This blog has been a long time coming. I didn’t want to forget a single moment of the trip, so I took my time.
When I told people I was heading to Europe, their first sentiment was, “WOW, be careful.” Do I look like the type of girl who often endangers herself? Although we did end up in ghetto of EACH city we visited, I made it home alive. I’d love to share with you my findings from each city.
D U B L I N
My impression of what Dublin would be like: A bunch of drunk red-headed happy folk jigging to Irish tunes and rolling hills of green.
What Dublin actually is: A bunch of drunk multi-colored haired happy folk drinking pints to the background music of Katy Perry and Oasis covers in pubs that look like Kildaires.
Ireland is the greatest place on earth. The pubs are filled with the nicest people and the Guinness is certainly flowing. People named Paddy Desmond, Katie Murphy, Brian Joyce, come out of the woodwork to greet you and ask you where you are from and how you are enjoying Dublin. Everyone wants to hear your story.
Although we didn’t make it out of the city center of Dublin, (our day trips to Galway and the west coast were canned by our 5am binge drinking), the city itself is really not all that different from a city in the states. There was one distinguishing feature of the city that I couldn’t take enough pictures of, and that was the doors of Dublin! Below is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I made Lisa and Tory feel like touristy dorks while taking these pictures, but well worth the embarrassment. No single door is the same along the streets. The cab driver told us “American girls love the doors” and he was right. He said that they used to be homes (mostly for the Guinness children since there were 21 of them), but now most of the buildings are used for commercial office space.
We also made tons of friends while in Dublin. People were actually interested in where you from, and what you were all about. Each night for dinner, we got in a cab and said “take us somewhere delicious and not touristy” and it worked out EVERY single time. We had amazing food in Ireland — comfort foods like braised beef stew, Guinness and beef pie, gnocchi, amazing brunches with mimosa’s and cappuccinos.
One thing that Europe really has down that America is sincerely lacking: outdoor seating. Let me start by saying, Dublin weather is not beautiful in April. It was on and off rainy and lingering between 40 and 50 degrees every day, but we ate outside quite often. They had outdoor spaces that were covered, had HEATERS, and blankets/pillows so dining outside was very pleasant. The pictures below are from our brunch spot “The Kitchen”.
Europeans also don’t use ice in their drinks. Water was served with wine glasses and a big jug of water was brought to the table. But we had ice in our glasses zero times in BOTH countries. Even at the McDonalds in Paris, diet Coke with no ice. I work at a restaurant where they stress 100% ice so the drinks would be ice cold when they hit the table, so this really is a foreign concept to me.
Below is the picture of our FIRST Guinness at one of the little pub’s in Temple Bar. So delish. I had a quick Guinness at the airport so I could remember the difference in taste. But at the end of the day, everything tastes better on vacation.
We spent the next few days exploring the Dublin Castle, and ending up at places called Flannery’s or Copper Face Jacks. Sleep was not really part of the first leg of this vacation. Below are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.
This guy was on Grafton Street. This was one of the most lively places in Dublin. Lots of shops, live music, people on unicycles etc.
Below is Dublin Castle — Honestly kind of unimpressed, but it was a free attraction so, I guess worth seeing!
We also went to the Guinness Storehouse even though the cab driver instructed us not to. We bought T-Shirts and watched videos of barley churning. Then we went up to the Gravity Bar to get our “Free” pint. The view of Dublin is below. The city itself doesn’t have a ton of high buildings. The coolest part of the Storehouse was seeing all the old designs of Guinness bottles/packaging. They laid them all out behind a glass wall with some fun facts — I really like this picture:
We also went to Trinity Sweaters later on that afternoon and bought merino wool sweaters. Most amazing purchase ever. They were so warm and I’m secretly mad it’s summerish weather here in PA because I didn’t get as much wear out of it as I had hoped upon my return.
Speaking of Trinity — We swing by the Trinity College and attempted to see the oldest book in history, but we were so exhausted and it was unreasonable priced. So we took some pictures of the bikes in front of the main campus and called it a day!
On our last day in Dublin, we traveled over to the Kilmainham Gaol which was a jail that held the leaders of the Rebellions over the years. The jail opened in 1764 and closed its doors in 1924. This hour tour made us miss our train to Galway, but it was pretty cool to see! We locked ourselves in the jail and took some pictures. Literally couldn’t stand to stay in there for longer than 1 minute.
I cannot wait to go back to Dublin. It’s just such a comfortable city. I want to explore Cork, Galway, Belfast and other places around the country. I want to
pee on kiss the Blarney Stone. Next time, because there will certainly be one!
P A R I S
We arrived in Paris on a Tuesday night and immediately hit up Angelina’s. Every person that we spoke with told us we MUST go there, so we did. The waiter was the stereotypically rude French waiter with a chip on his shoulder. We kept ordering different pastries/desserts and he would just say “we don’t have that.” After 3-4 attempts we ended on hot chocolate and some treats. It was def worth the two second walk from our hotel — amazing hot choc!
For dinner, Lindsay found us a nice little French place with no menus, just a chalkboard written in French. I stayed safe and ordered salmon, while the rest of the girls got some sort of beef kabob. Turns out, we lucked out since they did, in fact, offer BRAINS as an option. Three bottles of wine later — we were ready to hit the hay. I would certainly recommend this place — great food and casual atmosphere! Chez Denise!
The Eiffel Tower — no we did not walk the 1400 stairs, we rode in an elevator and it was equally terrifying.
Yes, we went to the Louvre — For 1.5 hours. You could spend a week in there. But here is my summary: The Mona Lisa is small, Venus De Milo looks like a broken statue, the ceilings are really neat, Starry Night is in NY, and the outside pool around the pyramid is filled with trash. You’re welcome.
The top of the Arc De Triomphe was one of my favorite part of the trip. Maybe it’s because we spent an hour + in the Monoprix (Target of Paris) buying red lipstick and Bourjois mascara, or because we enjoyed some salted caramel crepes at an outdoor cafe in the one true day of of sunshine we had on our vacation; BUT, here are my pics from that excursion. We did climb all 284 steps of the Arc which helped us make the decision NOT to climb the Eiffel Tower because we were beat afterwards. One thing I noticed in both countries was the love of spiral staircases. Everywhere we went, spiral staircases. Anyway, this spot had a great view of the Eiffel Tower, so we spent a lot of time taking pictures of that. It also had a great view of how terrible the traffic is around this traffic circle. Treacherous!
After this we traveled thru St. Germaine to THE CUTEST chocolate shop in the world and got some treats for family/friends. We also swung by Berthillon for their famous ice cream. Although the actual store was closed until April 27th, we were able to grab some at another local shop that carried the brand!
We also swung by the Moulin Rouge — which was a terrifying experience. There were sex shops lining the streets and some shady characters. We were the only white, American, female tourists on the street. We left Montemarte in a hot minute and went back to St. Germaine to dine at a little Italian spot.
And that is my European extravaganza in a few words.
Today’s music comes from my new faveeee band The Lumineers! I know some of you probably don’t have Spotify and cannot click on the links I offer at the end of my blogs. May I just say, “get a clue” because Spotify is the best thing since……whatever the most awesome thing you thought existed.
The song is called Flowers In Your Hair