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Europe Trip: Part 7-Ireland; Guinness Factory Tour July 21, 2012

Disclaimer: Please bare in mind that I’m sixteen which is considered both underage in both Europe and the US. Contrary to popular belief, the drinking age in Europe is eighteen—not sixteen. One of the Guinness Factory tour guides kindly explained to my sister, Mom, and I about the whole underage drinking thing in Europe. Basically if a place gets caught serving to minors, they could get their alcohol license taken away AKA: they can no longer serve alcohol to anyone—even if at/above the drinking age. My sister and I kept this information running through our minds each time we visited a bar, pub, or restaurant as we tend to come off as at or above the drinking age. 

Our first night in Ireland was basically “Welcome to Dublin now go meet up with the other twelve people in your crew to embrace your Irish blood!”

With twenty-three people in our group, we opted for the private tour at the Guinness Factory which entitled for us to be educated by a Sharon Osborne lookalike.

The tour began with walking around the sweet musky scented building shaped like a pint of Guinness to learn about the five ingredients of Guinness(toasted barely, hops, water, yeast, and Arthur Guinness), distribution and manufacturing of the product, and how to properly drink Guinness with a chance to practice towards the end of the tour.

I personally had a great time on the tour as our guide did a fabulous job at integrate the science of stout making with the history behind the company. I believe it was a few euros extra for the tour guide but from what I heard from someone that went around the place without the guide, the added euros are well spent.

The tour ends with a visit to The Gravity Bar; the uppermost level of the factory surrounded with glass walls providing an incredible view of Dublin. Those with an adult ticket are “fortunate” enough to redeem part of their ticket for either a pint or half-pint of fresh Guinness and invited to enjoy their drink  while admiring the view. Those with a childrens’ ticket were allowed to enjoy a complementary soft drink or if you’re either a Celiac(my aunt) or someone who doesn’t really drink soda such as myself, the air tasted incredible.

Everyone in the bar was relaxed and just enjoying themselves while not rushing anything; a steep contrast from what we endured in five days of London ram-rod. Even my parents who were getting pretty stressed out and frustrated frustrated seemed to be having the time of their lives as they enjoyed their beloved Irish Guinness minus the US preservatives. Pure Guinness and pure happiness.

In fact, my parents love Guinness so much that they named one of our three cats after the beloved stout so when we realized they had a gift shop, you better believe we did some pretty serious damage. And as we arrived to dinner, we noticed Dublin loves the drink just as much as we do:

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Europe Trip 2012: Part 6-London 5/5 July 19, 2012

The final day in London can be summed up in one picture in which I look like total crap:

I figured what better day to wear Pizza John than the day we hit the Science and History(“Collection of shit England stole from other countries”) museums and the National Gallery.

 

Europe Trip: Part 5-London day 4/5 July 18, 2012

[Press play, then read]

I’ve been trying to do it right;

keeping my family in eye sight

as I seek an pinnacle of independence

to bind me to my teenage years.

Freedom felt nice

as that’s where I stood;

wondering if the pictures of the royal gem my sister secretly took

will ever mean more than  likes on Instagram

or saying you shook hands with a headless man.

The only Royal Beast in sight was an employee at the London Tower

which really didn’t matter

knowing tea at Harrods was a ferry ride away

—an extended metaphor to tell the independent gal within;

lemon coconut macaroons taste better while surrounded by kin.

I could rhyme away my desires as long as I live

but knowing  that deep down inside,

I’ll always just be a little kid

doing what I love, loving what I do,

believing my parents always make the rules

even if that means there’s nothing to do

but live in the moment of ‘now’.

Don’t forget about my current give away. Details are here.

 

Europe Trip Part 4: London-Day 3/5 July 16, 2012

There’s information on a givaway for UK readers at the end of this post, so keep reading for more information!

Before my family and I were even fully awake, we had learned a few things:

  1. Almost nothing is open before 9am in London.
  2. Fast food isn’t always shitty.
  3. Being a stereotype has never felt so good. (more…)
 

Europe Trip Part 3: London- Day 2/5 July 14, 2012

6:25 am London time…1:25 am EST…my mind struggled at finding a time to accept so just opted to wake up. Besides, I was bursting with the type of excitement gained by a whole new world—the day prior had so many sights, thrills, and people I’ve never encountered in my life; let alone…I got a true test of how much I retained from French I/II:

Je parle UN PEU FRANÇAIS.Désolé! Désolé!

(clearly a lot) (more…)

 

Europe Trip: Part 2-London Day 1/5 July 13, 2012

The moment I stepped off the plane and into the terminal, I could sense the world around me was spinning with excitement.

Okay; perhaps it was just my jetlagged brain embracing the seemingly more gorgeous than I’ve ever seen in my life men around me as the rest of my body seemed to tremble a disoriented jig.While my family and I waited at the baggage claim, some guy had the temerity to jump on the island surrounded by Suitcase Sea. Security came rushing over quicker than either my sister or I could enter the trance produced by a British guys accent.

As we stood aside with luggage; awaiting for my Dad to do I don’t know what, this gorgeous guy leaning up against a post stepped forward with the realization we were confused tourists. Beautiful British Man ended up helping us. Now, I don’t know what he said nor did I listen as I was too focused on swimming through his sapphire blue eyes. (more…)

 

Europe Trip: Part I-Packing and Plane Rides #1 & #2. July 12, 2012

Filed under: Europe Trip 2012 — heycollegesreadthis @ 2:31 pm
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Packing has never been one of my specialties; I’m an already indecisive person and not fully knowing what I’ll be wanting/needing just makes it worse. And besides, fifteen days away from home was the longest I’ve ever been away—let alone, having to bring normal clothes. Away band camp and the eight or so days I spent in Jamaica/Florida practically had identical [clothes] packing; the only differences being the amount of socks(as many as I could fit) and bathing suits(three) packed. Besides, both locations had similar weather to home. I knew the expected weather conditions for Europe were at least twenty degrees Fahrenheit lower than what I was experiencing before the trip even began. Felt like I was in trouble.

Equipped with what I felt was weather appropriate clothing and hygiene products, I zipped up my suitcase and moved on.

My carry-on was easy in comparison; basically a collection of crap I thought I should bring(AP English Summer assignments, contacts/retainers, pre-cut blister pads, debit card, two forms of ID[excluding passport], and Ipod) and crap I felt like bringing(pair of sunglasses, some USD, hand sanitizer, good headphones, three different colored pens, two different colored highlighters, metronome, and makeup).

By no means am I a light packer nor should you take packing advice from me beyond the whole sock rule for band camp.

Overly packed: check.

Family food supplied cleared out as much as possible: check.

Email inbox cleared out as much as possible: check.

Room cleaned and prepared for terrible unpacking habits: check. (more…)