Today was our first "free" day in Ireland, meaning that we didn't have to run errands or go to endless hours of orientation. The first thing I did was sleep in. I could chalk it up to jet lag but the truth is, we've just been so busy that I'm falling asleep as soon as I pull up the covers. Not that I'm complaining!
Anyway, today Sarah and I decided to explore Galway a bit. We've really only been to the busy Shop Street (like a downtown), the school, and the far out of the way grocery store. The first thing we did was check out the farmer's market that happens on Saturdays and Sundays behind St. Nicholas Church. It was a pretty incredible place. There were vendors selling everything from hand-tooled leather bracelets to sheep wool slippers to "freshly caught Irish fairies" (which I think I have to get for my four-year-old neighbor back at home!). The knick-knacks were neat to look at but the food was the real prize.
Grocery stores are a little lacking in Ireland so we were excited to find a ton of fresh food at the market. They had fresh breads and pastries, cheeses, wine, an entire stall devoted to olives. There was a butcher there and next to him was a guy selling fresh fish. Sarah and I picked up some burgers and a couple fillets of trout (so if anyone has an easy stovetop trout recipe, let me know!). Then there was the fruits and vegetables. It was the biggest area and there were tons of people flocking to it. They had every fruit and vegetable imaginable, all for low prices! We also picked up a jar of honey (because we have to drink tea now that we live in Ireland) that was jarred in the next county over. Real honey! We'd also been hearing a lot about doughnuts. Not just regular doughnuts but the best. donuts. ever. Being that I'm not much of a doughnut person, I was skeptical but…let's just say I've been converted. I can't even describe what it tasted like; nothing will do it justice. It's just sort of crumbled and melted in your mouth. The man makes it right there in front of you while being charming and humming Irish songs.
Fruits and veggies!
The doughnut man!
I'd die for them.
After the farmer's market, we decided to explore the side of town we hadn't gotten to yet. We didn't really know where we were going but we're finding that that's kind of the way things go. By now, we're especially talented at getting lost, but getting lost has directed us to some of our favorite places! And since the Irish are so friendly, we have no problem asking for directions. There's only been one person who laughed at us and that was a little old lady who told us we were heading for the countryside instead of the department store. And then she just kept on laughing until we were laughing with her.
We made our way along the bay/harbor where they house lots of boats. The scenery was breathtaking. Sarah and I kept saying out loud we couldn't believe this was real. It feels like at any moment I'm going to wake up and be back at Canisius. I'll be spending the next five months soaking up every single detail of this place so I never forget. Not that I ever could. I've already fallen head over heels in love. The kind of love that lasts. It's been five days and already Ireland will always be home.
After walking along the bay for a bit, we found the ocean! It was so beautiful, that I'm having trouble putting into words how stunning it was to be there. I'll just leave you with some pictures so you don't have to stumble over my mediocre descriptions.
Heading out into the ocean
These guys just chill and pose for pictures
A lucky, lucky girl