What’s Coming: Ireland & Eastern Europe
This weekend I’m spending a fair bit of time preparing for my next trip. On Wednesday I head off to visit one familiar place and a bunch of new places. It was only when I started getting things together that it really hit me how little I know about some of these new places, and I’m feeling a bit guilty that I didn’t put more effort into finding out about local customs and conversational phrases.
Starting it off:
The first stop is Ireland, and though I’ll be landing in Dublin which is familiar, I’ll be heading south to Cork for the first few days which is completely new. While in Cork I have a day trip booked for the Ring of Kerry, but don’t have anything else set in stone. I am hoping to go to Blarney Castle & kiss the stone – mainly because I feel like having been to Ireland 5 times already it’s a bit tragic how many of the famous attractions I still haven’t checked off the list. After Cork I’ll be headed to Galway where I’ll only be for 1-2 days before heading back to Dublin. While Ireland in itself will be a familiar face I will be doing something completely new here – which is solo travel. It’s not a terribly long time to solo – but as I haven’t done it before I wanted to start out small.
I’ll be rendezvousing with a friend in Dublin, and then together we’ll travel to Budapest. The college I attended had a campus in Budapest, and though I never got to study there – a lot of my class mates did, making this a place I’ve heard a lot about but also know nothing about at the same time. Here we’ll be meeting up with a small tour group through Intrepid Travel. I haven’t traveled with a tour group in a few years, and I’ve liked not having to plan or arrange details. With that, I am anxious to meet the other travelers and have my fingers crossed that it’s a good group.
From Budapest we’ll take a night train to Belgrade where I anticipate putting my motion sickness remedies to the test! From there we travel to Sarajevo, then Mostar, Kotor, and finally Dubrovnik where the 10 day tour will wrap up. We opted to stay on an additional day in Dubrovnik as we both want to make sure we have enough time here.
We’ll head back to Dublin before heading home. We’ll just have a few days, but we’ve planned a day tour to Northern Ireland and The Giant’s Causeway – which is another major attraction in Ireland I somehow have never been to. We also have thoughts to take a trip to Howth and a walking tour of the city with my favorite tour company Sandeman’s. From here – it’s back to the States.
Whenever I’m booking a trip I want to make sure I get the most use out of weekends and holidays to limit the number of day taken off of work. The group tour ends on a Thursday – so we decided to tack on a few extra days to take advantage of the weekend. We’ll also be traveling on the 4th of July, which is a free day off at work.
Though all of our official plans are set, we still have a few ideas to toss around – like half day tour options, and pub tours.
I’ve downloaded a currency and just seeing all of the vastly different exchange rates is overwhelming. A quick stop on YouTube to attempt to learn a few conversational phrases in Hungarian was extremely disastrous and I’m instead going to be practicing smiling and looking friendly as I have absolutely no hope of remembering any of this.
So that’s what’s coming up next week! As panicked as I feel about having all the loose ends at work tied up and actually being ready to go, I’m super excited to be getting out of town and breaking in my brand new passport!