Another Travel Update

So far, I have had an amazing experience with this holiday. Traveling alone isn’t as scary as I expected and I’ve met some amazing people so far. I’m trying to keep them in mind, so I figured a list would be in order so that I can remember them properly.

Jane, from France
Francis, from Sweden
Kohei and Kyon, from Japan
Nathalie, from Canada
Craig, from New Zealand
Alison, from Philly
Sarah, from Canada

There are so many more whose names I didn’t get or I have already let slip from my mind (due to some amount of alcohol). There were the two guys from Holland who creeped me out at the London pub in West End. Then the seven young British men who made fun of my accent for hours and all in a good fun. They are as amused with the American accent as we are with everyone else’s accent.

I am not back in Killarney for a few days. The travel back from London was horrendous. I stayed up the entire night cause I had to leave for the airport at 4am. I couldn’t find the coach bus, saw it at the last second and had to run and catch it moments before it left. The wire of my bra snapped during my travel to the airport and punctured my skin causing me to bleed. I am down to two sports bras and wasn’t able to find a replacement bra that fit me well in Killarney.

At the London airport, Ryanair had a ridiculously long tine for check in. I would probably chose to take the ferry and a train to London from Ireland. Even though Ryanair was cheap, it was a bit of a hassle with all there extra fee’s. They charge extra if you don’t print your own tickets, they charge for your bag being checked, and they have weight requirements for both the checked bag and the carry on bag. This made it difficult to buy souvenairs in London but I really didn’t have the money for much anyways (don’t worry Mom, you got your t-shirt).

While my original travel plans didn’t involve very many hostels, I have learned that planning too much constricts your adventures. I’ve had more fun than I could have possible planned for. Had I booked up hostels for the whole of my trip, I would never have made it to Lodnon, which is probably going to be the highlight of my trip. I would not have met so many great people.

I am definitely beginning to see the formation of a book in my head. I have learned so much in the week I’ve been staying at hostels that I feel like a guide book for hostels and backpacking could be easily written! I also want to move to England! I loved London and would be content living somewhere close to London or in London. It’s very expensive to live in London, worse than New York.

But this experience has proved to be well worth it. I feel like I’ve spent more than expected with the London trip but that it was worth every Dollar, Euro, Pound, etc…


Much Ado About Nothing in London

By Colleen Boyle

Maybe, it was the fact that it was the first day I ever stepped a foot in London or the fact that I had never seen a Shakespeare performance even after studying Shakespeare throughout my university studies, but I really enjoyed the current production of Much Ado About Nothing starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

So here’s how it happened. I was on a five week holiday in Ireland when my friend sends me a link to an article about the production. Both Suzy and I are Doctor Who fans and well read Literature buffs. I love Shakespeare. I took a course while getting my bachelors degree and can say that I really enjoyed reading the plays.

But no matter how well I enjoyed them, I knew that something was missing. Well it’s pretty obvious Shakespeare didn’t write a play with the intention of it being read in a classroom—it was meant to be performed.

So before the trip to Ireland even began, I made a bucket list of all the things that I really wanted to put priority on experiencing in life. The list was silly but a few items like “See a Shakespeare play performed live” were serious things I wanted to do.

Well, I took a detour from my Ireland trip and planned a weekend in London. I haven’t even been sightseeing yet, have only been on the Tube twice and haven’t even bought a silly key chain. But I had my tickets to Much Ado About Nothing.

This is the preview week of the production so very feel reviews were in existence. I read a few of them and had already heard complaints that it seemed like some people were only there to laugh and respond to David Tennant. I understand that ‘draw’. I am a newly found Doctor Who fan but I’m a Shakespeare fan first.

I found that there were so many reasons to laugh that I couldn’t really sort out the Doctor Who fans from the theatre lovers. While, there were moments that only a few laughed because they ‘knew’ the joke, overall it didn’t seem like I was at a Justin Beiber concert or whatever new pop singer you want to put in that sentence.

My overall thoughts were that I was a little surprised to see the modern setting but happy they retained the original language and dialogue very closely (though there were a few things changed from the original script, I believe).

But the main conclusion is that David Tennant shines on stage. Maybe that is why he made such an enjoyable Doctor, he is a very theatrical performer and he puts thought and feeling behind every word spoken.

David and Catherine as Beatrice and Benedict is a match made in heaven. I can tell you that from reading the play and watching Doctor Who. But on the stage together, they are electric together (am I starting to sound cheesy?).

The modern setting was a little off putting to me at first. I was almost expecting them dressed like the film adaptations, old suits and dresses and old English clothes. But the modern setting grew on me fast. Benedict overhearing the conversation in the orchard became entertaining when he puts his hand in a tray of paint, ending in him smearing it all over his face and hair from being so drawn into the conversation.

Catherine Tate got a similar scene that was equally entertaining. The part where the modern setting really became solid in my mind was the bachelor and bachelorette parties and the music. It’s refreshing to have fun and modern music with the old Shakespearian language.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the dancing party at the beginning where Beatrice bad mouths Benedict but thought she was speaking to someone else. Don Pedro wears an Indiana Jones costume, another character in Princess Leia, Beatrice looks like a sexy androgynous Blues Brothers, and Benedict is in drag. First of all, prancing on stage in a jean skirt, pleather red high tops, and lace stockings is a good laugh no matter who does it. But taking a Doctor Who actor and putting him on stage to do that is just hilarious.

I don’t know that my opinion has much credit since I am not a regular theatre attendee, but the girl working on her Masters in English Literature can go home to Chicago and say that Shakespeare on stage is absolutely thrilling. I plan to see another performance at the Globe Theatre before leaving London and will make more efforts to see Shakespeare performed live at home in Chicago.

As for David Tennant and Catherine Tate, both are wonderful on stage and did wonderful with the particular roles in Much Ado About Nothing. I would not hesitate to see another play with either actor. Beatrice is my second favorite Shakespeare female (just after Viola in Twelfth Night) and I was happy to say that Tate did a wonderful job of portraying the attitude and overall personality. I always identified with Beatrice as the opposite of that silly romantic girl you expect in older literature. Tate did her character justice.

As someone new to theatre and new to London, I can say that I am having a great time and felt absolutely privelaged to have seen David Tennant on stage. I would love them to bring this production to the United States, even if it doesn’t go to my hometown Chicago, it’d still be worth a flight or drive to see.

My London Journey

Today, I arrived in London around 10:30 in the morning. The slight detour from my 5 week tour of Ireland was the greatest idea I ever had. On the way to the hostel, I started to think it was a bad idea. My shoulders and neck were tense and painful from my luggage (even though I left the majority of my luggage in Ireland at a hostel in Killarney).

But it’s nearing midnight and I have no regrets at all. The Green Man Hostel in London is pretty nice. The common areas and reception are all apart of the bar. So they serve alcohol 24 hours and have people around and hanging out all the time.

I went up to my room and people are already in bed. Seems kind of early but I guess I’m a night owl. The reception/bartenders are really helpful and nice. I was shocked to find that the public transportation was more crowded than anywhere I’ve ever seen. It was rush hour when I got on the tube and I barely squeezed into the door with about 15 people still waiting at that one door. The messed up thing, the trains come every 1-2 minutes. And every train was full. On my way back from Wyndham Theatre, it was still pretty crowded but everyone was able to get on the next train that came through the station.

As usual, I adapt to new systems of public transportation without much effort. Maybe that’s the city girl in me talking but I definitely feel more comfortable in the big city than the little towns. There’s diversity with people everywhere speaking different languages, tons of young people, and bars everywhere. I feel at home!

While I was still in Killarney, I met a young guy from Philadelphia. Don’t know if he’s a hockey fan or not but he didn’t have any hostilities towards me so, I guess not. But anyways, he was telling me all about his travels. He went to France in Sept 2010 with a student visa and then has been country hopping since. He had some cool stories and highly recommended doing more backpacking.

This has me thinking about my next travels and other such plans. Teaching English abroad or doing other fun and exciting European trips. But right now, I’m sitting in a bar in Central London, drinking a Bulmers (yeah, it’s Irish, so what?), and I really need to continue with the vacation I am on before I begin to plan the next one.

So the next post is my review of Much Ado About Nothing.

determination and stubbornness can be a dangerous combo

It’s my last night staying on Valentia Island and I had one last thing I wanted to see, Bray Tower. After spending most my day working my online job and doing laundry to prepare for my departure, I decided I didn’t care how dark it was, I was going to hike my way up to Bray Tower.

So. I made some dinner and took a shower and then set off. I drove across the island and parked the car. It was raining, so I left my camera and bag in the car and just brought the car keys. Now, at this point, I should have been like, hmmmm, it’s raining, maybe I shouldn’t make the walk.

But, this is me we’re talking about. So I put my bag back in the car and then walk my happy little ass in my adidas sandals and then climb the fence and start my hike. First of all, sandals wasn’t the best idea and neither were the jeans I wore. I was soaking wet after 5 minutes and could feel a layer of rain water gathering on my face.

It was so foggy that I couldn’t see in any direction farther than 10-20 feet. I also managed to scare a little gaggle of sheep. After 40 minutes of walking through what I’m sure could be classified as a cloud, I arrived at the tower and as it came to view, it sort of emerged in the fog very slowly. Seriously, straight out of a horror movie!

The tower wasn’t that tall or much to look at and since I left the camera in the car, I can’t even show you the sight I got. The whole tower was covered in fog and beyond it a high cliff with ocean waves crashing. I started to walk towards the edge of the cliff but visibility was too bad and I am prone to falling and tripping and didn’t feel like swimming at that time of night.

So I headed back down the lonely country road with a new spring in my step I like to call accomplishment. It was quite good exercise to get up that trail and to the second highest point on the island.

I got back to find my housemates enjoying tea in the kitchen and they got a good laugh out of seeing me soaked from head to toe and my feet and sandals covered in mud. They made me a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and I gave them the whole story.

Finally did some proper sightseeing

Today was a grand day! I slept in pretty late (as you all know I love to do). Then I got a driving tour with a local friend named John. We drove around the Ring of Kerry, stopping to take pictures every so often and a stop in Kerry National Park.

The National Park was a lot of fun. It had exhibits of the traditional Irish farm. It should have been educational for a city girl like me, but I spent most of my time making friends with a local kitten that I named kitty-cow-cat. She was so cute, I almost put her in my purse and brought her back with me. John found this pretty amusing.

For those friends of mine who have commented on how ridiculously fast I like to drive on Chicago expressways, I now know how you felt. John drove really fast along winding roads over mountains and on the edge of cliffs. It was quite a walk down memory lane actually. Shawn and my dad both remember how Grandpa Boyle used to drive the Jeep in Colorado. We’d hold on for dear life while Grandpa reassured us he knew the roads like the back of his hands.

So I’ve finished rearranging my trip and it goes like this.

Valentia Island, Kerry County til May 18th.
May 18th in Killarney at a hostel (need to be at the airport early and Killarney is the most convenient location for this)
May 19th fly to London
Staying at the Green Man Hostel in Central London til May 23rd
May 23rd fly back to Kerry Airport, Ireland
Stay in Killarney for maybe two more nights
May 25th go to Cork and stay in another Hostel
June 1st bus to Galway and stay in Hostel til Flight back on June 6th
Then back home to Chicago!

By this time, I will be out of money and need three days of sleep. But it will be worth it.

I’d post pictures from my sightseeing today but left my camera in my room upstairs and too tired to get it. Sorry everyone.

Another Update-Change in Travel Plans

By Colleen Boyle

I thought this whole travel and stay in a foreign country and work to pay for my room and food thing would be a breeze. But holy crap was I wrong! My hands hurt, my back hurts, and I even sweated! yeah, I know! Sweat! Gross.

But the people I am working with are really nice and helpful. We get to take a break and order food from Sinead, the cafe cook. As we were all eating, an African-American dude with dreadlocks comes over to the table and starts speaking Japanese to Keho and Kenom (will update with correct spelling soon).

His name is Shannon and he’s from southern California. Him and his wife (who is from Toronto but not a hockey fan) moved here permanently. Shannon has his own business trying to bring Japanese tourism to Valentia Island. He spoke Japanese fluently and made the Japanese couple staying here excited to speak the language again. Made me feel like an ass for learning the language in high school and only remembering a few words and how to count to three.

Today was a long day of cleaning, sweeping, and organizing the back rooms of the cafe. But it wasn’t too bad and I’m sure it’ll be easier day to day. After a long day and a delicious meal (I got a BLT and Chips), me and Jane took the car to Cahersiveen to put my name on the insurance and get dog food.

Jane gave me the car keys and pointed out the car and said she’d be there in a moment. So I went and got in (after having to remind myself the drivers seat is the opposite as it is in my Kia) and I sighed and face palmed myself. Manual Transmission.

Now, me and manual transmissions are friends–well I guess acquaintances. My dad made me drive his toyota when I was 15 and I did okay. I got nervous at a stop light when there were cars behind me and couldn’t get the car going and kept stalling. It was frustrating and so my dad gave up.

But then again when I was 16, I drove my dad’s toyota in Wisconsin, in the open and wide roads. The roads in Ireland are small and people drive freakin’ fast. So here I was, in Ireland, sitting at the driver’s seat, and Jane gets in.

I explain to Jane that I haven’t driven a manual car in over ten years and couldn’t promise to do it well now. But she has faith in me and my confidence builds a little. Here’s the thing, Jane is only 22 and can’t be insured on the car. Since I am 26, I can be insured.

Another hurdle to overcome? Jane’s first language is French so she has no idea how to explain what to do in English. I kind of remember, so we peice it together and figure it out and off I go, driving on the left side of the road like a badass (even grinning now at the though of it, yeah, I know, what a dork).

So then driving off the ferry is a steep hill and I stalled the car trying to shift into second and have to slam on the brakes to stop from rolling back into the cars behind me.

I tried to get the car to go up the hill but didn’t want to break the host’s car. So me and Jane switch and Jane takes the car back to the cafe. Jane promised to take me out driving so that I can practice a bit and get the hang of it.

Here’s what I mean when I say that the roads are really narrow. Watch the video below. If cars are going in the opposite direction, one has to pull as far over as possible and stop and let the other pass because they’d hit each other while moving.

A few days after I began this blog post and I’ve practiced my driving and was able to get over the car ferry and to the supermarket in Cahersiveen. My scared passengers were thankful for my efforts and we now have a fridge full of food. I think I am going to make pizza tonight or tomorrow night for my housemates.

A few changes in my plans. I’m leaving Valentia Island early for a trip to London. Going to see David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare with Doctor Who actors, this girl’s dreams are coming true). For those family members worried about where I’ll be when, my flight to London is May 19th and I fly back to Kerry Airport May 23rd. From there, I will let people know where I’m going. Either Cork, Galway, Dublin, or a smaller town. I may visit some distant family members (Uncle Mike and Aunt Cheryl Daly’s family). But I will give everyone update.

Also, while in London, platform 9 3/4 is a must see and I will take lots of pictures!

Traveling to Ireland

So Monday morning, I woke up at about 6am and finished the last bit of packing, had breakfast with my Dad, and then drove to O’hare Airport. I got my plane tickets and then waited about an hour for my flight to JFK. I was a little nervous about flying to New York right after news broke of Osama Bin Laden’s death. But all went well. I had about four hours to kill at the airport and did so by eating BBQ Guinness wings and reading A Beauty Myth, a book long ago recommended by Maggie Molloy.

After the flight to New York, I started to feel a cold coming on-nasal congestion, sneezing fits, and a little bit of coughing. This is just my luck and it hasn’t gone away yet. But I arrived at Shannon Airport and was shocked at how small the airport was. The airport parking lot was the size of a Metra Station parking lot (NO, I am not exaggerating).

I managed to get on a bus and head toward Limerick. While in Limerick, I ventured to find a pharmacy or a drug store. I actually found three, all of which were closed. How disappointing. I went into two convenience stores and asked for cold medicine. One guy had no clue what I meant. The girl in the first store understood but didn’t have any (she pointed me towards the pharmacy that weren’t open).

Limerick was eternally boring. I didn’t enjoy the wait for the next bus but I was tired, sick, and fatigued. I tried to walk around a bit, but the 50+ pounds of luggage made it difficult. I could feel blisters forming on my hands from carrying everything I had with me.

From Limerick, there was a two and a half hour bus to Killarney. This was the worst bus ride ever! I had to use the bathroom (they call them Toilets here, fyi) almost immediately after leaving the Limerick bus station. After about an hour, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I had to ask the bus driver when the next stop was because I needed a toilet. He said he’d let me know when there was a nearby toilet and that he’d wait for me to get back. This was awesome since the next bus wouldn’t be for two hours and none of the stops were in big towns. I felt like such an ass holding up the bus but the bus driver was super nice and I thanked him over and over again.

After I was able to relieve myself, me and the bus driver had a lengthy conversation. He asked about my flight since he regularly flies overseas since his wife is from Baltimore. When we arrived in Killarney, he advised me that the shop owner would watch my bags for 2 Euros so that I didn’t have to bring it with me.

Killarney was beautiful and I would go back and stay there in a heartbeat. It’s a smaller town than Limerick but way more lively and fun. The bus station was attached to an outlet mall so I ended up buying a few Nike T-shirts for 10 euros a piece. I walked for a bit and managed to get some great pictures of the town.

Though it rained a little in Killarney, you can tell from the pictures, it was a really good time. I was still feeling sick and sneezing but I enjoyed it better than my wait in Limerick. Another great thing about Killarney is the store, Boyle Sports. Since my last name is Boyle and everyone in my family are sports fanatics (at least almost everyone is), I just had to get a picture of this place. I was very pleased to see my last name there!

My last bus ride was from Killarney to Cahersiveen (good luck trying to pronounce that, it took a few tries for me to get it right). I finally made it there and was supposed to have a friend of my host’s pick me up. But of course it starts raining and my ride is no where in sight and of course, I have to use the toilet again. This is just my luck. By the time I lug all my things to the nearest shop and use the toilet, my ride is outside the bus stop looking for me. Luckily I made it back before he gave up and he greeted me graciously.

His accent was British and we picked up two elderly women who also live on the island, and are also British. So we chatted about the royal wedding and made our way to the island across the bridge near Portmagee, Ireland. After he drops off the two other women, he finally brings me to the Knightstown Cafe and we knock on the door where a girl around my age answers.

The other people staying with me are a newly wed Japanese couple who are really interesting and fun to talk to and then a girl who studies in Ireland but comes from Sweeden and a girl from France who has been here over two months. The room I am staying in is the brightest color of pink which isn’t my favorite color. There are also mirrors all over the wall which kind of creeps me out, but oh well.

My first night here involved a quick tour around the coffee shop and upstairs apartments, and a tour of the owner’s house which is currently occupied by her seven dogs while she is out of town. These dogs are really cool and can be brought down to her private beach to play. I haven’t had a chance to take them down there, but plan to this weekend.

After the tour, I opted to skip dinner with the rest of the group and get some well needed rest. About 15 hours of sleep to be exact. I still woke up feeling sick but a little bit better. The coffee shop has been closed since I arrive so there hasn’t been much work to do yet. I took a walk down to the end of the block and enjoy the view. Literally:

While I must admit, I was very nervous at first, the more I’ve talked to the other people staying here, the more comfortable I am. They all speak English, some a bit better than others, but enough for me to understand. The Japanese couple has cooked both meals I’ve had so far. I’d offer to cook but would rather keep my germs to myself. Tomorrow, the cafe will be open so I will probably be watching the bookstore or some other type of duty. I will update again soon and hopefully without a cold.