Libraries, castles and gelato make up latest adventures in weeklong “megatrip”

This week marks the beginning of what I have coined “megatrip;” I spent last weekend in Dublin, I’m currently in Amsterdam and I’ll be in London by this weekend.

My 10-day adventure has already opened my eyes to so much culture and history. I know I’ll come out on the other side of this trip changed.

My friends Olivia, Lisa, Jane and I left drizzly northeastern England for beaming Dublin last Friday morning. We arrived in the city by afternoon and found our way to the Camden Times Hostel. It was my first time staying in a hostel, and the Camden Times made for a lovely first experience.

The lounge walls had whimsical murals, and we got a room to ourselves with an en suite bathroom.

Ironically enough, our first meal in Dublin was in a Lebanese restaurant. I tried new foods like lentil soup, falafel and pickled carrots and okra.

Afterward, Jane and I wandered upon St. Patrick’s Cathedral while on a walk in the darkening streets. The cathedral was holding a concert in memory of World War I, titled “Lux Aeterna.” The choir sounded beautiful underneath the high ceilings.

On Saturday, the four of us set out for Dublin Castle in the gloomy rain. The castle’s open cobblestone courtyard was bare in the early morning. We walked through the castle-turned-palace in peace, admiring the detailed chandeliers and brightly colored walls.

We walked out of the castle to find the chapel and Chester Beatty Library around back. The library held exhibits on ancient bookbinding and the history of Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.

It continued to pour as we walked to Trinity College that afternoon. The university houses the Book of Kells and the Long Room inside the Old Library.

The Long Room turned out to be one of my favorite parts of Dublin. The Long Room is a vast, two-story library full of busts of significant figures, like Shakespeare and Socrates.

I stepped into the room, and the air smelled of time and dust. I loved standing amongst the books, knowing that the room contained loads of history.

The rain let up after lunch, and we spent the remaining hours of daylight in St. Stephen’s Green. Jane, Olivia and I walked along Grafton Street during the evening. We got gelato and watched street performers before strolling down Dublin’s narrow, crisscrossing streets.

Olivia and I ended the night at The Bleeding Horse, a pub near our hostel.

We had to catch our flight back to England on Sunday evening, but not without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse first. At the end of the museum tour, we climbed the stairs to Gravity Bar to enjoy a free pint of Guinness. The bar is circular and has a 360-degree view of Dublin.

Looking out onto the sprawling city was the perfect way to end my time in Ireland. My time in Amsterdam so far has included riding bicycles, eating Dutch pancakes and visiting the Van Gogh Museum.

For now, I’ll leave you with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Until next time, cheers!

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