Despite the fact that my time in Europe is winding down, I am doing quite the opposite! Now that I  have passed in all of my final papers, I have ample time to explore new parts of Europe that I have forever dreamed about. My friends have the same mindset as I do, so that is why we jetted off to Madrid, Spain! 

   Like my trip to Portugal, the weather in Madrid was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It hit 80 degrees when I was there and I am eternally grateful for being able to feel the sunshine on my face. I did get quite an atrocious sunburn, but that is not something to focus on. Because the weather was so glorious, we spent as much time as we could outside. We ate every meal outside and even ate one meal in the Plaza Mayor. I remember learning about this in my high school Spanish classes, so it felt pretty surreal to see it in person! My favorite meal we had was brunch at this place called Amazonia. The fruit was extremely fresh and we finally stumbled upon iced coffee! Unfortunately “cafe frio” is not as common in Spain as in the United States, so when I saw an iced latte on the menu I jumped at the opportunity to order one.

    In keeping with staying outside for as much as we could, my favorite thing that I saw in Madrid were the Botanical Gardens. I was so impressed with how green all of the plants were and I completely understand how one could get lost in there for hours! There were so many beautiful sights to take in and I am so happy I got to witness them.

   On my last day in Spain, my friends and I took the train down to Valencia, another popular city in Spain. We had one thing on our itinerary for this day and that was to lay on the beach! We had the perfect beach day and it was definitely the highlight of the trip. This is where I experienced my painful sunburn, but being able to stick my toes in the Mediterranean Sea and take in all of the warmth that the Valencia beach had to offer made it entirely worth it. It was so hard to leave Spain, especially once I checked the weather to see rain in Galway, but this was another trip with my friends that truly is unforgettable!


Plaza de Mayor

Botanical Gardens
City views from Valencia

Easter Weekend in London!

   This past weekend, I was finally reunited with my entire family! I hadn’t seen my dad or twin brother in over three months, which is the longest I have ever gone without seeing them. My mom was recently in Galway for St. Patrick’s Day, but I was just as excited to see her as well. Needless to say, I have missed them immensely and getting to spend time with them was just what I needed. I was able to show them around Galway, but the real highlight of our visit was jetting over to London for Easter weekend! This was my second time in London (my first being in January) and I am so happy I got to experience it with my family. This trip was better for many reasons, with one of the main reasons being that I got to sleep in a nice hotel, as opposed to a hostel, crammed into a room with 12 other girls. Don’t get me wrong, my friends and I made some great memories in the Saint Christopher’s Inn Hostel, but I am never going to turn down a queen-sized bed with fluffy pillows!

    We did all of the typical tourist attractions, with Buckingham Palace being my favorite place we stopped. It was such a beautiful day when we went, with the sun hitting the gold accents of the gate just perfectly.

    My family and I did something that I was not able to see during my first trip to London, and that was visit Abbey Road. My dad is a huge Beatles fan, so being able to get the perfect photo crossing the street was something that he demanded we do. We did just that and had a stranger take the PERFECT shot of us! I am happy I got to see the iconic street, but I am even more happy that we were able to fulfill my dad’s one wish of the trip.

  We certainly crammed a lot of sightseeing into a just-over-48-hour trip, but I would not have it any other way. I had the best time with my family and I know we created some of the best memories during this trip. There may have been a few tears shed in the airport when I had to say goodbye to them, but I will see them in 3 short weeks and I cannot wait for that!

Family photo at Buckingham Palace
Sunny day at the Palace
Abbey Road!!

Porto, Portugal!

   After not traveling outside of Ireland for a month , I was itching to travel again. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I even missed the always hectic Dublin Airport and the long treks that always accompanied boarding my Ryanair flights. This trip was even more special, because it included warm weather! Don’t get me wrong, I love Ireland deeply, but we have had a BAD stretch of weather recently. I was ecstatic to train the torrential downpours of Galway for the sunshine of Porto, Portugal!

   I went to Portugal with two of my roommates from Holy Cross and it was the perfect girls trip. We did not have too much planned, leaving plenty of time for our own exploration. Porto is a coastal city, so when we stumbled upon oceanside restaurants and shops, we knew we were in the right place. Our first day, we visited the outdoor markets and took a gondola lift to get an even better view of the city. It was so beautiful and perfectly resembled all of the pictures I Googled prior!

   Something that surprised me about Portugal, was how YUMMY the food was. I was not expecting it to be bad per se, but I also was not expecting it to be (probably) my favorite food in Europe thus far. The brunch was easily the best part. We had big breakfasts each day, which consisted of fresh fruit with yogurt, savory pancakes and some of the best breakfast sandwiches I have ever eaten. Our favorite restaurant was called “Zenith”, and it was so good that we went back on Sunday morning! The food was not the only good part of the experience; the waiters and other restaurant staff were so kind to us and it made our time that much better.

  As good as the food was, the highlight of my trip was the boat cruise we took. Our cruise was on Saturday, which was projected to be the rainiest day of our trip. This did not occur and instead the sun came out, to the point where we even got sunburnt! I love the water, so being able to see all Porto had to offer by boat was so amazing. I know I have given raving reviews of each trip I have taken, but this one has seriously been a highlight of my study abroad experience. I hope I am so lucky to one day return to Portugal, again!!

Views from the gondola

Exploring the streets of Porto
Boat ride!
BEST brunch at Zenith