Before and After: Office Refresh!

When I started my new job last year, I had been placed in a shared office attached to a busy classroom. But it’s hard to do something as sensitive and confidential as counseling in a busy, public area, so as soon as an office became available, I elbowed my way in there asap!

It had been considered an ugly, tiny, closet of an office, but I saw a lot of potential. Plus! The left wall had already been painted in “my” color. Serendipity!

IMG_445382121First things first, I shoved that desk to the wall. I can’t stand putting a desk between myself and my students. I may as well just stand over them with my arms crossed.

IMG_445472089Then I got rid of any unneeded (or unliked) furniture, replaced it with furniture that better suited my tastes and needs, and jazzed it up with some wall decor. (There’s a lot of wall in this office.)

IMG_465252354 (1)Got the chairs on sale at Target this fall. The rug had been rolled up in my basement for years. The map poster is from allposters.com.

IMG_465248022I got this cute mid-century-style bookshelf off of craigslist, and the chalkboard is from Home Goods (my heaven).

IMG_465247952I love it. Some co-workers are surprised when they see that I put so much time, energy, and money into designing my office, but I’ve always done this anywhere I’ve worked. I figure if you’re going to spend most of your waking life in one place, you might as well love the way it makes you feel. It’s worth it!

Office Before and After

Book Report!

Nameless Novel

Nameless NovelI was talking with a co-worker about movies, and found that we have similar interests in things that are strange and disturbing, so he recommended this book to me. It’s described as “infamous” because it is so depraved. haha It feels wrong to begin this post with such a disturbing book, but I make these lists in the order in which I read the books.

So what did I think of this one? It was okay. It definitely contained a lot of offensive material (to the exclusion of anything else), but it was so devoid of anything real that it wasn’t actually disturbing to me. There has to be some sense of reality, of humanity, of something you can relate to in order to evoke any real emotion or response, but because it was all just a jumble of outlandish lewdness and violence, it was almost like reading a string of unrelated words. I’m glad I read it, because it’s different from anything else I’ve ever read, but basically it was boring.

Also, I will reiterate that my Book Report posts are not book recommendations, just documentations of what I’ve read. I would definitely not recommend this particular book to 99% of people.

The Psychopath Inside

The Psychopath InsideI’ve been interested in serial killers for a while, and understanding what in the world makes them the way they are. Over the years, I’ve learned more about psychopathy and sociopathy (basically the same things), not only in relation to serial killers, but just as a way to understand those individuals we see regularly who seem to have no concern for anyone but themselves; people that I wouldn’t otherwise understand at all.

I heard about this book while listening to the author’s TedTalk on a podcast. His TedTalk was all about his neuroscience research and his discovery that he himself is a “low-level” psychopath. He breaks down what psychopathy is, and possible causes of it, as well as how it might be beneficial in some ways. Very interesting!

The Woman In White

The Woman In WhiteThis is considered to be one of the first mystery novels written, which sounded interesting to me. Unfortunately, I found it boring. It was a bunch of mess around inheritances because no one actually had real jobs back then so they had to just kill each other or pretend to be someone else in order to “maintain their status in life.” Also, it was too long for what it was. Meh.

Before Ever After

Before Ever AfterIt’s like a time-travel romance fluff. Meh, it was okay.

The Secret History

The Secret HistorySo good! It felt really meaty, like I was reading a “real book.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but that’s what it felt like. It’s about a tight-knit group of college students who find themselves in a sticky situation. The timeline is the most interesting part, as we learn *what* happens before we learn *why* it happened.

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim CrowI read this for work. It’s about how our criminal “justice” system targets young black and brown men, and the name alludes to how it has become our society’s new way of segregating the races. I have no real response other than a sad, “yup.” This system is terrible in many ways, and it needs to be dismantled and rebuilt entirely.

A Visit From The Goon Squad

A Visit From The Goon Squad

The story follows a handful of characters whose lives intertwine, and the timeline is disjointed (you never know if you’re reading about things that happened last week or 2 decades ago). The characters aren’t particularly likable, and they don’t really do anything of interest. It wasn’t my thing. I think you need to read it in just a few sittings because picking it up a couple times a week (which is how I read) makes everything too messy. You can’t keep track of who’s who and what’s happening when. Oh well.

The Outcasts

The OutcastsI tend to like westerns, and this one seemed to have a cool heroine, so it seemed like a good prospect. It was okay, but I didn’t have much respect for the female protagonist (she made terrible decisions, and was a bit of a pawn), so it was kind of a let down. Though, one of the characters complained about the The Woman In White, which made me giggle.

Looking Backward

Looking BackwardMy dad mentioned this book to me (though he doesn’t remember it) when we were talking about economic/social structure, and communism/socialism/idealism. It was kind of a “You think things could be better? Read this book. You’d probably agree with him [you silly idealistic communist].” But in a nice way. 🙂

The book is essentially the author’s description of how he thinks society should (and possibly would?) be organized in the future. He wrote the book in 1887, imagining (fantasizing about) life in the year 2000, when everything is perfect, there is no poverty, no greed, nothing bad whatsoever, basically. He never uses the word “communism” (my favorite euphemism he used was “living in concert”), but socialism was pretty much what he described.

I mean…I don’t have any problems with his ideas, but throughout the book I was just imagining patting him condescendingly on the head like, “Yeah Edward, that’s a nice idea.” Kind of how people do to me. Of course he’s being naive. Of course it’s too perfect to ever occur in reality (especially expecting such a drastic change in just 100 years and without any growing pains, or sense of what steps it took to get to the end point). But I don’t think it’s unrealistic to believe that our economic and social structure could be drastically improved, and that we should work toward something like this. It was a nice model for inspiration.

The Asylum

The AsylumA page turner! It had a lot of similarities to The Woman in White (hidden identities, inheritances, mistaken parentage, accidental commitment into an insane asylum), but it was much more interesting. It was fun, suspenseful, and sometimes scary. Loved it!

Trip Post #6: Edinburgh and Home!

EdinburghThis is the last trip post- don’t cry!

We reached Edinburgh in the afternoon, and after checking into our hotel, we wandered down the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s tourist area with shops, restaurants, and tons and tons of outdoor performers. We were there during the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in which the city hosts hundreds of shows and performers, ranging from free outdoor buskers to plays and concerts in theatrical venues.

Busker Edinburgh 2

Busker Edinburgh

Buskers EdinburghEdinburgh has a cat cafe (a place where you pay to hang out with cats for a while), and I’d been wanting to try out a cat cafe since they first started popping up a few years ago. So I reserved a slot at Maison de Moggy:
Maison de Moggy Edinburgh

Maison de Moggy Edinburgh 2

Maison de Moggy Edinburgh 3It was a cute place, and the staff were very nice, and I’m really glad I was able to finally see what this thing is all about, but it wasn’t what I’d hoped. :/

There were about 10 cats, and about 15 humans. The cafe schedules customers for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Have you ever met a cat? I love cats, but they’re not THAT into human interaction. It’s too much. The cats were really nicely socialized (they were all adopted into the cafe as kittens), so they very patiently tolerated the attention and accepted pettings, but they weren’t into it.

In order to interact with the cats, you had to wait until no other humans were pestering them, then stalk them, and trick them into not running away from you. Then when you pet them, they just sit there. It’s no fun petting a cat who doesn’t particularly like it. I did more observation than interaction.

But like I said, I’m definitely glad I got the experience.

After my hour with the cats, I connected with Aunt Lyn for dinner at Mamma’s Pizza. After dinner, we watched some more performers, and headed back to the hotel.

On our last day in Edinburgh, we returned to The Royal Mile to do some shopping and to watch some more performers. We caught a performer named Able Mable, who was really great, and as she pointed out, was one of only 5 or so women (I can’t remember the exact number) out of the 60 or so paid street performers. She described her character as “a hapless showgirl, eager to entertain but manages to mess up everything she does with comic results.” She was fantastic, though I couldn’t get a shot that did her justice.

Mabel EdinburghBecause of the festival, the whole Royal Mile was always packed, and it was a challenge to find good any places for meals. We ended up grabbing a soup and sandwich at the tiniest cafe you can imagine. It felt like a convenience store counter in a place the size of a closet, with a plastic table and chairs in the corner. It was pretty good though. I’m sure they make all their money during the month of the fest.

After lunch, we toured the mighty Edinburgh Castle!

Edinburgh CastleWe took a free tour of the castle with a great tour guide. There was a little spot up there that was the *only* place I remembered having been before. It was like a little jolt: whoa! This looks exactly the same. I visited England, Ireland, and Scotland with my family when I was in middle school, but I didn’t have many specific memories of the trip. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go again (and make these blog posts), so that I could try to really remember it this time.

After the castle, we went to the one “real” Fringe show that we saw. There are so many shows going on, and we really only had time to see one, and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself by trying to pick the exact perfect show, so I tried to be kind of go-with-the-flow about finding one.

On our first night, as we were waiting at the bus stop to return to the hotel, I looked at the cute building to my left, and saw that it was called The Scottish Storytelling Center. That sounded interesting. Then I saw a description of a fringe show called The Man Who Planted Trees on a board outside of the center. It sounded kind of perfect: family friendly (a lot of fringe shows can be pretty raunchy), sweet and humorous, and had really good reviews.

Edinburgh 3The show was great: very creative and unique (they used marionette-style puppets, wafted essential oil scents and sprayed mists of water into the audience), heart-warming, funny, and was exactly as advertised. It was perfect.

After the show, we grabbed dinner at Rabbie Burns, a pub just down the street from the center, caught some more street performers, and visited some shopping tents where I picked up some sweet-smelling juniper gifts for my mom.

Juniper Tent EdinburghWe were beat!

The next day, we took a train to Glasgow, and headed home (with a chilly stop-over in Iceland)!

Goodbye British Isles!

Ireland

Trip Post #5: York

YorkThis is the second to last trip post; aren’t you so sad it’s almost over??

So. We took the train from London to York, checked into our hotel, and visited Clifford’s Tower, an old fortress-castle thing.

Clifford's Tower York
That’s Aunt Lyn waving to me from across the castle. We decided to take pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. We’re so cute.

The tower was on a big hill, and we looked down from the top and saw this older couple literally crawling up the hill. I believe they didn’t know that on the other side was the actual entrance with stairs. An elderly, disgruntled Jack and Jill. It was odd and amusing.

Next to the tower was a little traveling carnival (or just, like, three carnival rides).

Fair YorkSo we rode on the carousel!

Carousel York 2We got dinner at the Golden Fleece, York’s “most haunted” pub.

Golden Fleece York 2I included the building on the right to show how warped the old buildings were. Look how slope-y the floors are!

During dinner, we had a fun chat with some crusty old [tipsy] local guys.

After dinner, we walked around the city. I kept my eyes open for some of the cats on York’s Cat Trail, which is basically just little cat sculptures and images on the buildings around town, a la this one at the Golden Fleece:

Golden Fleece YorkSee the little white kitty exiting the window frame above the golden sheep?

We caught a bit of live traditional music coming from the over-crowded Last Drop Inn, but we were only there in time to hear one song before the musicians took a break. Thwarted again!

Last Drop Inn YorkOur first full day in York, we got breakfast at our hotel (a Hampton Inn), and visited The Shambles, which is a small street with a bunch of cute shops.

York 3We visited a fudge shop, where they tried to give me a sample. I explained that I don’t like fudge, and that I’m just picky, and the lady behind the counter said, “I think you mean you know what you like.” You know what? You’re right, fudge lady, I just know what I like! Harrumph!

Here’s a cute tea shop on the Shambles:

Hebden Tea York

We also visited Bowler, a vintage clothing store, and had THE best time looking at and trying on the cutest vintage and vintage-inspired clothing.

Bowler York 5

Bowler York 3We also wandered around an outdoor flea market, and had lunch at Betty’s Tea House.

Lunch Betty's York
Yummy tomato basil quiche at Betty’s.

It was pretty rainy, so we decided to stay indoors and checked out the National Rail Museum.

Railway Museum YorkThen we napped forever, apparently. I don’t remember that, but that’s what my notes say! Apparently it was a much needed nap.

We got dinner at a place called Nicholson’s Cross Keys. Many of the restaurants in York were named after objects/animals, and they all had images of their names on the outside- a remnant of when most people were illiterate.We had wanted to eat at a place called Old White Swan, but their oven had broken! What?!

We then caught a performance of Morris Dancers in a town square area.

On our last morning in York, we had a very tight schedule and lots of things to get done before catching our train, so it was a fun little challenge. After breakfast at the hotel, we stopped in at the Shambles again so I could pick up a gift for my mom at the tea shop, then we ran over to Bowler, the vintage store because our social media fans had seen our pictures of the dresses we tried on and convinced us to buy them!

But we didn’t know when the store opened and we had to make sure we caught our train. So we waited, practically pressing our noses to the locked front door until the saleswoman finally showed up. Poor girl was probably so annoyed with us for making her rush, but we explained our situation, and she was very nice, and it took us less than 5 minutes to get in and buy our dresses. And THEN we made the poor saleswoman take our picture. 🙂

Bowler York 7

And we high-tailed it to the train station for our last city: Edinburgh!

 

Trip Post #4: London

Phone Booth 1

I know it’s been forever since I actually went on this trip and then blogged about it, but I still really want to get it all down. I’ve just been so busy lately! But I’m on Thanksgiving break now, so I have time!

So we flew from Shannon, Ireland to London, and it was the greatest morning of smoothness. Everything went well, and we were just way too pleased by it. We got to the bus station early, the bus was on time (though the bus fare system was still incomprehensible), we got to the airport way early, got to select good seats, had a delicious leisurely brunch at the airport (chicken sandwich w/ fries and a salad as always), the ride was smooth and short (though holy cow those puddle jumper planes feel like something my 3 year old nephew assembled out of legos).

We arrived in London and were informed that the underground workers were on strike. Greeeeaat. So we took a train to the city and walked quite a ways to our hotel. However, the weather was finally gorgeous. We had the best weather of our trip in London. Low 70s and sunny. It felt like heaven. And though our walk was long, much of it was through Hyde Park, so it was fairly pleasant (aside from our luggage).

And we stopped halfway through for some ice cream:

London GelatoWe finally got to our hotel, the Intercontinental, because my aunt works in the hotel industry and gets special deals.

Here we are enjoying our luxury:

London HotelAfter a little rest in the hotel, we asked our super nice concierge where we could get a big bowl of spaghetti for dinner (because that’s what I wanted), and he recommended Prezzo, which became our favorite restaurant (it’s a chain over there, so every time we’d see one, we’d point it out and get excited).

Look at this perfect dinner:

Dinner PrezzoThat parmesan.

ANYway. We also checked out Shepherd’s Market, which is a cute little area near our hotel with lots of restaurants and pubs.

After dinner, we walked back into our hotel room, and as soon as I opened the door, I panicked and thought we had gotten the wrong room because the lights were on (but dimmed), and the tv was playing, so I thought someone else was in there! Turns out, the staff had just done the “turn down service” thing which I had apparently never before experienced. They also left little treats (fruit, bottled spring water, cookies). It was fun, but slightly unsettling. Also, the bathroom had a phone in it, and an adjustable speaker that plays the audio from the tv, so you won’t miss a thing!

The next day, we got a really heavy, greasy, authentic English breakfast at a deli called Piccolo.

English Breakfast Piccolo LondonWe took a hop on bus tour, with a cutie patootie guide named Gavin. After that, we napped at the hotel, and then did some site-seeing and took a river cruise.

London Bobbies

London Big Ben
Pretending Big Ben is too loud. We are hilarious
Tower of London
Tower of London
Tower Bridge London
Tower Bridge London
London Buildings
London Buildings: The Cheese Grater, The Gherkin, and The Walkie-Talkie
Eye London
The London Eye

We visited the bustling Picadilly Circus area (similar to New York’s Times Square), and got some more spaghetti (my craving wasn’t satisfied yet) at a place called Caffe Concerto, where we chatted with some Australian expats sitting next to us.

The next morning we had breakfast at Tyburn Pub, a place on the way to the train station (Paddington) so that I could head off for a day-trip to Bath while Aunt Lyn did some more site-seeing in London.

Bath was lovely, the weather was nice, and the town was cute. I arrived with a bunch of other travelers, who promptly hopped in line at the Roman Bath museum. I took one look at that long line, and waited it out by getting some lunch at a place called The Courtyard Cafe.

Courtyard BathThe cafe was across the way from Sally Lunn’s, which makes world famous buns.

Sally Lunn BathI went to Bath intending to get one, but when I got there, they just didn’t seem appealing to me, so I skipped them and went back to the museum, which no longer had a line!

Roman Bath 2

Roman Bath 1It’s apparently a natural hot springs which was in use during the time of the Roman Empire. Of course, it’s been preserved since then, but there are sections that are quite genuinely ancient-looking.

I wandered the town a bit, and came across a cute little flea market.

Bath Street

Bath

Flea Market BathI got another ice cream cone from Hyde Park on my way back from the train station, and Aunt Lyn and I headed over to Harrod’s, the most extravagant department store in the world. I don’t even know how they let us in.

We enjoyed the children’s clothing area, where we found girls’ dresses for only $2000.

This adorable girls’ headband was like $50. To be fair, it’s real fur. ick.

Harrods 2Most people there were actually shopping. Like, for stuff that they were going to buy. With their money. Who are these people??? We just had fun getting each other to guess just how crazy expensive the next item was.

Outside the store, someone had parked this golden Ferrari:

Harrods FerrariAll of the restaurants nearby were designed for oil barons, so we got dinner at our ol’ pal Prezzo again!

Prezzo London 2

Prezzo LondonOur last morning in London, we had breakfast at Sofra, a Mediterranean restaurant in Shepherd’s Market, and headed to the train station for York!

Breakfast Zofra's London

 

 

Trip Post #3: Doolin and Ennis

Mary's 4On our fifth day of the trip, we took a bus to Doolin, a teensy little village on the west-coast of Ireland. We arrived at our bed and breakfast, Riverdale Farmhouse (above), and our host, Mary, treated us to some warm home-made scones and tea. It was a really nice treat after being out in the chilly, windy, rainy weather.

Before we headed into town, I met the farm’s horse:Horse Doolin 5I went into her pen because she was far away from the gate when I got there. When I approached her, she walked away from me and went back up to the gate where I just came in. I stayed where I was, and she came back over to me, made a “harrumph” sound and swung her head toward the gate (which translated to a very obvious “Come with me, you idiot human.”), and walked back to the gate.

I figured out that she was saying, “The only use I have for you is to be fed by you, so get back out to the other side of the gate and feed me the grass that I can’t reach. You dummy.”

So I followed my instructions, and she allowed me to pet her once in a while in between fist-fulls of the nicest grass I could find.

Horse Doolin 4“More food, dummy!”

Horse Doolin 1

Horse Doolin 2“And you stopped feeding me because…?”

Horse Doolin 3

“*Sigh* There better be some grass in your hand when I look back.”

After I had fed the horse every single blade of grass I could find, we took the 20 minute walk into town.

Doolin 1

Doolin 2

Doolin 4We passed a sweet little garden center, and talked with the nice guy there:

Doolin Garden Center

Artichokes 2Artichokes!

There’s this type of rose there, Sanders’ White Climbing Rose, that smells like the best smell on earth.

We continued into town, where I overheard a visitor’s center clerk complaining about a group of male travelers who couldn’t figure out their lives. “When men travel without women, it doesn’t work.”

After walking for a while, we stopped for a rest at the Doolin Hostel, and had a treat.

Treat Doolin 1

Treat Doolin 2

Doolin Treat 3This mix-in hot chocolate was one of my Aunt Lyn’s highlights of the trip. 🙂

After our treat, we continued through town, and checked out the shops.

Doolin^ That is pretty much “town.”

We kept going, and reached the coast, where we could see the Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Moher Portrait 3Wait, where are the Cliffs of Moher?

Cliffs of Moher Portrat 2Oh, there they are!

Cliffs of Moher 6

Cliffs of Moher 7

Cliffs of Moher 1

Cliffs of Moher 4After that, we visited the ruins of a church, which were now basically a cemetery.

Church Doolin 1

Church Doolin 2Then we had dinner at McDermott’s pub, featuring traditional musicians.

Pub Music DoolinWe were seated at a perfect table just in front of the musicians, but we had to share the table with whomever needed a spot. We ended up with a really nice French family, with whom I had a fun half-French half-English conversation.

After the family left, an older American gentleman sat in the seat next to mine, and shared life wisdom with me. Things like, “Invest in mutual funds.” “Get married before you’re 30” (Oops!) and “Don’t blow your money on a new car and a fancy coffee every day.”

In the morning the next day, we had a delicious breakfast (poached eggs, toast, warm scones, and tea) at the farmhouse, and Mary drove us to the bus stop in town.

While on the bus to Ennis, we overheard a man who was perturbed that he hadn’t been picked up at his usual stop (which wasn’t an official stop). When the driver asked him how long he’s been using that stop, he said, “I’ve been standin’ there my whole life!” “Have they been lettin’ ye on there yer whole life?” Angry Irish men 🙂

Anyway, we arrived in Ennis, and checked into our lodging, The Rowan Tree Hostel (an excellent hostel):

Hostel EnnisAfter checking in, I set out on my own to check out the town. Not five minutes into my walk, two tourist guys stopped me to ask if I knew a good place for dinner. Umm…I just got here. :/ It was a theme throughout the trip that people kept asking me for directions. 10 people in total! Apparently I look like a friendly, approachable, knowledgeable local. 🙂

After checking out the shops in town, I met Aunt Lyn at the hostel for some bruschetta at the Rowan Tree Hostel Cafe, which had beautiful Rowan wood floors dated from 1740.

Then we checked out the Ennis Friary, which was originally built in the 13th century.

Friary Ennis

After shopping a bit in town, we had dinner at Brogan’s Bar and Restaurant (which stops serving food at 6..???), and who promised to have good live traditional music.

Dinner EnnisServing food on a wood tray was a popular thing in Ireland/UK.

The musicians were good (I suppose? I really don’t know), but they didn’t know one another, and they didn’t seem very seasoned (they would just chat with each other between tunes and talk through what they should play next).

And there was no singing.

Oh well.

We got to do laundry at the hostel, and putting on all three of my sweaters warm from the dryer was one my highlights of the trip. jk

Laundry Ennis 2It really was pretty great, since I was cold basically the entire week.

Next up, England!

Trip Post #2: Galway

…The adventure continues! Still in Dublin, we got breakfast at a place called Roly’s Bistro before catching the train to Galway.

Once there, we checked out the main street with pubs, touristy shops, and buskers.Galway

Thought this guy was nifty:

Galway BuskerHis little marionette was HIM. Exact same clothing, even had the same tattoos. He was “playing” to prerecorded music (see the speaker behind him). The motions were very lifelike (nodding his head, the hand on the neck of the cello, etc.). And the change hat is a tiny handmade cello case!!! Very cute. If you’re interested, he has a facebook page (the little sign in the cello case tells us): “Galway Puppet“. He apparently also makes alter-ego puppets for people.

Since the weather was yucky, we ducked into a cafe called Mocha Bean, and got a yummy treat:

Treat GalwayYUSSS

After walking around a bit more, we had dinner (vegetable soup and a cheese toasty) at Finnegan’s restaurant, the oldest building in Galway.

Finnegans

We were beat (and rain-soaked), so we headed back to the hotel (The Victoria, we wouldn’t recommend it) for bed shortly after dinner.

The next day, we had breakfast at our hotel, and took the windiest, coldest, longest walk along the sea to the Promenade (a little west of the Galway city center).

Inlet Galway

River Galway

Ocean Galway 2

Ocean GalwayIt was pretty and all, but damn was it cold and windy. Did I mention that it was windy? It was windy. And cold. And it rained on us sometimes.

I did get to meet a little dog that was bouncing around near his human’s campsite. He was really sweet, though I couldn’t get a great picture because he wouldn’t hold still!

Dog GalwayAnyway, continuing with our walk, we discovered that some COMPLETELY INSANE PEOPLE were swimming in the sea. THE COLD WINDY SEA. In the photo below, you can see tiny dots in the water, and those are people. Crazy people.

Swimmers GalwayAfter our windy (WINDY! And COLD! And WINDY!) walk, we treated ourselves to the cutest afternoon tea at a place called Cupan Tae.

Cupan Tae Galway(See the bush? It was windy.)

Look how cute!

Cupan Tae 4Everything was cute!

Cupan Tae 2

Cupan Tae 3I don’t think you understand; those are cucumber sandwiches on a tiered china cake stand. And scones with jam and clotted cream! And mini cupcakes! And I guess there was tea or whatever too. Basically, we were in a Jane Austen novel.

We took a little rest in our hotel since we had walked about 10 friggin miles already. I don’t know how many it was, but it was like double because we were walking into the wind.

Then we did some site-seeing around Galway, including visiting seemingly the youngest cathedral in all of Europe (it was built in the 1960s). Holy crap! I was kidding, but I just googled it to verify the date, and the website literally says that it is “the youngest of Europe’s great stone cathedrals.

And we were all “Umm..if we wanted to see a church from the 60s, we would have visited ANY CHURCH IN AMERICA.” So we had dinner.

Monroe's GalwayI kept trying to find a pub in Ireland where I could listen to traditional music, and I kept failing. See the pub above? This is where we had dinner. See that lovely sign advertising “Ballads and Traditional Music…NIGHTLY!”? It’s a LIE. There was a nice EMPTY little stage taunting us, but no musicians in sight.

But the staff were very nice, and I had the best fettuccine alfredo I have ever had and could ever imagine. (In Ireland? I know!)

I also got a plum tart from a nearby bakery. It was called “The Gourmet Tart Company”, so I obviously couldn’t ignore it.

Plum Tart GalwayIn my ongoing quest to find traditional music, we went to “Tunes in the Church” at like the oldest church ever, St. Nicholas’ Church, which was built sometime around 1320. The performance involved three musicians: a concertina player, a flute player, and a bouzouki player (like a guitar), and a sean nos dancer (Old Style Irish Dancing; older than the style I do).

Musicians GalwayIt wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, because I wanted singing, but they were very skilled musicians (though, I can only say that because other people said it, not because I know anything about performing music), and watching the sean nos dancing was really fun.

By the way, they performed on the top of a tomb-thingy. It looks like a stage in the picture, but that is a very large mausoleum type thing that was half above the ground and half under the floor of the church. But our guide was quick to point out that the actual grave itself was far below the church, so no one was technically “dancing on a grave.” Whatever you say, dude, whatever you say.

Next up, Doolin and Ennis!