The end of my year of study was surreal and bitter sweet, it was sad to say goodbye to the beautiful city of salzburg and the Center, where I called home for nine months, but I was excited to be back in Minnesota in about two weeks, and so excited to spend ten days in Ireland with Paul!!
So that is what I am writing about today, not Salzburg, but the Galway food-crawl with my buddy! You'll see why I am calling it the Galway food-crawl later.
Basically, after walking my two 40 lb bags and carry on to the Salzburg train station (thanks to Clare for helping carry a bag), then I took a train to Munich, and then to the Munich Airport, and discovered the beauty of the baggage cart! Do a little searching, and find one that is unlocked, and it will be a life saver! My trip was so much easier because of these! And after an uneventful flight to the wonderful Dublin airport (slept a night here last year,) I took advantage of their abundance of free baggage carts and cruised over to the bus terminal and hopped on a direct bus from Dublin to Galway. With the free wifi on the bus, I txted Paul which bus I was on and when I'd get in.
A few hours later, on the other side of Ireland, I gave Paul a huge hug, met a few of his friends and the Galway Food-crawl began with a stop for a vegetarian Burrito at La Salsa!
A rainy walk to Paul's apartment, a small tour, some socializing and meeting friends, and then off to get some sleep.
Basically, for most of my trip, our days looked like this:
Wake up at our leisure, make some coffee or tea while Paul made some yummy spicy breakfast potatoes (with our huge bag of potatoes we bought for just a few bucks), then sit and enjoy breakfast and coffee while listening to a nice album. A nice slow morning, just the way we like it.
Then, we usually would take a nice long walk, usually toward downtown and the water. The center of town is split into two, by the river, but both sides are so eclectic, cute, homey and very warm feeling. It reminded me so much of Portland, with its small town feeling on each street, and lots and lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cafe's.
Here is one of the places we went to lunch one day, Ard Bia, which was one of Paul's favorite restaurants in all of Galway. They also have an awesome cookbook, which I hope we will be making lots of meals from it next year when I'm living with Paul in Portland.
While it rained off and on for lots of the week (just like Portland), when it cleared up, it was gorgeous!
Galway had a few pedestrian only areas, which was common in many parts of Europe, but it also had a homey and eclectic feeling, which was unique.
One Sunday, we stopped at the market and got some amazing Falafel from a Food Cart:
Several times, we took nice walks down by the ocean..
On a few occasions, we went to this tea shop called Secret Garden and played a few games of chess, or read. Here is a picture of Paul drinking some Matte right before making a comeback and kicking my butt. Also, not the digestive crackers in the lower right hand side of the picture, these are super popular tea/coffee cracker, and we went through several packs while I was there.
Then, one day that I was there, Paul's friend Jacob invited us to go along with his parents to the Aran Islands for a day. So we drive with them to the dock, took a ferry boat across, and while they rented bikes to ride across the island, Paul and I walked.
Here are a few pictures from along the way:
Stopping for a lunch break:
And finally, we arrived, across the island, at the cliffs!
Jacob took a picture of Paul and I along the historic handmade walls.
More cliffs, don't get too close!!
And then Paul and I started our walk back across the island to the docks:
But found some places to boulder along the way:
And realized we might be late and miss the last boat off the island!!!!!!
So we made our way to the only main paved road that goes across the island (the only cars belong to the few hundred residents), and hitched a ride back with a nice lady. We were sitting on some picnic tables eating the second half of our lunch when Jacob and his parents rode by on their bikes, they couldn't believe that we had beat them back! Until we told them we got a ride, haha. Then back on the boat and off to the main land:
Another day, Paul, his good friend Perry and I walked along the coast, toward a place called Salt hill. We walked down along the water when we could. But it was so beautiful and wonderful weather.
Paul and I tiptoed our way out along some rocks and shallow water to this little pile of rocks. Here, in this picture, Paul is listening to sounds coming from this rock; covering most of these rocks out here, are shells, from a creature called a Limpet, a snail with a shell. These limpets were making so much noise, that I could hear it from back where I was taking this picture. You couldn't see them move, but you could hear the chorus of tiny clicking, ticking, and squishing noises. It was really cool.
And all the while, Perry sat perched on the bank, reading :)
Of course, Pauly had to climb this rock:
Eventually, we made it out to the historic and classic Promenade. It is an iconic part of Galway, a classic hang out spot during the summer. Then when the temps are hot, and the tide is high, it becomes a swim and dive hole for the locals to come and with their swim gear and beer:
For those who don't know Paul, he is a foodie, and so the reason I keep calling this the Galway Food-Crawl is because of all the good food we ate! Almost everyday, we ate lunch or dinner or both at an awesome place that Paul had found!
A lot of it was often local and/or organic as well, which is another reason why it reminded me of Portland. Here, we went to an amazing Crepe restaurant called Javas, the crepes were better than some of the crepes I had in Paris! Paul said the same!!
We ate lots of good food and drank good tea and coffee, and enjoyed so much of Galway's good local scene.
I did come down with a nasal infection toward the end of my time there, I could feel it creeping up on me for a few days prior, and then a couple days before I left, I woke up sick. I took it easy for those last couple days but on my last full day in Ireland, it just so happened to be Paul and my Birthdays!! So naturally, we went to the final Restaurant on our Galway Food-Crawl, the pinnacle meal of the trip, the one restaurant that Paul has been saving, all year for this very occasion! KAI's:
It has many awards and recognitions, and is considered by many to be the best in Galway. On Sunday, our Birthday, it opened at noon, so we got there at about 11:30, and good thing, because even though it was pouring rain, within minutes, a que of twenty or more people had formed!
Paul and I both had an amazing Sweet Honey Falafel dish, which was completely local and completely delicious! It was the best meal I have ever had and a top contender for Paul! We didn't get a picture, but when desert time rolled around, I got an amazing carrot cake and Paul got an awesome Pecan Pie!
It was such a good birthday meal, and all around a great end to my trip visiting Paul in Galway!
The next day, woke up bright and early, and had some breakfast, and Paul and Jack walked me to the Bus station, where I caught my bus, then grabbed a wonderful free baggage cart and made my way through the Dublin Airport and back home to wonderful Minnesota and my lovely Parents!
Until next time- Peace!