Friday, June 29, 2007


Frankie and I braved yet another day of non-stop flying/busing/training today to arrive in Rome this evening at 8:30. We've already had an amazing time in the Eternal City, despite our travel induced exhaustion. We didn't have much time to get out around the city tonight, after checking into our new hostel and acquainting ourselves with the insane hustle of Rome. It's honestly like nothing I've seen, and I'm already hooked. We initially planned on walking from Termini Station, the main train station, to our hostel, but after we realized the directions we had written down from Ciao Bella's website were mindnumbingly confusing, we opted to hail a cab. I've heard stories from expats and friends alike about the insane drivers in Rome, particularly from the backseat of a Taxi, and I can honestly say that you can't quite comprehend it until you're in it. And we were in it.

Nash, the owner of our hostel, was incredibly welcoming and helpful, and he pointed us to an excellent Pizzeria just a stones throw from our front door. After some remarkable wood-burning oven cooked Pizze, F and I decided to walk down to Trevi Fountain before calling it a night. Apparently, everyone else and their mother decided to do the exact same thing, as we rounded Via del Tritone to a hoard of tourists, street vendors and the occasional group of locals all mingling in a mass of camera flashes and coin-tosses into the water. The fountain itself was absolutely breathtaking. I only took a few pictures because every angle was obscured or ruined by another tourist's head, but I did still get a few. Looking at them now, I don't think pictures can really do it justice.

So, you'll just have to come to Rome.

Much more to come tomorrow, when we actually have daylight to roam the city.

A domani.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ciao, Dublin.

Well, for starters, it would be an understatement to say that today was a day of mixed emotions.

We woke up relatively early this morning (relative to our regular schedule in the 'states, that is) to a halfway decent Avalon House breakfast of coffee, orange juice, toast and jam. We were expecting our luggage at noon, but we couldn't sit around that long, so we went out to get (more) coffee instead. We called numerous times to the airport service desk to see if our luggage was yet in Dublin, but the ServisAir people don't seem to like answering their phone too much, so we ended up leaving a lot of messages. As I said in yesterday's post, I wouldn't mind our luggage getting delayed a day or so, but when we're without clothes in inclement weather, it's much easier to get irritated. We decided, after a few hours of frustrating phone tag, to forget about our worries and enjoy Dublin while we could. So we did. And it was an amazing day. We started at the Guinness Storehouse (which is local speak for the Guinness Brewery- in fact, when I asked a bus driver which bus to hop to get to the Brewery, she looked at me a bit cockeyed and said "Wot?" "Oh, the storehouse I mean" "Oh! Take the 16A then!") early in the afternoon. Luckily, it was only €9.00 with a student ID, and with each entry ticket comes a free pint, once you reach the top of the Brewery, so essentially it was €3.50 (if you judge by the average pub price) to tour the factory. Quite a bargain, I must say.

Afterward we did a lot of other things. Including, but not limited to: viewing authentic James Joyce and W.B. Yeats manuscripts at the Dublin Writers Musuem; riding on the top level of a double decker bus in the pooring rain with loud-mouthed Dubliner pre-teens at our back; listening to a 70 year old man named Valentine talk to us about the "days of yore" (his words, not mine) while he showed us his horse Rocky's worn down horseshoes; closing down John Kehoes Irish Pub with a group of raucus but insanely hospitable Irishman, all the while singing a mix of traditional, Smith's, and Otis Redding songs. We did a lot of things.

Oh, and our luggage arrived somewhere in between. And we did the latter of the list above with our two new, really nice roommates, Kathy and Ian.

It was a good day.

But enough of my half-sleepy, halfp-tipsy rant, because with my luggage came my laptop, and the USB cable for my camera.

So here are some pictures.

The sky over Ireland.

Some streets near our hostel.

Our first proper pint.


The view from atop the brewery, at Gravity Bar (with the Joyce quote looming over his city).

Valentine the ex-Guinness worker, who wanted some change in exchange for a picture, to buy his horse Rocky some new shoes.

Frankie and the Brilliant! gate.

The road outside the Dublin Writers Museum.

One of the many streets in the main shopping district, near Temple Bar.

Our last meal in Dublin, from an excellent pub/restaurant called Cornucopia.

Today was a good day.

And tomorrow morning we're off to Rome, where I'm certain we'll have two equally if not better days.

So, as the title of this post implies, goodbye Dublin. You've been an unspeakably nice host.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


We arrived in Dublin this morning at 7:30 a.m. The flight went rather well, but our luggage was somehow left behind when we boarded the plane. We had to sprint from one side of JFK to the other (which, my friends, is no fun, considering it is insanely large) to catch our connecter flight to Dublin. That, we were told, is why it missed the plane. Suppposedly all four bags of Frankie and my luggage is still in New York, and should be delivered to us here by noon on Thursday. Ordinarily I wouldn't mind, but I left Columbus' 90 degree heat wearing shorts and a t-shirt, to arrive in Dublin's rainy, overcast 55 degree weather. I wasn't smart enough to pack backup clothes in my carry-on, so Frankie and I both had a viable excuse to go shopping when we got here. I'm not complaining.

We just got back from a night out at the pubs, which was great fun. There's nothing like a pint of Guinness or Beamish straight from the source.

There is wireless in our hostel, so as soon as our luggage arrives tomorrow morning i'll post some of the pictures from today, and many more tomorrow. So far, Dublin has been more than hospitable, and we've already met some amazingly nice people.

The Book of Kells, The Guinness Brewery, and Trinity College all lay in store for tomorrow, so I should certainly have some blogworthy material in the coming days.

A domani.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It's 2:42 a.m. right now, and Frank and her mom are picking me up at 10 a.m. to drive to Columbus, for our 4 o'clock flight. I just got off the phone with F, and she's staying up all night to try and force herself to fall asleep later tonight on our way to Dublin. The 6 hour jet lag shouldn't be too bad if we both can manage some sleep on the plane. F packed a copious amount of valium to get her through the flight. Me, i'll take a glass of wine and the latter half of Widow for one year. That should do the trick. It'll be her and my first time flying internationally, so we're both pretty excited.

Our hostel in Dublin has an internet connection, so hopefully i'll be able to post one of the nights when we're there. We really don't have anything planned yet, so I think i'll spend the rest of the wee hours of the morning figuring out a pseudo-itinerary. Does anyone who's been to Dublin have any recommendations? We definitely want to see Trinity College, the Guinness factory and the Temple Bar District (luckily our hostel is situated snugly between all three), but aside from those, we've got nothing planned. Really, I just want a good pint at a nice Irish pub, so I think one day we're going to take a bus to some smaller villages around Dublin.

The next post should be either tomorrow or Thursday, if all goes as planned. That is, if the luck of the Irish is on our side.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Last leg.

After another eleven hour drive, thankfully sans traffic and speeding tickets, we arrived back in Ohio late Sunday evening. The trip couldn't have been better (except maybe some more waves), and it was exactly what I needed to recooperate after a physically and emotionally taxing final few weeks of Spring quarter. Yesterday I spent the largest portion of the day running errands and preparing my apartment for F's brother, Pat, who will be watching Salvador for the summer. It's sad to say, but I think my apartment is cleaner now than it ever has been in the two years I've lived here. Hopefully it stays this clean.

I ordered $300 worth of euro on Friday (only €210, thanks to our poor, faltering American dollar), and they arrived already yesterday afternoon. So now, officially, the only thing left to do is wait.

This time next week, I'll be boarding a plane. I thought these last few weeks would creep by painfully slow. Boy, was I wrong.

Friday, June 15, 2007


6:08 a.m.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Surf City.

After eleven hours of driving, two hours of grid-locked traffic and one smugly-given speeding ticket, we arrived last night. We celebrated Drew's birthday with drinks at Il Beauchaines, a water-side restaurant where he works as a waiter. I had a nice Santa Clara Sauvignon with dinner; shrimp, scallops and mushrooms in white wine and lemon sauté. Both were great.

I woke up this morning at 7:30 and walked to the beach.

A good start to a great week.


Also: There's wireless here. A nice surprise, indeed.

More dispatches later.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I just finished my finals for the quarter. I'd write something about how nice it feels to be done, but i've got so much to do still, before my summer truly begins, that it's hard to celebrate.

I'm leaving for Surf City, N.C. on Saturday, so I won't be able to post again until the following Sunday.

I'll be back with some pretty, representative pictures next week.

au revoir.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


So there's this game I play when I can't find anything else to do (like study for two comprehensive finals in two days. make sense? yeah, I didn't think so either) that I call Think-of-Something-Really-Strange-That-Involves-Your-Name-and-then-Google-it. It's a riot, really, if you're as easily amused as I. To play, just think of an unfinsished phrase that starts with your name, for example: "John really likes" or "John took a bite out of" or my favorite "John keeps poking my". Then, google it, with the quotes, and see what gems you can find. Here are some fun ones.

John feels a bit...

"John feels a bit frustrated and makes a logical decision."

"John feels a bit lonely."

"John feels a bit uneasy about letting other people know about his interest in the stock market." (Who told?)

"John feels a bit too self-consciously bizarre for his own good."

John looks a lot like...

"John looks a lot like Tony, with that same lean, lanky build (both must get it from mom.)"

"John looks a lot like Gary Coleman."

"John looks a lot like a painting."

"John looks a lot like my kindergarten teacher, damn."

...and then the last one

John can't stop thinking about...

"John can't stop thinking about doubling the number of college graduates."

"John can't stop thinking about the fact that he knows Natalie's husband is alive and well." (I sure hope so.)

"John can't stop thinking about how hot it would be to get Rodney on his stomach and lick him until his jaw aches."

So, seriously, I didn't make that last one up. Google it yourself.

I don't even want to know who Rodney is.

Anyway, this is certainly good times, so try it out and post a comment linking to some of your favorites.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Yes. Yes.

It's about time.