Dear Galway, I am so excited to finally meet you! I'm about 8 years later than I was supposed to be. You see, I was supposed to do a semester abroad at your beautiful university, but thanks to a mix-up in the required classes and a terrible counselor who instructed me to take certain classes (the wrong certain classes), I was unable to make it. No matter, I'm here now!
And I gotta say, it's probably better that I was not able to do a January - May semester here. You're beautiful, and rather small, and yes full of Irish charm, butyou are SO COLD. I thought Paris was cold! Paris is a tropical vacation compared to your weather at the moment. Sure, the rest of Ireland has been rather chilly- Dublin sprinkled a bit, Dingle had unbelievable wind. But you, you like to bring it all in at once. Being an important trading town from hundreds of years ago, you're right on the ocean, and you bring the wind from the water and the expected Irish rain in gusts that take you by surprise as you round a corner. Jake and I are prepared, though- we bought umbrellas and I bought another ear warmer! Although, we have yet to use our umbrellas…none of the locals are using them, and we don’t want to be weak tourists! You haven't broken me yet, Galway!
We had a beautiful drive over here from Dingle, too. We took they ferry across the water in order to cut a couple hours of driving out so we could spend more time at the Cliffs of Moher, or as I know them, "The Cliffs of Insanity"! (Be sure to catch up on The Princess Bride if you don't catch that reference.) Jake and I wandered around these stunning and dramatic cliffs for hours- watching the birds hover in the wind before diving straight into the water, watching stupid tourists taking the "jumping picture" a bit too close to the edge (giving me a slight panic attack), and watching the sun glide across the almost cloudless sky. It was beautiful!
During our visit to you, Galway, Jake and I had a lovely walking tour with Laura the Leprechaun, a quick witted young lady who grew up near the Cliffs of Moher. She showed us around Eyre Square where I could see a flag with the Lynch coat of arms on it (the Lynchs were one of the 14 tribes who founded Galway! To Da!), the river, the Spanish Arch, the old jail where "lynching" became a thing, and the old wall that used to surround the city. Turns out that when the Normans took over Galway, they kicked out all of the Irish people and made them live beyond the city walls. Then, since the Irish were the farmers, forced to Irish to feed them all within the walls. She also showed us the Protestant church who's tower has a clock on 3 sides, but not on the 4th because the 4th side faces the Catholic church and the Protestants (not liking the Catholics), did not want to give the Catholics the time of day (pun intended). While you're a rather small city, we covered basically everything in a short walk, you're full of interesting history!
We came back to our hostel, the Salmon Weir Hostel, which is where I am writing to you now. The hostel is growing on me. You have a bunch of hostels all over the place, I've noticed. Ours is very well located and seems to be a very affordable option. No frills, that's for sure. Our room is teeny-tiny; we barley fit with our backpacks in there! I'm not even quite sure how they got the bed in there. But it is cleaner than I first thought when we checked in last night (yay!), and I am adjusting to sharing a bathroom (which I noticed was cleaned at least once a day). All in all, it was really not so bad, and pretty good for the value! I think I'm doing ok for my first hostel, but it certainly is an adjustment.
Tonight we're going to try out Finnegans Corner for some traditional Irish grub, session music, and (of course) a pint. Should be a good time! We turned down Laura the Leprachaun's offer of a pub crawl (she is the guide for that, as well) because I think you would basically have your way with me, and I don't want to wake up tomorrow morning feeling like "shite". I'm looking forward to relaxing indoors with a pint while the rain blows against the windows, backlit by the medieval lamps that still line the old stone streets, lined with old stone buildings.
Perhaps tomorrow you'll stop raining for me, just for a little bit, so I can finally walk on your campus that I was supposed to be on 8 years ago. After that, we'll be on our way north to Derry. So Galway, what do you say? Care to dry up for a short spell in the morning?