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August 2015

Ireland

Weekend #1 of Ireland

Hello Again from Dublin! 

panorama carrick bridge

As I alluded in my last post, my mother and I went on a tour of Northern Ireland on Saturday. We booked it through Viator.com which has a lot of really great tours that aren’t super expensive. Our tour was 13 hours, took us all over the country, and we had two awesome tour guides. It ended up being around $60. The bus was nice and new, we weren’t rushed, and it had wifi!

before the tour

We started the tour in front of Starbucks at 7am on Saturday. Our bus pulled right up. JP, our tour guide, checked us right in and we found our spots. After everyone was settled in we were on our way to the next stop to pick up a few more people. We stopped at a very nice petrol station about an hour away and got some breakfast then kept on heading towards Belfast. We had the option to take either a black cab tour of the city of Belfast to get a more in-depth background on the prior political unrest or take a tour of the recently updated Titanic Museum. We decided that we could google the political stuff and instead went into the museum. It is right next to Titanic Studios where some of Game of Thrones is filmed.

titanic musuem    Titanic Ticket

The Titanic Museum was awesome. Our bus was the first one there so the tour wasn’t very crowded when we got there. It is self guided and could take you three hours if you really took your time. We had two hours so we had to stop dawdling towards the end. Sarah might have teared up a time or two during the process. Also, Celine plays on repeat during on section. Not complaining.

I'll never let go    my heart will go on

After the museum we hopped back on the bus to make our way towards Giant’s Causeway. JP gave us some more insight on the landscape, famous people who were from the small towns we drove through, and other interesting political facts. Richard, our bus driver/second tour guide, also pipped in with some interesting facts. They enjoyed playing Irish musicians such as U2, Enya, and Hozier. There were also some traditional music played, but clearly I am not going to remember those names.

Giant’s Causeway was amazing. We hiked around for a long time and I am very glad we went the way we did. It was a bit of a hike and fortunately the route we took was mostly downhill. Sorry to those people who didn’t realize what we knew from the beginning. The pictures I’ve posted do not do it justice. We also had the PERFECT day for this tour (which I think we will pay for in rain the next few days).

JP pic  down the stairs  savvy on the rock

After hiking for like an hour and half, we ate lunch at this quaint, little restaurant right by the cliffside. I was the one getting Fish and Chips this time (with mushy peas!) and mom (Sarah) got Guinness Strew with puff pastry and mashed potatoes. Suuuuuper good.

After we got back on the bus, JP informed us that in 10 minutes we would get to hike again! Giant’s Causeway is very close to another historical site, the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. This is literally nothing more than a glorified rope bridge. The line took FOREVER. However, the views were pretty amazing and the bus didn’t leave us like I thought they would so it all worked out. Literally stood in like for probably 2 hours to cross this tiny bridge and come back.

back ove bridge  selfie stick

That was the end of the sight-seeing so Richard and JP drove us back to Dublin with a list of restaurants and pubs to visit for the rest of our stay. The actual tour was on Wild Rover, we just booked it through Viator.com. I would highly recommend it since driving in Dublin seems to not be a task for the weak. I always enjoy being chauffeured around so I quite enjoyed it.

giant's causeway  mom and cows

We came back soooo tired from our tour, but still hungry. We stopped at this burger place off Grafton Street that was quite good. I think it was called Gourmet Burger Co? I am pretty sure it is a chain at least around Dublin. It’s fairly similar to Hopdoddy in the US. My burger tastes like the Steakburger that I get there. Instead of Parmesan Truffle fries they have Rosemary fries, which are very tasty. Mom got a Sweet Potato burger that she also enjoyed. The onion rings were the best part according to her.

Today we slept in really late (like 10:30 which is unheard of for either of us). We got ready and then walked in the rain for what felt like forever. You can google if you like from the Conrad Dublin to the Guinness Storehouse to see just how far we walked. Let’s also remember that we got lost part of the way and it is raining. I was not a happy camper. Suddenly all of the cabs in Dublin only take cash. What is up with that? THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY PEOPLE! One of the drivers gave the excuse that he didn’t want his wife to know how much he made. Cheeky…

We eventually made it to the Guinness Storehouse along with every other tourist in the greater Dublin area. It is apparently Ireland’s #1 Tourist Attraction. I am a boss and had gotten us tickets beforehand so all I had to do was pick them up from Information and we got to skip all of the lines (and pay a lower price!). It is a self guided tour through a huge building with like 9 floors. They don’t count the ground floor as floor 1 the way we do in America. That is floor 0 (zero). We slowly made our way through all of the floors and decided to stop at a little cafe about halfway through the actual tour. THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD. It may have been the fact that it was probably 2pm at this point, we hadn’t eaten that day, we had walked super far in the rain, and I was starving. It wasn’t expensive the way cafes usually are when they know you’re trapped which was also a nice gesture.

beer

After we got some good food we went into the room where  you can learn how to pour the perfect pint. I’ll let you in on a little secret… I hate beer. Mom likes it ok, but we both don’t like Guinness. Sorry to all of you beer connoisseurs out there, I’ve just never developed a taste for it. I wish I liked it. I feel like parties and social gatherings would be easier. On the other hand, I LOVE wine and I will drink whatever you have, even if I don’t like it. That is how much I love wine. Unfortunately, it seems to be too rainy in Ireland for wine, so beer it is. Pouring Guinness is great fun. We learned that there are 6 Steps to Pour a Perfect Pint. Did you know that? We all also got a little certificate with our names on it to show that we went through the “rigorous” training required.

After you pour your pint, you get to take it with you all over the floor and up to the bars on the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors. On the 7th Floor is the Gravity Lounge which is a 360 degree view of Dublin. It was pretty cool, but also SUPER crowded so mom and I ditched our beers on a table and peaced out to the gift shop. I bought some souvenirs to take home (and maybe a present for some lucky people ;))

gravity bar

After another treacherous walk back through the rain we were able to exchange some dollars for euros at a tourist shop and I discovered my favorite soap shop, Lush! We have them back in America where I frequent them for their organic hair, skin, and body products. The UK versions have some updated items and since the dollar is so strong against the euro right now, the products are actually cheaper here than in the states! Of course I had to stock up :D. We were then running a little late for Riverdance so I promised the shop girl I would be back.

We made our way over to the Gaiety Theater for Riverdance 20! This is the 20th Anniversary of Riverdance and it is only going on until August 30th so I was really happy we caught it in time. The show was awesome. Unfortunately, they did not allow me to take any pictures so I only have pictures of the sign. I am sure if you youtube clips there will be some toe-tapping fun that you can find.

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We were very cold and tired after the performance so my mom and I just headed back to the hotel to eat at the restaurant there. I hadn’t tried it yet and I am happy to report that the food was very good. I had orzo pasta and mom had sea bass. We both had butternut squash soup and she had the waiter convince me to get dessert. All of it was amazing.

riverdance inside

I realize this post is one week late, but I was having some issues uploading pictures to the blog. I’ll try to post more often this week.

Happy reading!

-Savvy

Ireland

Wannabe Heiress

I’ve decided that I was made for hotel life.

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The Conrad Hilton is meant to be my home for the next four weeks, but I’ve decided that it should be a permanent move. I’m never leaving. Yes, please do call me a cab for in the morning. Yes, I will take an apple. Thank you for opening the door and cleaning my room for me. I hate doing laundry so yes, I will take some fresh towels.

 

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Ahhh, to be Paris Hilton…. Can I be Dublin Hilton? That has a nice ring to it. 😉

To recap my last few days, I got to the hotel and was immediately overwhelmed with how nice it was (clearly since I have now claimed it as my own). I took a nap for most of the day and then my coworker, Gabe, came to get me and we went to dinner.

The next day I started work and was given a small tour of both of our sites in Citywest Business Park. They are very nice and have an awesome coffee machine. How people aren’t fighting each other to be first in line, I have no idea. I met my team that I am training and they are all very lovely. They have taught me a bunch of new words that I will be fitting into everyday conversation as well as many interesting facts about Ireland. Did you know that Irish schoolchildren take Irish the way that US children take Spanish? I had no idea! BTW, Citywest has a swan crossing!

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My team decided to take me to an “American” type restaurant today called Eddy Rockets. It is very similar to Steak and Shake or Johnny Rockets back in the States. My burger had a hashbrown in it which I thought was a very clever addition and it should now become a staple.

My mother and I have been having some wonderful meals the past few days (and maybe one unfortunately one). Everyone here could not be friendlier. Irish people love Americans and I love them. All of my cab drivers have been very chatty and love to give me advice on things to see and do around the city.

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Tomorrow mom and I are going on a 13 hour tour to see Northern Ireland which will include Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, and a robe bridge. We are hoping to make a stop to see the Titanic museum and a castle where they are filming Game of Thrones!

On Sunday we are going to see the 20th Anniversary of Riverdance! Everyone has highly recommended it so we got really good seats and are going to dress up 🙂 I am very excited to be seeing this in Dublin.

I will add another post later. It is 9:11 on a Friday night and I am totally exhausted. My tour tomorrow starts at 7am so I’m going to get some sleep.

See ya later!

-Savvy

Uncategorized

I made it!!

Hello from Dublin!

Well it took me all of three days to get here, but I finally made it! I was beginning to this would NEVER happen and that I would have to just go back to Dallas.

So on my last post I left off thinking that I had a flight at 8:30 AM the next day. I awoke at 6 to find that my flight had been cancelled and I had automatically been issued a ticket for a 1:00 PM flight to JFK airport in New York City with a flight to Dublin at 6:45. I called American Airlines to confirm and they said that the 8:30 flight wasn’t even showing on their screens. I made a leisurely morning of getting ready and then made my way to the airport. The best part about this is that on my new flight to New York, I got bumped up to First Class. The TSA lines at O’Hare are HORRENDOUS. Fortunately, since I was now FIRST CLASS STATUS I got to avoid these lines and instead went to the much shorter First Class line right behind a very large, Jewish family. I wanted to give them a shout-out, but since I am racially ambiguous, I wasn’t sure how well that would play off. People in Northern states don’t get as excited to see a fellow Jew the way Southern states do I suppose.

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Found out that my 1:05 PM flight got bumped to 1:39 so I went to Macaroni Grill and got a much needed glass of white wine. The lady sitting next to me was very nice and was on her way to deliver a 401(k) plan to a company in San Marcos for Prudential. Since my company clears for her we had a nice little chat.

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Make it over to my gate and I about have an anxiety attack that the plane is going to be late, I am going to miss my flight to Dublin, my bags won’t make it, we are all going to die, etc… Our flight to NYC boards and then we have to wait on the tarmac forever to take off so of course I am panicking that I am going to miss my flight.

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While in the air I take a look at the map of JFK since it’s been a minute since that last time I was there. I figure out where we are landing and where I am taking off from. We are landing at gate 1 and I am taking off from gate 41…. I have 15 minutes to run 40 gates. I make it right as they call business class to board!!

If you have never flown business class on an international flight before, I suggest that you do it at some point in your lifetime. I have traveled to several different countries, all coach level, and I’m really not sure I can go back to that after this experience. It may have been the wine talking, but I just sat there with a big smile on my face thinking “It’s ok if the plane goes down. I will have died happy”. BUSINESS CLASS IS SO NICE. It helped that there was no one sitting next to me so I got to steal the little pack of toiletries to go along with my own little back.

 

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Someone was always there to fill up my wine glass and bring me food. It was like heaven. They woke me up for breakfast and offered me cranberry bread. I freaking love cranberry bread. I watched The Duff and the first part of Get Hard. My only regret was that the flight was not longer.

I got off the plane and the line at customs was like 3 people so that took no time at all. Then came the part I was nervous for: Did my bags make that crazy, confusing trip?….

THEY MADE IT!

The only thing missing was one wheel off my pink suitcase. A small price to pay for all of the trauma they went through.

Got my cab. They took American Express. Had a lovely chat with my taxi driver. She was from Nigeria and was very chatty.

Got into my hotel. Got my room keys and wifi password (very much needed). A manager escorted me and my bags to my room (which is AMAZING). I took a sleeping pill and pretty much slept the rest of the day. Gabe (my coworker who has already been here a few weeks) came to get me and show me around. We had a great time wandering around City Center (their popular downtown area) and got food at a restaurant that would take my American Express (apparently, not a popular card in Europe).

Tomorrow is my first day at work and I am very excited to meet my group and get things started. I’ll post tomorrow about my hotel room and my first day.

Until tomorrow,

-Savvy

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Savvy Carry-on Tips

Hello Gentle Readers, 

As some of you may or may not know, I am currently en route to Dublin, Ireland from my home base of Dallas, Texas for a month-long work trip. As excited as I am for this trip, there are some bumps along the way…

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I was supposed to fly from Dallas to Chicago to Dublin. There are no direct flights from Dallas to Dublin (weird, right?).  Whilst in the air on the way to Chicago, there appeared a storm so we were diverted to Milwaukee. Long story short, missed that flight. There is only one flight per day from Chicago to Dublin (again, 21st century here) so I got my ticket changed for the one for today, August 16th. Work put me up at the airport Hilton (it’s pretty nice too).

Flight was at 5:45. Got through TSA around 2:00 PM. Waiting at my gate. Flight gets bumped to 6:30. 7:30. 8:30. 9:30. 1:30 am…. 8:30 AM…..

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I am currently writing from that same airport Hilton whilst watching The Blindside. Here’s to hoping the flight tomorrow goes well. My resolve is quickly fading.

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Here are the Savvy Travel tips for a great carryon:

1. Invest in a great bag. Pocket, zippers, the whole 9 yards. You want something durable (and cute!). I enjoy medium sized duffle bags, but if you travel often, for long distances, or enjoy only having a carryon instead of checking a bag, contemplate investing in a durable, wheeled bag. I know I wish I had one today… my shoulder marks will tell you that too.

2. Always have a small bag of toiletries. Extra glasses/contacts, small deodorant, mini perfume, extra hair ties/bobby pins. I always have eye liner and mascara with me,  but I usually forget a little thing of foundation. After this trip I will ensure to always travel with at least a day’s worth with me at all times. If you’re missing something, ask your hotel if they have anything they can give you. I got a razor and a toothbrush today. 🙂

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3. ALWAYS have at least 1 (or 3) extra pairs of underwear. This has been my saving grace these past few days. Sorry for the TMI, but that’s what you need to expect on this blog 🙂

4. This goes along with toiletries: Carry a mini brush AND a small can of dry shampoo. My favorite is Not Your Mother’s in the white and green can. I have yet to find a mini version so I have the Treeseme (spelling?) in the black and green can. It’s the best $2 (or less) investment you will ever make. Tips for dry shampoo: if you need it for right then, spray it into the roots in sections over your head. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes in order to soak up all of the oils. Then either brush it through your hair (my method) or use your CLEAN hands to disperse it through your scalp. Dry Shampoo is probably my best friend (sorry to the humans in my life) and is a life saver for the girl who only washes her hair once… or twice… a week.  I used to use it back when I had brown hair and it was a tad more difficult since you had to really work to make sure that it was dispersed so you didn’t look a tad elderly with the muted brown hair. However you can now buy specific dry shampoo for brown hair AND you can make your own out of cornstarch and coco power. Extends your blow out and smells great! What could be better?

5. Make sure your chargers are with you. Never know when you’re going to need to kill some time and your phone battery is low.

These were just off the top of my head and based on my own needs/experiences. You can totally tailor this to your own needs. I have several other things in my bag right now, but these are the main staples that I always carry. Currently, I also have reading material, my tablet/laptop, lotion, a notebook, pens, and my camera.

While I am in Ireland I will be on the lookout for a carry-on upgrade for the trip back…. this one large tote and small purse thing isn’t going to work for me anymore. Time to upgrade 😉

I’ll update you guys as the days go by. I’m hoping that the worst of the trip is over and it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. But hey, it’s me so that probably won’t happen.

Catch you later!

-Savvy

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First Post!

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Savannah (Savvy) and I’m here to invite you to share in my adventure!

I have wanted to start a professional blog for awhile, but always got distracted or determined there was something else that needed my attention.

While this blog is mainly about adventures, that is not what I do 24/7 (I wish!). These adventures will also chronicle my day-to-day life and all of the small adventures that make up my world.

 

Here is to happy reading and this adventure that we call life.

 

-Savvy