I spent the weekend with a family friend, of whom I had only previously remembered meeting three of this seven member family. They lived in Ephrata for about seven years and left when I was four. It was such a nice time! They live in Dungannon, which is just a small town kind of off the beaten trail a bit. They drove me around, giving me bits of history about the areas we were seeing and whatnot. And they knew from my grandma that I am originally vegan (as most of you know, I tried to keep it just vegetarian for while I was traveling. It's too difficult to have such strict dietary rules when you're traveling... I'm lazy :) ) so I got to enjoy vegan food for two days! Oh how I loved it..... Clive (the dad of the family) is a pastor of several churches so I had to opportunity to go to church with them, which was lovely.
On Monday I met up with Luke in Belfast. He's on midterm break from teaching and decided to head to Ireland for the week! We spent the first two nights in a hostel called "The Linen House." I don't think I've been to a more dodgy hostel. Kind of dark, the staff was a bit unfriendly.... and I swear there was mold everywhere! There were nice wood floors in the rooms, but after looking around a bit one time, I noticed there was a whole in the floor. But...... this is the life of poor teachers and students. And we had it to ourselves, so that was a bonus! You never know who you might meet at the hostels.... :).
We toured around all the Northern Ireland area on Tuesday. We took a tour bus that went to Derry, the Giants Causeway, and just kind of drove around a good portion of Northern Ireland. It took up the entire day just driving around to those areas, but it was so worth it! In Derry we took a walking tour and learned a great deal about all the political stuff that went on for years until just recently. The guy who was guiding us had been heavily involved in it as well, so we really got a lot of information from someone who had actually been there and knew what it was like.
The Giants Causeway was beautiful because it was along the coast and you have all these awesome rocks all over the place! I loved it! We had lunch there as well, and that was nice after working up such an appetite hiking around the rocks and such. Some nice Irish stew.... without the meat :)
The next morning we got up and decided to head as south as possible and get along the coast. We ended up at a little town called Tramore, where we had booked the only hostel in the place and ended up staying in a B&B! It's about the most luxurious place either one of us has stayed during our entire time that we've been traveling, so over a month. It's so nice to have you're own room and bathroom that no one else is in. I've enjoyed traveling and the hostels and staying with the boys on base and at Lauren's house and everything but it's nice to just have a quiet room to yourself once in a while! The coast is beautiful here and the air is wonderful.. it feels so nice and clean and fresh!
If only we could live life at the coast of Ireland forever.. :)