And just like that, it’s over!
The past 3 weeks saw us traversing through the Emerald Isle as well as exploring the cities of London and Amsterdam.
21 days, 5 of which are sunny with the rest of them being either rainy, cloudy, foggy, or all 3 weather conditions combined.
4 countries: Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, and the Netherlands
5 cities: Dublin, Belfast, Ballybofey (more of a village than a city), London, and Amsterdam
6 flights. 6 buses. 4 trains. 2 ferries. Yea, we had some LONG travel days!
Best and Worst:
Most favourite city: Dublin
Least favourite city: Amsterdam
Best meal: The £10 lunch deal at The Real Greek at Westfield London. Great presentation, healthy food, great location, and awesome company!
Worst meal: the 10€ “meal deal” from an Argentinian steak restaurant in Amsterdam. Tiny portion, mediocre taste, and it cost us a fortune because they charged us for water and there was a service fee.
Best fast-food: hands down, Wok to Walk near Leicester Square in London. Stir-fried udon noodles + calamari + Bangkok (curry) sauce = delicious and cheap!
Best snack: Homemade cheesecake with whip cream and rhubarb sauce from the Burren Farm.
Best sight: Cliffs of Moher. Despite the heavy fog and the occasional mist, it was still very impressive! I can’t begin to imagine how beautiful it would be when the sun is shining.
Best coffee: latte from the Javaman booth at St. George’s Market in Belfast.
Most adventurous/daring snack: oyster from Borough Market in London. I know this is a favourite for some of you, but I don’t do raw food (I only eat the rolls and tempura when we go to AYCE sushi), so this was huge for me!
Honourable mention also goes to my brother who insisted on trying Herring in Amsterdam. Yes, the very same one Amazing Racers have to eat as a part of their challenge in the Netherlands!
Best museum experience: Titanic Belfast in – surprise, surprise – Belfast.
Worst museum experience: the British Museum, London. It’s regarded as one of the best museums in the world, but everyone and their mothers decided to come to the museum on the same day as us, so we couldn’t see anything but a wall of people and flashes of light bouncing off the glass case.
Most overrated experience: the canal cruise in Amsterdam and the changing of the guards at the Buckingham Palace (so I was told).
Most profound learning experience: discovering the very complex history of Belfast and realizing the divide that is still very obvious even to this day.
Best fan-girl experience: when Westlife’s Swear it Again started playing as I was perusing through the aisles in a grocery store in Dublin. I grew up in Indonesia where pop culture was heavily influenced by European bands. So, while Backstreet Boys and N’SYNC were popular in North America, Westlife was HUGE in South East Asia. I definitely took the trip down memory lane! Nostalgia at its best!
Best travel moment: the 4 of us celebrating Christmas in Ballybofey. Everything shut down on the 25th and the 26th, so we stayed home, cooked ourselves a mean Christmas dinner, and watched movies. It was very simple, no gifts, nothing special, yet very profound at the same time. Ah, the beauty of simplicity!
Trip soundtracks or the songs that will forever be associated with this trip:
– Taylor Swift’s We are Never Ever Getting Back Together. Contrary to what it may suggest, this song doesn’t represent how we feel towards each other. It just happened to be playing ALL THE TIME while we were there.
–Krispy Kreme – The Baddest. Listen to it and don’t blame me if it gets stuck in your head for the next several weeks. You’ve been warned!
– Ironman soundtrack followed by the actions to “suit up”. When you travel with boys… What can I say?
So, how did it go, you ask? Amazing! Sure, there were several challenging travel days, but as with everything else in my life, the good always outweighs the bad and the overall experience was fantastic!
Until next time, kids!