Its Thursday, and we just got back this morning from Greece. I feel like I haven’t stopped moving most days in the past week, and I know it is only going to get busier in the next coming months.
I went to the last couple of places in Ireland that I really wanted to visit before I left: Newgrange and Giant’s Causeway. Newgrange is prehistoric structure that’s known to be older than the famous pyramids as it was built during the Neolithic period. I was a little disappointed to find out that the front of it was only a recreation, but the carvings in the stone made up for it for me. I got to go inside, even though I couldn’t touch anything like I could in Seefin, it was still an incredible feeling to stand there knowing how old it was and the care that its builders must have taken to make sure that it lasted. Our guide was an archaeologist named Michael Gibbons who described to us how many other places in the world had similar structures with similar drawings on the stones. Before then, I had not realized that, and I hope to see more of these kinds of buildings in my life because of this tour.
Giant’s Causeway is essentially a bunch of basalt columns that look really awesome and have a twin in Scotland. It was really difficult to get a picture of how unique they are; I’ve never seen anything like them. The Irish also have a myth about how they were created. The shortened version of it is that an Irish giant named Finn McCool challenges a Scottish giant named Benandonner, so he builds a walkway from Ireland to Scotland to go fight him. When Finn gets there, he sees how big Benandonner is and runs back to Ireland. Finn and his wife concoct a plan to scare Benandonner. The plan was that Finn would pose as a baby, so when Benandonner sees how big Finn’s “baby” is, he gets scared of how massive Finn would be. The plan works, and Benandonner runs back to Scotland while destroying the walkway to make sure that Finn can’t come for him.
Two days later, I left for Greece with five of the friends that I’ve made here. We picked to go to Chania, Crete because it had a beach and the flight was pretty inexpensive. Within a few hours of getting there at night, we were running barefoot into the water. Our first day there was pretty rainy. Because of the rain, we spent the day wandering around Chania doing stuff like a fish spa (you put your feet in this water with fish that suck that dead skin off of it) until about 4pm when the rain let up, and it was sunny enough to go lounge on the beach across the street from our hotel. As a girl from Florida, it was so, so homey to be in a place that had sand, sun, and restaurants all along the water. Speaking of the water, it was crystal clear and beautiful. Our second day was spent hiking the Samarian Gorge. People, actually, used to live here until it became a National Park of Greece in the 1960s. Although I was amazed to see this side of Greece with all the trees and rocks, we were all sore for days from the 16 km hike. The next two days we had were, consequently, spent lounging on the beach and more wandering through Chania. One of the biggest highlights was the Greek restaurants. I had yet to be in a country that didn’t really speak English without any more adult-ier person than myself, so being in Crete was very different. All of the receipts came to us in Greek. Lots of the souvenirs had Greek phrases on them, and many of the people we interacted with couldn’t always understand us. It threw me off, but I was very thankful to have my friends there to figure it out with me. Overall, Chania was so much fun. It was the first trip that really felt like a vacation because we weren’t running around trying to see tons of historic stuff. We got to just relax, eat the most delicious food ever, and laugh. Coming back, Chania airport was what I would call a shitshow. They checked our American passports about 5 different times, checked our boarding passes three times, two of us got body searched, and the queues we waited in were ridiculous because it was so small. It was honestly the worst airport experience that I’ve ever had. I was very grateful to see my dorm bed when we got back to Dublin.
I’m officially in the single-digits until I go home. My mom and my sister get here early Monday morning, and I have had to start sorting my stuff for packing. Coming back into Dublin from Chania, the immigration officer reminded me to make the “most of my last week here”, and I fully intend to do so.