ireland: in a nutshell: we went to dublin, where we saw trinity college, temple bar, grafton street, and all of the other typical things you´re supposed to see in dublin. we went to the pub across the street from our hostel (which was previously the recording studio for u2, van morrison, and david bowie!), and met a man named ishmael. to which i replied, "is that what they call you?" either he didn´t hear me, or doesn´t read, because i don´t think he got it. i thought it was funny though. after meeting ishmael, a very old man danced on his knees in front of us. apparently the irish are always drunk because the only things open after 6pm are bars. they were crazy. our roommates at the hostel were interesting, to say the least. but i guess that´s what you get when you pay 20 euros a night. we decided we were over the city and wanted to see some legitimate irish country side. so we went to the bus station and asked the man where to find some. he said we should take a bus to drogheda. so we did. when we got there, it was not the country side at all, so we got on another bus to newgrange. which turned out to be the oldest thing ever! newgrange is a neolithic burial tomb from something like 4000 b.c. it´s older than the great wall, the pryamids, and stonehenge. and we went inside it. not only that, but it was surrounded by sheep and cows and beautiful country side! also, when the man was giving us the tour he said, "do you see that wee little mound over there?" all in all, i would most definitely return to ireland. and the people were very nice. and i like the cut of their jib.
italy: in a nutshell: roma! the eternal city. it was beautiful. whoever said you can´t see all of rome in one day lied. because we did. we saw everything there was to see and more the first day we were there. despite the bitter cold and rain, we conquered at the colosseum, threw coins in the trevi fountain, went to the pantheon, ate gelato, ate pasta, ate pizza, ate more gelato, and the list goes on. we saved day two for the vatican city. well, it turns out that day two was actually day one, that is, november 1st, which means that it was a vatican holiday. which means that the sistine chapel was CLOSED. we blamed this on throwing coins in the trevi the day before because legend says that if you throw a coin in you are guaranteed a speedy return to rome. what better reason to return than to see the sistine chapel? damn fountain. however, our luck quickly changed when we found out that the pope would be making an appearance that afternoon. that´s right, i saw the holy man himself! he stuck his head out of a window and spoke in italian for 15 minutes, followed by a blessing in six different languages. plus, i got a really awesome pope keychain and postcard. so it was a good day after all. after rome, we took a train to florence which is beautiful, but extremely crowded. it was very stressful and we didn´t see micheangelo´s david because the line was three hours long and we had to go to pisa. i´m ok with that though. i figure if i have to go back to rome, i might as well hit up florence again too. however, in florence we did have the best gelato ever. and the little man who served it to us spent a good 15 minutes trying to get his tv to play MTV for us, but to no avail. i think it just ended up being broken instead. it was a very nice gesture though. after we were too stressed out to stay in florence any longer, we went to pisa and practically ran through the town to get to the tower (which happens to be as far away from the train station as possible) before dark. it really does lean. after one last incredible italian meal, we headed to the airport to wait the night for our 6am flight. it turns out that the airport closes for three hours every night, during which we were forced to sit outside and "freeze our baguettes off" to quote a favorite movie of mine (10 points to anyone who can name it). i was very thankful for my impulse buy of wool mittens at the market earlier that day. but, we made it back to sevilla in one piece and with all of our extremities, so all in all, it was a good trip. even if i didn´t have to go back, i think i would. not to mention the fact that italians are SO nice. all of them. it was so not like spain...where it smells weird and im still missing a shirt.