July 21, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 16-18

As I sit here in Starbucks, one thought comes to mind... How long can I sit here until they legally have to kick me out?

You see, we are currently at our first stop in England, in a tiny coastal town named Blackpool. Let me tell you about my time thus far.

Andrew is gone all day, every day, to a town a few miles up the road called Lytham St. Anne's. Apparently there's a pretty large golf match, sports game, tournament thingy happening there called The British Open. Not sure, really, what it is. I think that maybe David Beckham is involved?

Just kidding, honey, I know golfers aren't actually sports players. And I know David Beckham isn't famous for golf. He's famous because he's married to Victoria and has great hair.

[Insert eye roll, a dry hee hee. Its a bit of an inside joke about how I don't really know or care to know anything about sports, sports games, sports matches, or sports players, and how I always add the word 'sports' when it is absolutely unnecessary (which only proves my ignorance).]

So back to inhabiting the town's only Starbucks...

How do I describe you, Blackpool? Ok, imagine a dumpy, touristy, ocean town such as Ocean City, New Jersey. Now think of the dirtiest, creepiest corner of OC, make it a century older, add a British accent, lots of grease from fried food, tons of neon clothes and neon hair and faux leopard print, remove the sun, add  the clouds and the rain and thousands of strands of twinkle lights left over from from last year's holidays.

[I won't even begin to tell you about our "B&B."]

Then... imagine a Starbucks... a beacon of light... hope shining brightly amongst the holiday twinkle lights out of the shadows of despair.

Then imagine me sitting in that heavenly light trying to calculate how long I can stay here each day without being kicked out.


That's me right now.

Its really not as bad as it seems.

I should add that we totally knew what we were getting into when we made the plans to come to Blackpool. We did. And now it's just super fun to make fun of our decision.

I am, truly, perfectly safe, Mom. I don't have to share my bedroom with any strangers this time, or share the potty with 50-year-old men. I'm even getting pretty good at fitting in with the local Brits: filthy clothes because we haven't done a lick of wash yet (except for small loads of undergarments which are actually pretty easy to wash in the sink and drape over corners of stuff to dry) and my teeth are slowly changing to a shade of pretty yellow from so much coffee and Guiness and lack of my dearly missed SonicCare toothbrush.

I'm also very strategic when I walk alone. Since I don't have a cell phone for one of those imaginary conversation, I've decided to do the second best thing which menas walking a little too close to others so as to appear "with" them: a mother and child, a group of teens, etc.

Really, though, I try to seek out the goths and walk with them. The more black they are wearing, the more piercings they have, the scarier they look, the safer I feel! For some reason, I have a special place in my heart for goths. I still haven't quite figured out where it came from or why. You know the saying There is safetly in numbers? I'm here to tell you that There is safety with goths.

Blackpool is so bad, that recently Rick Steves has even stopped recommending coming here in his travel guides due to, well, the aforementioned description.

But alas, this blog is not to be about my despair in Blackpool (to come later),  but instead about a quaint, Irish town by the name of Dingle. Even the name sounds quaint, cute, anything-better-than-Blackpool! So let me relish memories of sun, rolling hills of green grass, spray-painted sheep, and lots of Irish pub music!

Our stay in Dingle was great. We had a friendly hostel, a private room, and a bathroom all to myself. We cooked in the kitchen. We had pretty cool hostelmates. There were lovely, colorful streets to get lost in. And of course, there was O'Sullivans Pub! Typical to Ireland, the weather frequently changed depending on the hour.

There's really not too much to say about our fun times there. We would sleep in, walk about town, chat with our new friends, all the while waiting for the nine o'clock hour when O'Sullivans would let the Irish music flow. I don't have any good pictures from inside the pub, unfortunately, because it was so tiny that most of the photos I took now feature the back of someone's head. But the Irish know how to let loose with the music!

On a more frightening note, I have never realized how many girls my age embark on their own European adventures, alone. Solo. By themselves.

I met three girls in Dingle who were traveling alone. And these weren't just day trips, either. One girl was from Canada and has been backpacking for almost 3 months. She she said she was sick in bed for half the trip. Another girl was from Germany, traveling for just a short amount of time, and was meeting up with friends along the way. But the third girl, well, she was from Australia and had been traveling the world since January! By the time she completes her journey she will have been travling for eight months. I thought WE were hardcore! But get this: at one point in Turkey she was even mugged and beaten by her taxi driver! And she's still truckin' along!

I'm sorry, but I think I've watched too many Law & Order episodes to even go to my neighborhood Walmart alone, let alone travel the world by myself!

Kudos, prayers, and good luck to you, girls. Errrr... travel smart, I guess?

The only real surprise happened while waiting for the bus to Dingle. We were waiting in a remote, no name town. We were hungry. The closest place was a nearby gas station. Expectations? Verrrry low. Chips and a coke? A tastycake and tap water? To my surprise the gas station turned out to house a grand little cafe with homemade food! I had an enormous bowl of veggie soup and an assortment of hearty breads. That, my friends, made my day.

I'm going to leave you now and let the pictures do the rest of the talking while I go get a refill on my coffee...

Yes, I'm still sitting in Starbucks.

And PS... These photos may seem a bit redundant. They may, in fact, be. However, Dingle was so beautiful that I had a hard time choosing which ones to show you!

PPS... These pictures are dedicated to my BFF Jenn. She recently turned the big 30, and since I couldn't be there to give her a gift, she said to take a picture for her. So here, my dear friend, these are as pretty as they come! Love you and miss you!

>Food 1
>Location .5
>Activities .5
>Comfort 1
>Hostel 1

The FLACH? 4 O'Sullivan stars.

Dingle harbor.
O'Sullivan's Pub.
My soup and bread!

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