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Shamrocks 'N Guinness - Rachel's Irish Adventures

Question: What do normal college students do after graduation?
Answer: They find a job somewhere in the continental U.S. that hopefully relates to their major in some vague sense and begin the 70-year process of paying back student loans.

Question: What did Rachel do after college graduation?
Answer: She meandered off to the Emerald Isle for four months to work. Her job does not relate to her major in even the slightest way and her paycheck does not go toward her loans - it finances world travel.

There's a distinct possibility that Rachel's parents sometimes wish she were taking a slightly more normal path through life like everyone else her age.

Welcome to my travel journal! This charming little website lets me accomplish two things. First, I love to write, but I'm really bad at keeping up with handwritten journals when I travel - typing this will be much easier. Second, I get to share my experiences with friends and family without filling up their inboxes. (Remember those e-mails from Spain?? Six or seven pages, they were!)

So please swing by every now and then to read the latest ramblings I've posted, and feel free to leave me a message while you're here. (Hint: messages would make me very happy on the inside.)

Cheers!

Slainte!

(Yes, that would be Irish.)

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Location: Cork, Ireland

Would you like to know what wins the award for Dumbest Souvenir Ever To Buy And Then Try To Pack Carefully So It Won't Break? Fragile Austrian Christmas ornaments, that's what. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

All packed and ready to go... I have to check a third piece of luggage, which means I will be selling my soul to United in order to pay for it (by the way, I saw United 93 over the weekend - it was an awesome movie, and it has also made me overly joyous that my flight from Frankfurt to Chicago is on United... at least the Dublin to Frankfurt leg is on Lufthansa). My bags/suitcases/backpacks are STUFFED. It's slightly ridiculous.

...I think there should be an airline policy where if you've only been travelling for a week or two in Europe, you have to share some of your allowed luggage pieces/weight with those of us who have been over here for almost 4 1/2 months.

I catch the last bus from Cork to Dublin at 19:00, get to the airport around 23:30, and then will spend yet another riveting night in the departure area until I check in at 4:45. Goody. Goody. Gum drops. Shall be back in Chicago by Thursday afternoon. : ( Good bye, Ireland. Rachel will miss you!!!

I'll do my journal entries on the my trips and put up more pictures when I get home - no time right now!

See you all soon!!!

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Location: Cork, Ireland

Aaaaand the wandering blond gypsy doth returneth to Cork!!!

To discover that she forget to get rid of her milk in the fridge before she left - it expired on the 6th. Today is the 14th. That's right - eww. I felt like a stupid college freshman for a few minutes...

So the summary of the almost two week adventure:

Tour of Death with Cousin Teri:
Krakow, Poland
Warsaw, Poland
Auschwitz (Poland)
Berlin, Germany
Prague, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Swarchenegger, Alps, & Weinersnitchel Tour by myself:
Vienna, Austria
Innsbruck, Austria
Salzburg, Austria

Finally flew back into Cork this morning after a hellish night of not sleeping in the Dublin airport. It simply can't be done when sitting up in a chair at the check-in area with all the other budget travellers. In order to stay entertained from 10:30pm first flight arrival until 6am check-in for second flight (by the way, I am starting to hate Ryan Air, more on that later), I did things like call my family at 3 in the morning (hey, in fairness, it was only 9pm for them!) drank coffee and ate croissants at 4:30 in the morning, and lowered my IQ (fairly significantly) by reading Elle magazine. And also was driven to the brink of insanity by the message that booms EVERY. 20. MINUTES. at the departure level: "Attention! This is a message from the airport police. Stay with your luggage - unguarded bags will be removed." Or something like that. You'd think it would be SEARED into my brain after 8 hours...

But so yeah, this kid is ready for a long night's sleep... call me in 3 days to see if I'm up yet.

Coming back to Ireland after travelling feels very familiar - it feels like home. I'm going to miss this place 70 times more than I ever missed Spain!!!

Stories and hopefully more photos to follow soon.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Location: Vienna, Austria

So the Tour of Death (or the Tour of Beer, as Teri and I also decided it could be called) has come to an end. All in all we ended up visiting Krakow and Warsaw in Poland, Berlin in Germany (we managed to escape before the World Cup started on Friday - Germany is host and things are going soccer crazy over there), and Prague and a little town called Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. It was an absolutely FANTASTIC time - Teri and I are a hoot when we travel together - and I'll have to write about the trip and put up pictures later.

I'll also have to share our quote collection, because it highlights what happens when the Stevens cousins invade countries together. A few examples:

"I probably shouldn't tell you this, but at first I thought the boat tour guy in his uniform was part of the Czech navy. Never mind that this is a landlocked country."
"You never know. The Czechs may have to patrol their inland waterways, what with all their enemies trying to be stealthy and sneak up the rivers."

Teri, to our German cab driver:
"How did you meet your wife?"

Rachel, to two 18-year-old Swiss guys:
"Have you heard of Fran Drescher? You know, from The Nanny?"

Teri headed to London today (Saturday) so that she can fly back to California, and I ended up wandering to Austria by myself. It's really rather lonely to travel alone after spending so much time with Teri, but I'll survive because it's just for a few days. Going to spend time in Vienna tomorrow, then I'm heading to Innsbruck and Salzburg for some lovely Alps scenery. By Wednesday morning I'll be flying back into Cork, and then will just hang out, pack, etc. until I fly out of Dublin on Thursday the 22nd.

Hopefully I'll be able to get my trip entries finished during that last week in Cork, too!

More later - from Vienna with love!

Monday, 05 June 2006

Location: Warsaw, Poland

Tour of Death 2006 Part 1:

The Stevens Progeny (that being Cousin Teri and I) are currently busy dashing their way around Poland. Hit Krakow, now in Warsaw. I need to go to bed, because it's 12:30 in the morning right now, so I'll write about our Polish adventures and misadventures at a later point.

The Polish say hi!

Thursday, 01 June 2006

Location: Cork, Ireland

I still need to do entries about where I've travelled and about all things Irish...

Those will have to wait, because I'll be gone for a bit travelling with my cousin Teri (although I go so long between writing as it is that I doubt anyone will even notice!).

Teri and I are starting out in Poland tomorrow (Friday) and will visit Warsaw, Krakow, and Auschwitz (Stop making that face - I don't understand why so many people get weirded out when I tell them we're going to a concentration camp. It's a rather vital part of recent history that deserves reflection, don't ya think??). From there we'll possibly head to Prague (Czech Republic), and then who knows. Depends on how much time we have until Teri has to fly home for her job. Slovakia, Croatia, who knows??? We'd both like to go to Normandy, but I don't know if we'll make it all the way to the western coast of France with the time we have. If we do, I'm thinking we could call this the Tour of Death. No doubt my pictures will be uplifting. "See, this is where they gassed thousands of Jews, and over here is where thousands of American soliders died on D-Day!"

I never claimed to be an overly positive person.

Ha, that reminds me - when I was hired with the temp agency, Ashling told me that the clients are usually looking for temps who are, and I quote, "warm and bubbly." ............ Umm. Right. Excuse me, Ashling, slight issue here. Rachel does not do "bubbly." She's too intelligent for that kind of insipid personality defect. She can manage "warm," but no, definitely not "bubbly."

"Like, this office is painted the most amazing shade of butternut I have ever seen! Oooh, and this is my desk?! Why, it's, like, so perfectly desk-like!!! And ohmygosh, this is the phone I'll be using?! How fantastic is this?!?!"

Again, I digress.

Teri and I were originally going to Russia (Moscow & St. Petersburg), but we ran out of time to get the visas (you should SEE the requirements to get a visa in order to get in to that place - it's CRAZY. But I guess that's what it's like when you're still dwelling in the shadows of communism and the old Soviet Union) and the plane tickets also became very expensive because our planning was very last minute. No worries, though - I plan to do a Former Soviet Union Trip sometime in the near future... Russia, Estonia, Lavtia, Lithuania, all that jazz. My parents thought they could relax when they heard we wouldn't be able to squeeze in Russia during our trip, but I unfortunately will insist on making them worry about it again within the next few years.

Anyway, this kid has packing to do. More when I return to Cork or if I find a computer during Teri's and my Tour of Death.

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Location: Cork, Ireland

By the way, I uploaded some more photos that I like... more on the way, as soon as I find the time!


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