Just returned from a magical trip to Ireland where my good friend Meghan is studying. She’s just the best hostess. My stay included lots of shopping, Guinness (the Guinness was much lighter than I had expected and I really enjoyed it, but my favorite was Bulmers cider. I liked Meghan’s description of Guinness as the “chocolate milk of beers.” That would make Bulmers the “apple juice of beers”), lots of food (brown bread, soda bread, tea, and a few delicious meals cooked in my friends’ apartments), and the beautiful Irish countryside. I began my Friday with an Irish Breakfast, which Meghan considers to be an essential part of the Irish experience. It is just a gross amount of food: black and white pudding, streakers, beans, mushrooms, eggs, brown bread … and I ate nearly all of it.
On Sunday, Meghan and I took a bus through Connemara to Clifton where we spent the afternoon climbing on rocks in search of leprechauns and faeires, and ate delicious seafood soup.
I was surprised to find that all the Irish 20somethings were wearing mini dresses, black tights, ridiculously tall heels, and spray tans. There was also lots of chain smoking and teased blonde hair. Everyone was exceptionally friendly, but not the ginger haired girls in Aran sweaters and kilts that you might be picturing.
The pubs were just as cool as you could imagine. We watched the SixNations Scotland-Ireland rugby game at the Kings Head and it was a madhouse! Irish people go crazy for rugby (… and Obama, interestingly enough. You could even buy Obama St.Patty’s Day gear. Weird, right?) We caught a few sessions, too. I think that sitting in a Taftes with a Guinness next to a handsome fiddle player is one of those things you remember forever.
I got into Dublin a few hours before my flight on Monday with the hope of wandering around the city a bit. I can’t say that everyone in the entire city was drunk but a significant percentage of the people in Dublin at noon on March 16th were thoroughly intoxicated. I image that St. Patty’s in Dublin is the equivalent of Times Square on New Years Eve.
I’m all cozy back in the Kolej with a nasty cold drinking as much vitamin C and green tea as I can manage. As luck would have it, today was probably the sunniest and most beautiful day in Praha since I’ve arrived. The only thing that is not cooler when you’re in Evropa is being sick.
I apologize for my lazy blogging. Here are a few highlights of my last few weeks in Praha: trips to Stavovské Divadlo to see The Marraige of Figaro, The Bartered Bride (a Czech opera that was very charming), Don Giovanni, and the Czech Philharmonic performing Beethoven’s Misa Solemnis. I also saw some non-verbal contemporary Czech theatre: Evropeans at RoxyNOD (a forgettable show but in the trendiest of little theatres that transforms into a club by night), and Sclavi by the performance group Farm in the Cave. Sclavi was modern dance, Slavic folk music, and incredibly moving and inspirational. I also toured Mala Strana (the Lesser Quarter) and the Old Jewish Quarter with Z, got a hair cut at Modry Slon Kadernictvi (the Blue Elephant Salon), and day-tripped to Divorka Sarka (a nature reserve on the outskirts of the city).
Check out the pictures!