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Journals from 2008 Semester Abroad in Galway, Ireland

2008-03-13 Traveling

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Here is an earthwork combined with a masonry castle.

Greetings! We have officially been in Galway, Ireland for two months now. I am not sure where the time has gone. I had a field trip for my Development of the Medieval Castle course a few weeks ago. Who knew that there are so many forms of castles? Most people, including myself, strictly think of masonry castle or castles built of stone. However, during the 10th-13th centuries most castles were primarily constructed out of earth and timber. We saw loads of pictures in class, but it was more interesting to see the castles in person. I will have to admit that if I passed one of the remaining earthworks without having taken the course, I would have thought it was simply a hill. This is primarily because the timber structures no longer survive " wood does not weather well in the amount of rain that Ireland receives. This last week I was in Edinburgh, Scotland for four days. I had the opportunity to travel around the city and do a day tour. Key attractions I was able to visit were the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, Royal Museum and Museum of Scotland, St. Giles Cathedral, Parliament, the Highlands, and Loch Ness. Although there are numerous newer buildings in Edinburgh, the architecture of the buildings has remained faithful to the historical buildings that survive in the city. I had an incredible time and would recommend that others consider visiting as well. We are soon approaching Easter break. Unlike in the States, our break is two weeks long. All nine of us are looking forward to traveling more throughout Europe during this time. Additionally, most of us are excited to see our friends and family that are visiting during the break. I have a friend coming over and we will be traveling throughout Ireland and Germany. Other countries students are planning to visit are: Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands. I think there are a few more countries that should be on that list, though. As I have continued to travel, I have developed a few helpful travel hints. 1. Be aware of the exchange rates. 2. Budget to spend a certain amount per day. 3. Seek out grocery stores - buy groceries for breakfast and lunch. 4. If staying within a city for a short period, do a day tour. 5. Hostels are generally the cheapest place to stay. 6. Travel in smaller groups (3-5 people). 7. Make sure you check timetables for transportation to and from airports because public transportation (buses and trains) does not run 24 hours a day " at least not in Ireland. Aside from traveling, things are going smoothly, except the fact we have had about two weeks of clouds and rain. I am hoping that things will clear up soon. Flowers are beginning to bloom, which is a sure sign of spring. It is also staying lighter a lot longer " until about seven now. Although time has changed already in Oregon, it has not changed here yet. We spring forward an hour on March 30, 2008. I found a new favorite pub " Busker Browns. The food is tasty. I had Guinness Stew the last time I was there. I also found a little bakery at the end of a small shopping mall. I had a piece of Black Forest, which is a chocolate cream cake with berries in the center. It was smooth and not too sweet. I am looking forward to trying some more of their pastries in the near future. Something I havent talked about yet is my housing situation. I am living with one other Linfield student and two Irish students " one a first year, the other a second year " in a four-room apartment. Both Irish roommates are incredibly friendly and talkative. Just as we were warned prior to coming, the Irish are into politics. It is amazing how much they know not only about their own politics, but also the States. From talking to them and watching television, I have picked up a few more words: Lorries " Semi trucks Mark " Grade Plaster " Band-aid Hob " Stove Brown Bread " Wheat bread Pancakes " What Americans generally call crepes That is all for now! Victoria H.

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