day, and my friends and I went to the shade. We then met Bernie Rader and his grandson, Brad, and we talked while waiting for the bus. We casually asked where they were from, and the grandson replied that he was from Connecticut. A town, in fact, not too far from us.

I could not explain the amount of excitement we felt. I remember my classmates and I immediately went into “journalist” mode and started to ask Bernie questions. As soon as we started the interview, his bus came. Heartbroken, we watched the bus drive away. Throughout the rest of the day, I ached to learn more about Bernie and his experience. His kind face and eagerness to share his story stayed in my mind, and I made it my mission to find the Raders and share Bernie’s story.

Long story short, I found him, and later that summer, I met up with Bernie in Connecticut and we had lunch. It was then that I heard his story and wrote my article for the class.

Please read Bernie’s story and remember those who gave up so much so we could be free today. Also, please read and check out all of the other awesome work my class did that summer!

 

 

 

Need free, beautiful images for your blog? Try Pixabay!

Hey everyone!

A few people have reached out to me asking what resource I use for some of my images, so I thought I’d write a post about it!

I discovered Pixabay a few years ago when I was a Content Producer for a local startup. I was covering education, pop culture, and other topics, and I found myself scrambling for copyright free images to use in my articles.

Pixabay is a super cool, life-saving resource consisting of a community of photographers and artists who share their copyright free images and videos. All content is released under a license that makes it safe for bloggers and writers to use the images without attribution—even for commercial uses!

When I am not posting traveling photos or my own amateur photography on my blog, I turn to Pixabay, and I am usually able to find the content I need. All you have to do is search specific keywords and there you go! Hundreds of images at your fingertips. These artists are absolutely incredible, and I always am pleased with the quality. If you can’t tell, one of my aesthetics is photographs of coffee, colorful journals, and pens! When I search “coffee” or “office,” I find tons of beautiful photos. Here are some examples:

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Cute, huh?! I’m sure you’ve seen the bottom one on my blog before—it’s so peaceful and inspirational!

I can’t thank the photographers and artists enough for sharing their content so that amateur photographers like me can write tips and tricks and bring beauty to my website. While I do plan on using my own photography more on my blog (which I am starting to do), Pixabay is a helpful resource to find images for all sorts of projects!

What are some of your favorite blogging resources? Please share in the comments!

 

 

 

Reflection: Themes for 2018

Hi all! We are halfway through the new year, and I thought it might be fun to check in and see where I am so far with my “themes” for 2018.

Back in January, I shared my two themes for 2018: Perform and Travel. I noticed that these were two lifestyles that I wanted to incorporate into my life. I spent my entire childhood performing, but I stopped when I got to college. After seeing a beautiful production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” I realized that I wanted to be back on the stage again! Back in August 2017, my husband and I traveled to Montreal, and we realized that we wanted to see more of the world. So, we made it our goal to travel more! Reflecting on my year thus far, I am super proud that I have been making progress in reaching my goals.

When you make goals, it’s a great exercise to reflect and see how far you are coming to reaching them. If you notice that you have a long way to go, you could always modify your goals, or set smaller actionable steps that you can take to get to your predetermined finish line! It’s also a rewarding reflection process: If you are close to reaching your goals, or if you already met them, celebrate! You are awesome and moving in a positive direction!

Let’s go back.

In the start of the new year, I set two goals for “Perform:”

  1. Try out and perform in a public setting for a local community theater
  2. Practice my guitar/singing twice a week and share progress through videos

In April, I auditioned for and landed a solo in a local community theater’s spring cabaret! Not only did I encounter the nerves of auditioning in front of strangers, but I also had the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. It was an exhilarating experience; even though I listened to the recording and had plenty of remarks and criticisms, I had to recognize that it was a big step to get up and do it—and I had so much fun!

And now, I have joined a community theater! A few weeks ago, I tried out to be cast in the theater’s fall production, “Young Frankenstein. ” and I am thrilled to say that I will be a part of it.

So, the second goal: I am still working on that one! For those who do not know, I also go to graduate school. This past semester was incredible because I had the opportunity to be a graduate assistant and help teach a 17th-century British literature course! With a full-time job, three classes, and a cabaret to rehearse for, I found myself with little time for leisure! Now that it’s summer, I will be able to focus on practicing guitar. I plan on writing down practice time in my planner and sticking to it so I can meet my goal this year.

I did, however, have some time to play guitar at my sister’s birthday party and even posted a video on my Facebook page! Progress!

Now, let’s turn to my goals for “Travel:”

  1. Travel outside of the country at least once and write about my experiences
  2. Take more spontaneous trips and explore the state and area that I live in and write about my experiences

When I made these goals back in January, I admittedly knew that I would meet one of them right away. In March, Ian and I traveled all around Ireland. We originally planned to do this for our honeymoon but decided to wait another year. Boy, was it worth the wait! If you follow my blog regularly, I’m sure you read about our experiences!

We are working on scheduling smaller trips this summer, and I cannot wait to share our adventures with you! In fact, we just took a road trip to Burlington, Vermont this past weekend. Take a look!

Thank you to all of my followers for reading and keeping it “kassual.” What are your goals for this year or overall life goals? Feel free to share them in the comments!

 

A weekend getaway|Burlington, VT

This weekend, we took a road trip with our friends to one of our favorite spots, Burlington, Vermont. We always seem to visit Burlington when it rains or when it is cold, but it is still a fun town with lots to do and see (and eat!). We had a great day!

Ian and I first visited Burlington in November of 2015. We had a great weekend exploring the city, eating comfort food and trying out craft beers. Though we did find some sunshine on a bike ride, this was my usual look:

burrrrlington

 

This time, it was a lot warmer and we were able to stick to a couple of layers and be a little more comfortable. I wanted to share a few photos of our day!

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We walked up and down Church Street exploring the shops and stopping at a few places for some snacks: Champlain Chocolatier for some fudge and hot cocoa is definitely a must! This street is filled with character: musicians, kiosks, and all types of restaurants from a quick bite to a sit-down meal.

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We stopped into one of my favorite bookstores: Crow Bookshop. It’s filled with new and used books.

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And of course, we made sure to walk down to the waterfront and enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain.

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I hope you enjoyed a small glimpse into my weekend. Have you been to Burlington? What are some of your favorite spots?

Check-In to Airbnb

Here is a guest blog post by my husband, Ian, about our experience with Airbnb!

We have now used Airbnb for two trips which officially qualifies us to have an opinion. We have received many questions about this service. While we were a bit hesitant at first and were still hesitant after just an OK, first-time experience, we have grown to love it!

We encourage each of you to consider it for your next trip! Even better, go on there without a trip in mind and see what you discover!

These are the 3 most common questions we receive about Airbnb:

Q: Why would you use an Airbnb?

A: There is one fantastic reason to use Airbnb: price. For the same price as a motel where you might catch something viral, you can stay in a two-bedroom in a trendy new Boston suburb next to a cafe bistro that was featured on the Food Network. While camping is probably the ultimate option for cheap travel, I prefer to do my camping indoors….with soap….and without the fear of bears.

Just as a reference, our trip to Ireland cost less than $700 in lodging for 8 nights.

Q: Do your hosts talk to you?

A: Yes. And that is okay! A big part of Airbnb is the communication between the host and guest. In fact, you are both rated on it.

As for in-person communication, that depends entirely on your stay. The reality is that if you are using Airbnb, then you and your host share a yin for this type of social interaction. We have stayed in four places. Once we never met our host, once we met a friend who showed us in, and twice we met and conversed daily with our hosts. Each experience worked for us.

At our Airbnb in Kenmare, we met Flor, a multi-generational dairy farmer in Ireland. In Fanore, we met John, a widower who found a new purpose in life providing rental opportunities to people to see his corner of the world. We have been empowered through our experiences to see and hear about a new part of the world. The stories of our hosts truly enhanced our visit.

Take time to read the guest book of each Airbnb. You never know who stayed before you, their stories, or where they are from! It’s a cosmic experience.

Q: Is it clean?

A: I have yet to see an Airbnb as spotless as a hotel, but an Airbnb feels lived in. It is cozier and personal than a hotel so don’t let a few dusty corners deter you. Also, most come with a cleaning fee which is just proof for the nonbeliever that the homes are in fact cleaned.

Look around your house right now. Not every nook is spotless, yet you feel comfortable and at home. For reference, I walked around with no socks on at 3 of our 4 Airbnbs and I am usually in my crocs or socks in my own home! If I felt comfortable to go barefoot, then you can go for it and experience a new home away from home!

 

A few last tips:

  1. When you do your search, be specific with your filter. For us, every search starts with “Free parking on premises” (unless we are not driving) and “Wi-fi” because even in 2018 you’d be surprised who doesn’t offer Wi-fi.
  2. Read the reviews. Pictures can be deceiving, so make sure you read why people did or did not enjoy their stay. Try your best to be objective too. Just because SCIFIGUY78 thinks the breakfast place next door made runny eggs doesn’t mean you should look elsewhere…but if he says the bed is uncomfortable and that’s the third time you’ve seen that then maybe it’s a review worth respecting.
  3. Be exotic. Airbnb has opened our minds to new places and opportunities. We found a place in the XVI Arrondissement in Paris for less than $100 a night. Now we are planning a trip around it! Hotels cost at least twice that. You never know where your next destination might take you.
  4. Trust in humanity. The people who rent an Airbnb are nice and mean well. It is their business to give you an enjoyable home. Enjoy your stay and take advantage of their knowledge of the area. You never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn.

 

Bonus Material: I am into the NPR podcast How I Built This and one episode is about Airbnb. Listen to host Joe Gebbia talk about his entrepreneurship: https://one.npr.org/?sharedMediaId=497820565:497945288

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 Note: The image for this blog post is from one of our Airbnbs in Kenmare, Ireland. Look at that view!

 

Dublin | Day Three

We woke up a little later than usual on Wednesday, March 14, and we woke up to a lot of rain. Bummed that it was raining on our last full day in Dublin, we turned to look at the positives. We: 1) Got to experience real “Ireland weather” (as one of the baristas said to us at our breakfast spot); and 2) We had pretty good weather the first two days we were here! So, we added more layers and we were out the door!

Our first stop was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. With our Airbnb across the street, we decided to tour the inside on our last day. Luckily, the line wasn’t too long and we made it inside in record time, happy to be out of the rain! It is said that dating back to 450, Saint Patrick baptized people into Christianity in a well located in St. Patrick’s Park. The cathedral itself is beautiful and intricate—different from other cathedrals we have seen. We walked in and were swept away by its history and art. I was especially excited to see the memorial and burial site of Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and author of “Gulliver’s Travels.”

 

After the tour, we had brunch at Legit Coffee Co.—a place we definitely recommend. We enjoyed delicious hot beverages (I appreciated its variety of non-dairy alternatives for lattes) and a spread of eggs and toast and omelets. To avoid the rain (and listening to our tired bodies), we headed back to the Airbnb to dry off and get ready for our second stop of the day: Guinness Storehouse tour!

We made our way through the rainy streets of Dublin (which were actually beautiful and enjoyable!) and found ourselves at the Guinness Storehouse. This tour was definitely a little more commercial. You walked into the building (shaped like a giant pint glass) and start at the bottom in a self-guided tour. This is definitely a great way to spend half of your day (especially if it is rainy). There was no time limit and we enjoyed learning about the history of Guinness. Here are a few facts: Arthur Guinness signed a lease at the storehouse for 9,000 years—quite the risk taker. He also had 21 children, and 11 died. I also kind of like Guinness?! With your ticket, you get a free pint at the very top, the Gravity Bar, that overlooks the entire city of Dublin. It was very foggy and rainy, and the number of people in the bar made it a little steamy, so we weren’t able to see as much, but it was an awesome experience!

 

After the tour, we walked back to our Airbnb (in the rain…towards the wind! YAY!) and took a much-needed break. We then got ready for our dinner adventure—our first speakeasy, the Vintage Cocktail Club! All I can say is this was one of the coolest dining experiences of our life! We walked up to a secret front door, rang the bell, and we were swept upstairs and found ourselves in a gorgeous club with cushioned seats and fireplaces and tables. We sat in the bar area at a cozy table and had drinks, dinner, and dessert. It was such a great way to end the evening and our trip to Dublin!

 

Today, we drive (yes—we’re driving!) to Kenmare for our next installment. Dublin: You were amazing. See you again soon!

Dublin | Day Two

On Tuesday, March 13, we woke up to sunny skies and a busy day ahead of us. Note: Ireland is chilly (all the time!). Even in the summer, it doesn’t get past 67-68 degrees. Make sure you wear layers so that you can take them off/put them back on throughout the day. I always wore a long sleeve, fleece, and raincoat with jeans, leggings, boots and warm socks!

We made our way over to Trinity College (and stopped at Queen of Tarts for a couple of scones…Ian’s third scone of the trip!) to view the Book of Kells and the Trinity College Library. A few things: We purchased our tickets for the Book of Kells online, which made it easy to pass through. We also weren’t allowed to take photos inside the exhibit, but it was surreal and we definitely recommend it.

Now. To the Trinity College Library. The library itself is the largest library in Ireland. It began in 1592. In 1661, Henry James presented it with the Book of Kells, its most famous manuscript. The Long Room, a 213-foot chamber within the library was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the library’s oldest books. The room is also lined with marble busts of great philosophers, writers, and people who supported Trinity.

We both stood in awe in this room. I did three walk-throughs. One with my camera, the other two because I just couldn’t get enough of the place. As a couple of English nerds, we really enjoyed spending our time here. It was absolutely beautiful and a must-see if you are to visit Dublin.

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We explored the campus a little bit and then walked to O’Connell Street. O’Connell Street is Dublin’s grandest street that starts from the O’Connell Bridge through north Dublin. You start at the Trinity side of town and make your way up, ending at the Garden of Remembrance, a park honoring the victims of the 1916 uprising. What’s cool about this street is that you can see some cool statues and monuments, like the Daniel O’Connell monument (for whom the street is named; he was known as the “Liberator” for demanding Irish Catholic rights in British Parliament). You can also see Abbey Theatre, where nationalists (like Yeats) staged plays, the General Post Office, and more. We really enjoyed the walk, especially taking a rest in the Garden of Remembrance: a peaceful spot to relax and stretch after a long walk.

We then turned around and made our way to Ha’Penny Bridge, named for the halfpence toll that people used to pay to cross it. We took the pedestrian-only bridge and made our way to Temple Bar Square where we enjoyed the sights.

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After lunch, we walked over to Dublin Castle and bought tickets for a self-guided tour.  Dublin Castle was the seat of Irish rule for over 700 years; it is located where the rivers Liffey and Poddle came together, making a black pool (dubh linn in Irish). Dublin Castle was home to the viceroy who implemented the will of the British royalty. It was our first time visiting a castle; we loved being able to spend our time in each room and enjoy the atmosphere and take in the history. The tour ended with a look at the foundations of the Norman tower and the remains of the 13th-century town wall. There was another option for a guided tour, which takes you inside the chapel and into some other rooms as well.

 

After the castle tour, we walked over to St. Stephen’s Green to check out the park and all of the cool monuments there. We learned that it used to be a place with gory public executions in medieval times. Now, it’s a grassy refuge for Dubliners. The three main monuments and statues I wanted to check out were the Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and the WB Yeats statue. I was a little disappointed in Joyce, but it was a great park and fun to see people relaxing on benches and taking in the greenery.

 

After our walk through St. Stephen’s, we walked through Grafton Street again to find some dinner—success! We had some delicious Italian food at Milano. We wanted to have dessert and some drinks (and it started to rain) so we came across a bar, Davy Byrnes, where we enjoyed an Irish coffee (and a few beers!) and watched the game (that’s Irish talk for soccer). Tired, we made our way back to our Airbnb and fell into our bed after a long, fun day in Dublin!

 

Dublin | Day One

Greetings from Dublin! The past two days have been a whirlwind of walking, eating, and gawking at the beauty this city brings. We arrived yesterday morning exhausted from our plane ride but still hoping to get some of Dublin in before crashing. We made it to our Airbnb and we were not disappointed. It’s literally right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We dropped our stuff off and got a quick bite to eat at a cafe across the street (Ian had his first-ever scone), and then walked along St. Patrick’s Park. The park is beautiful and we were struck by the greenery and gardens (something we haven’t seen at home in months). It’s a nice park with a beautiful fountain in the middle with a scenic view of the cathedral. There were plenty of people walking their dogs, strolling along the paths—it is so nice to have this park right across the street!

 

We then made our way past the park and stumbled across a beautiful black gate. Curious, we walked up the steps and came across an old library called Marsh’s Library. In fact, Marsh’s Library is the oldest public library in Dublin! Marsh’s library was founded in the early 18th century by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh. It was designed in 1712 and it is one of the very few 18th-century buildings left in Dublin used for its original purpose. The collections from the library include books from Marsh and Elias Bouhéreau, the first librarian when the library was opened. Visiting the library and looking at the books was surreal; we weren’t able to take photos so we will have to rely on my memory for this one! Two more amazing facts about this library. First, to stop book thieves, reading rooms were locked from the outside and patrons would have to ring a bell to get out (Not sure how effective this was since they had an exhibit of stolen books that have been recovered over the centuries)! Second, we stood in the reading room where James Joyce and Bram Stoker studied! Overall, this was truly a hidden gem.

After a rest in our Airbnb, Ian and I traveled to Teeling Distillery where we took a whiskey tour (Ian had his second scone that day before the tour to fill up). Whiskey plays a large part of Irish history and Teeling is playing a big role in it today. It is the first distillery to open in Dublin in 125 years and is leading the renaissance of Irish whiskey. It was very interesting seeing how whiskey was made and having the chance to try some (not too big of a fan, but it was good!) I then had my first-ever Irish Coffee—now that I enjoyed! It was a cool tour and we highly recommend.

 

 

After the tour, we walked to Grafton Street, Dublin’s premier shopping district where we roamed the streets and poked into some shops. It was super eclectic filled with musicians, retail stores, bars, and lots of friendly people! We stopped at a restaurant for some dinner and drinks called Catch 22 where we had a nice fish sandwich and chips.

Exhausted from the time change, we walked back to our Airbnb (and realized that we are in a great, central area for ideal city walking!) and went to bed early knowing that we had a busy day ahead of us!

Our second day in Dublin coming soon!

-Kassondra and Ian