In a few hours, I have to go grab a bunch of clothes from my unpacked suitcase from this weekend in Ireland and throw them into the laundry... only to pack them right back into the same suitcase for Barcelona and Paris tomorrow. It's been quite the mad whirlwind, it has, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.
My friends, Nick and Lauren, and I spent about three days total in Ireland - two in Dublin and one on a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Every inch of the country was green - either from the vast hills and fields in the countryside, or from the kitschy shamrock headbands and sweatshirts that everyone was adorning for St. Patrick's Day. Emerald Isle, it was indeed.
One of the lessons I've learned from traveling with friends (and oh boy, are there many) is that everyone has their unique interests. Everyone has a mental list of things they reeeeally want to check out in a new city, a list of places to see and food to try. When we are all able to compromise and hit up these various places, many of which we wouldn't think to go to on our own, it's really amazing how valuable and interesting we find them to be.
I'm not a big drinker, and especially not a big beer drinker. My friend Nick is my polar opposite in this particular case. The Guinness Storehouse was number one on his priorities list, so the three of us ventured to the factory right after dropping our bags off at the hotel... and on empty stomachs.
As it turned out, I did in fact enjoy the Guinness Storehouse. Very, very much so. And I highly recommend a visit if you're ever in Dublin. The tour is self-guided, easily maneuvered, and incredibly interesting and informative. I've never given any thought to the intricacies of the beer-making process, and now I appreciate it so much more. It was well worth the (cheap) price - and it comes with a complimentary pint of Guinness! You even have the option of pouring a pint for yourself, like so:
The tour ends on the seventh floor, at the Gravity Bar, which allowed for us to enjoy our pints whilst absorbing the 360 panoramic views of Dublin at sunset. This in itself was one of my favorite memories in Dublin.
Traveling has imparted many a life lesson to me; above all, it's demonstrated to me over and over again the pricelessness of exploring new places and trying novel experiences with an open mind and with amazing company. If all else fails, you always get a story out of it, and people to laugh about it with. Or, you can just come out of it with an incredible experience all around - as it happened with Guinness.