Praha

Praha (Prague in Czech) is easily one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. Even though it was 95 degrees the whole time we were there, it was hard not to be exploring every second. 

While in Prague I saw The Charles Bridge, The Lennon Peace Wall, The Prague Castle, and many other tourist attractions. I'm not really one for tourist attractions but all of these couldn't be missed! 



Cork & Blarney

Two weeks ago I went to Cork, which is the second biggest city in Ireland. While I was in the area I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go to The Blarney Castle and kiss The Blarney Stone. If you kiss the Blarney Stone, legend says that you will possess the gift of gab, or eloquence. Blarney, to the Irish, means to be cleaver or skilled at flattery. 


Galway & The Cliffs Of Moher

I'm pretty sure at this point all of my friends and family from home don't believe that I have a job. They really think that there's no way I could be going in to work and simultaneously running all over Ireland. Let me tell you with some planning, I make it work! Over the weekend I went to Galway and did some site seeing in town as well as at The Cliffs Of Moher. 

Galway is off the west coast of Ireland, it is a really breathtaking city! 

During my time in Galway, I was fortunate enough to go to The Cliffs Of Moher. I went on a boat ride through the bottom of the cliffs and then was taken to see them from the top. The comparison of the bottom from the top was startling! The Cliffs rise an incredible 702 feet and are Ireland's most popular natural tourist attraction!  In addition I visited the Aran Island's and went biking! 

Switzerland

I spent the weekend hiking in the Swiss countryside and you know what they say... A picture is worth a thousand words! 

Saturday was spent hiking up to the highest point in Interlaken, Switzerland. 

Sunday we hiked in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss alps to Wengen and Lauterbrunnen. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral & The Jameson Whiskey Distillery

Yesterday I continued my quest to explore more of Dublin. I went to St. Patrick's Cathedral and since it was Sunday I was lucky enough to attend Catholic mass. St. Patrick's Cathedral is a beautiful piece of architecture that dates back to 1220. The Cathedral is built in honor of Ireland's patron saint, Saint Patrick.  

Later that day I went to The Jameson Whiskey Distillery to take a tour of how whiskey is made. As a chemical engineering major, it was interesting to see the process of distillation first hand. 

Trinity College & The Book Of Kells

Today I spent the weekend in Dublin and visited some of the city's popular tourist attractions. I went to Trinity College, which has some of the most beautiful architecture in Dublin. Trinity College is home to The Old Library and The Book Of Kells. The Old Library was constructed in the 18th century and The Book Of Kells is more than a thousand years old! The Book Of Kells is a beautifully decorated hand written copy of the four gospels, in Latin. It was created by the monks of Iona on calfskin and written with natural inks. As a bibliophile it was wonderful to be in a place with such a rich history. 

 

After visiting Trinity College I went to walk around St. Stephen's Green which is a massive park in the middle of the city. The weather was perfect so the green was incredibly crowded! St. Stephen's Green is gigantic, with approximately five miles of trails it contains a pond, water fountain, and a children's play ground. We set up a hammock and spent some time enjoying the beautiful weather!  

The Countryside of Northern Ireland

While I was in Northern Ireland I was lucky enough to be able to visit some of the beautiful countryside.

One of my favorite places that I went was The Giant's Causeway. There are a few different versions of the tale but legend says that the Causeway was built as a bridge by two giants, one Irish and one Scottish, who wanted to fight each other. The Irish giant realizes that the Scottish one is too strong for him so he disguises himself as a baby. When the Scottish giant comes and sees how big the Irish giants baby is he is terrified away imagining how big the actual Irish giant could be. As he is running home he tears up the Causeway making it look as it does now. 

Another place that I went was Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The Rope Bridge is famous for linking to a small island called Carrickarede. It is near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The rope bridge was built by fisherman but was eventually bought by The National Trust. A fun fact is that a lot of episodes of Game of Thrones are filmed near this location. Some of the scenes are filmed at this very bridge! This whole area was beyond beautiful and incredibly scenic! 

The City of Belfast

I have officially been in Dublin, Ireland for one week and it has been nothing short of amazing! Over the weekend I decided to get out of the city and go to Northern Ireland, which is technically a part of the United Kingdom and not Ireland. 

Belfast, Northern Ireland has a very rich and tumultuous history. For those of you who don't know Belfast is the biggest city (and capital) in Northern Ireland.  Belfast has been the site of political issues for hundreds of years. When I was in the city I took a Black Cab Tour (which I highly recommend) to learn more about the city's political history. 

Murals for peace and in remembrance of murdered citizens who fought for equality. 

Murals for peace and in remembrance of murdered citizens who fought for equality. 

Belfast was the site of what are known as The Troubles. The Troubles were a period where Catholics and Protestants clashed over religious views and whether or not they wished to be a part of England or Ireland. During The Troubles terror was widespread and there were many victims of violence. What I didn't know was that, to this day, segregation is still rampant in the city. The tour guide (who was Catholic) was incredibly passionate about the subject and informed us that Catholics and Protestants do not associate with each other at all. He took us to both Catholic and Protestant sides of the city and told us about the murals and memorial sites located all around the city. We were also able to see The Peace Wall. The Peace wall was erected as a way to keep Catholics and Protestants segregated for the safety of the citizens. It was chilling to see the way the wall cut through hundreds of residential areas and people's backyards. 

The Europe Hotel was at one point the most bombed Hotel in the world 

The Europe Hotel was at one point the most bombed Hotel in the world 

The city of Belfast is beautiful and it was such a life changing experience to be able to visit it.