Day 7 (green-blue) started at the Eiffel Tower, since I had looked online and Sept 1-2 were the least busy days that I would be there. I also wanted to go in the morning because it would be less crowded, of course. I was amazed at the structure, it was so gorgeous and mostly because I was astounded at the engineering! I wanted to take the stairs up, but the stairs from the ground level to the next floor up were closed, so I had to get the elevator. I’m glad I did, since I got to walk from the toppest level down to the next levels, so I still got to see the views and such from the walk, but going down instead of up.
After the boat trip, I walked along the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay, which was amazing. It’s housed in a former train station that was built for the World’s Fair and from the clocks in its front face, you can look out and see the Louvre. An old couple told me about the museum when I was visiting London ages ago, so it was cool to go see. That, and the Degas dancers were there. Since I did ballet for 9 years, it was amazing to see the paintings and statues there in person.
Day 8 (light blue) turned into a Museum Expedition day, since I get into the museums for free I wasn’t too worried about getting my “money’s worth” since the money was 0. I started at the Louvre and got a ticket for the audio guide, but decided to start at Musée de l’Orangerie and Musée des Arts Décoratifs before heading back to the Louvre, since they’re smaller and I wouldn’t have to wait in line for any of them with my Irish ID. I was really excited to see the Barbie exhibit at Musé des Arts Décoratifs, since my mom sent me a link to an NPR article about the exhibition.
The exhibition was, honestly, the best one I saw all day! Mostly since the other places I went were museums, not exhibitions. I was surprised and a bit disappointed that the most common complain about Barbie, that her figure is outlandish and impossible, wasn’t addressed (it’s because the clothes when she was first made would literally not stay on her body otherwise), but I loved to see the evolution of Barbie, the diagram of her family and friends, and how they make the choices for new couture Barbie styles.
The highlight of the Louvre, for me, was to see one of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s The Young Beggar. I’ve been fascinated with Murillo’s paintings of street kids since I was a kid myself, sparked by three decorative plate-versions of the paintings my grandma had hanging in her dining room. I distinctly remember examining the paintings every time my grandpa put my shoes on, singing “Put Your Shoes on Lucy” since I always, and still, preferred to be barefoot.
My final day (Day 9, dark blue) started at Montmartre, where I saw the Moulin Rouge and the café from Amélie before walking up to Sacré-Cœur. I mostly walked around the streets for the first half of the day before hopping on the subway and heading for Cimetière du Père Lachaise. Just outside the cemetery walls was a little sidewalk market, where I, naturally, bought a new-old camera.
With my new camera in hand, I walked through the cemetery, amazed at what I call the Death Houses.
Of course, I also hunted down Oscar Wilde’s resting place, but I found the Death Houses to be cooler. From the cemetery, I went and sat at the base of the Eiffel Tower, waiting for the light show when the lights turned on. Once the Eiffel Tower lights came on, I walked back towards the Louvre to head back to the hotel and grab my suitcase before heading to the hostel I was staying in before going to the airport the next morning.
All I’m going to say about my airport experience is that Beauvais airport is the worst airport I have ever been to in my life, and I have been to a lot of airports.
The weather has cooled and it’s raining. It’s been hot the past few days and I’ve spent most of them outside, walking the streets of Barcelona, so the light breeze that comes through the open door is nice.
When I first arrived, I didn’t have plans for much, I just knew that I wanted to go to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and that I wanted to get my feet wet. Day 1 (red) was spent getting acclimated to the heat, getting food since Alex’s fridge was almost completely empty, and figuring out what else I wanted to see and the best way to do it. I ended up going to the supermarket up the street from Alex’s apartment twice and I used my (limited) Spanish to find whole milk and sandwich bags. It was at that supermarket that I discovered I can’t read Catalan. I also needed to buy sunscreen, since I didn’t bring enough with me, and the pharmacy was right by the water, so I took a walk along the beach. While researching, I found info that some of the museums were free after three on Sundays and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya was free after three on Saturdays, which was the following day.
My days all pretty much started off the same, I would get up around 10am (I’m on holiday and Ireland is an hour behind), have a bowl of cereal and a cup of chai, get my things together and slather on a layer of sunscreen, then walk along the beach to Montgat Nord train station. Saturday (Day 2, orange), I got off at the Arc de Triomf station, which was the first Barcelona station on the R1. I walked through the nearby park before heading to La Central bookstore to pick up a Catalan edition of Harry Potter, then to Plaça de Catalunya to eat my sandwich before making my way up up up to the museum. It was a hike, but it was gorgeous and worth it when I finally made it. The art in the museum was absolutely gorgeous and apparently I was also near the olympic stadium, which I discovered later when I was looking at a map and because I found the Font Magica.
Sunday (Day 3, yellow-orange) a lot of the museums were free after 3pm, so I started at Plaça de Catalunya again and this time walked down La Rambla towards the water. At the end of the big walking street was a huge monument to Christopher Columbus, the Mirador de Colom, but I kept meandering past him along the water, admiring my proximity to it. I love to be near/on water but not necessarily in water. So I like to be on piers and boats and the like. Once it was close enough to 3pm, I made my way to Museu Frederic Marès, which I thought was going to be like Ed’s Museum in Wykoff, MN based on its description, but instead it was a bunch of creepy wooden religious statues. A lot of versions of the same statue of Jesus on the crucifix and Mary and Jesus. There were four floors, but I left after three…
From there, I went the Picasso Museum because it was also free but the line was way too long and I knew I would see something of Picasso’s again. Instead, I went to the Museu d’Història de Barcelona, which had a cool underground archaeology area that was the old city that they built the new one on top of. The coolest thing, though, was part of their temporary exhibit:
At the end of the day, I had a ticket to the Palau de la Música Catalana tour and miniconcert and, honestly, you just have to look through the photos of this one. It was absolutely gorgeous. The detail work in every part of the theatre was incredible and the sun skylight/chandelier in the middle was amazing.
Monday (Day 4, yellow), I started back at Plaça de Catalunya and went down La Rambla again, this time because I was heading to the Oficina de Correos. At the Mirador de Colom, I wondered which way he pointed.
I was MONUMENTALLY disappointed that it wasn’t towards America or even India. After that disappointment, I got my stamps, went to a café called Clandestina, and finished writing/stamping my post cards.
My last day in Barcelona (Day 5, green) I spent at Platja Montgat. I had to pack and plan for Paris and finish writing my post cards before I left, plus I was spending the night in the airport…
Man, oh man, I submit my thesis today. Including cover page, index, appendices, references, and the actual content itself, it’s 50+ pages. It’s good to be done, but I was using the Gatsby Party as the bookend of the summer and that was a week ago…
The Gatsby Party was the day before my 25th birthday, so that was awesome timing. Then, the day after my birthday I went to visit my friend Edith in Killarney, Co. Kerry. It was great seeing her and Maël (her boyf) before they move to France in September, although I will see them in Maynooth for her graduation. It seems like only yesterday she was a first year! (Edith and I met when we lived together when I was studying abroad, she was a first year at the time.)
This week (on the 25th!) I go to Barcelona and from there I head to Paris. I’m going to be staying on a friend’s couch in Barcelona and my dad got me a hotel room for my birthday in Paris (I called my mom to ask for advice on booking a hostel because the cost:hostel ratio was not worth it and instead ended up with a hotel room! BEST FAM).
Then I’ll be back in Ireland for a week and a bit before Katie comes to visit, so hopefully in that time I can visit a friend in Limerick, go to Howth with some other friends, and pack… Maybe I’ll go to Howth with Katie and my friends here! Two birds, one trip.
Then once Katie is here, we’re going to Edinburgh and then traveling around Ireland and then we’re flying home together! I’m very excited to go home. 😀
In the meantime, there’s still posts scheduled in my portfolio for every Monday at 4:30pm and a new series of articles is going to post here on travel tips for Katie called Travel in (Relative) Style. They’ll post at 4:30pm, too! I’m also working on a page for the site that will have a description of the projects and posts and each of the sections of this site, since there isn’t one of those…
So I went to London (again) for a few days and, in fact, I just got back yesterday. I think I get some kudos for posting this relatively quickly….
I booked this trip a few months ago because I had tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and didn’t know I was going to be visiting London twice in March, but that meant I had the chance to book a day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Although, the booking of that was a DAMN MESS because I am apparently terrible at dates/times. I booked the wrong times TWICE before finally getting it sorted and correct.
I did luck out and happen to be in London at the same time as the Victoria and Albert Museum was offering a free behind the scenes tour of their Conservation Studios, so I got my ticket for that while I was visiting in March. That was so cool, even though I was the youngest person there by about 40 years (or more…) Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but I did get to see the paper, books, painting, textiles, and sculpture conservation studios. The textile studio was my favorite, there was a gorgeous 1950s-esque dress on display in the studio and “The Souper Dress” was just visible if I stood up on my toes and peered around everything.
After my tour of the V&A, a couple of artists I follow on Tumblr who happened to be in London at the same time met me there and we went through the V&A and its Undressed exhibit. I had already met up with them the day before for ramen and wandering after I landed in London and we planned to meet up again, but it never worked out. It was fun to hang out with them, though.
The next day, I was looking for weird museums to go to, so I went to the Ragged School Museum, which was really small. It was a school started for orphans and homeless children by a doctor who came to London from Ireland intending to be a doctor missionary in China, but he decided to stay in London and help children there. I was talking to the volunteer and he was super friendly and knew a lot about the museum, so it was nice to chat with him before the school groups descended on the museum. Once the kids got there, it was too loud from them walking around and he was busy so I went on to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory.
I got a ticket for the Royal Observatory and it included a free ticket to the space-themed exhibit, Above and Beyond, in the National Maritime Museum that I wanted to go to but didn’t want to get a separate ticket for, so that worked out really well! In the Royal Observatory, I got to stand on the Prime Meridian line and go up in the giant dome where the telescope used to be. It was so lovely out in Greenwich, I was amazed at all the greenery and the big boat (the Cutty Sark)!
My last stop of the day was the Harry Potter play, but I won’t say anything about that because #spoilers. Except that my heart was full of feelings for these guys:
So the weirdest thing happened when I was on Facebook, though, because it turns out someone I worked with at Best Buy who had been going to university in Hawai’i since I had left for China was in London at the same time! What a coincidence. So we decided to meet up for tea the next day at 3.
Before meeting my friend, I went to the Wellcome Collection, which wasn’t as weird as I was hoping it was going to be, and I tried to go to the Zoological Museum, which was closed. But I did get to see a trepanned skull, so that was cool.
On my way to meet up with Josh, I went to a vintage shop and flicked through the jean jackets, ultimately finding one that was super cute AND super marked down. The original price in the vintage shop was 50GBP but I got it for 18. Yes, I am bragging about my name-brand jean jacket being HELLA CHEAP cause a brand new jacket from the same company is like 100GBP. DEALS.
So then I went for tea with Josh, who I hadn’t seen in 3 years. We talked about vintage cameras, which was awesome, because he works at a camera shop in Hawai’i and does photography and stuff. We decided there are three kinds of Camera People: Big Tech (like him), Vintage (like me), and Hobbyists (like my dad). He was impressed with my vintage collection and I with the massive expensive cameras that he got to work with, so it was awesome to be able to talk to someone about cameras and them actually understand.
After that was part 2 of the HP play, where I definitely DID NOT CRY ABOUT THE MALFOYS.
The next day was my last in London, so I decided to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon. The adventure was a bit of a mess, from not having the card I used to book the tickets to not finding a place to store my bag (I left it with some theatre staff, not technically a cloakroom at all), but I did get to see Shakespeare’s house and grave and gardens, and the town was super nice even if I was a little ill. (Did I mention I got sick like Day 2 of this trip and felt like I was dying by part 2 of HP?? Cause I was DYING.) On the train back, though, I chatted with these two nice old men because one of them brought out his lil packet of travel tissues because I was very obviously snuffly and miserable. We talked about 60s TV shows and SciFi and traveling, and when I went to leave, he gave me the lil packet of tissues!
So after my train back from Stratford-Upon-Avon, I went to the airport, because that’s where I was sleeping, and I managed to get a two-seat section that I wedged myself into for a nap. Then I caught my flight at 6:30am and went home and slept!
So this year, my brother graduated high school. It looked like it was going to be a logistical nightmare to get me home for his graduation (not to mention the cost!!), so I booked my own flights back in February, managed to keep the surprise to myself until 3 weeks before the trip (my family is not very good at surprises, we like to be informed), and surprised everyone by showing up to my little brother’s graduation!!
When I first booked the flights, I thought I would feel not-great about the amount of money they cost, but I actually felt a great weight lifted from my soul because I wasn’t going to miss my only little brother’s only high school graduation.
Over the course of the week, I saw my grandparents, my mom’s younger brother and his wife, family friends, Danny’s friends, some high school friends, and, of course, neighbors. I also made use of mom’s sewing machine and supplies and made a few gifts (which I can’t post photos of yet, because I haven’t given them) and a dress and ran a bunch of errands.
I even ended up with a flight delay of 24-hours (I voluntarily chose to reschedule and go home than to get stuck in Chicago O’Hare for an indeterminate number of hours) that worked out really, really well. I got a post card I would’ve otherwise missed, grabbed the books I meant to bring with me but forgot, and set up my parents website on the exact day mine renewed! Crazy timing.
Which brings me to the updates!!
As some of you may know, but probably not, I have a portfolio set up on this website as well as a digital repository set up on a subdomain. Over the next few weeks (hopefully), I’ll be updating the portfolio with info on setting up and using WordPress as well as a few other techie things for my parents, who will be new to the blogosphere. I’ll, of course, add a link to their website when it’s up and functional. Currently, it’s empty.
I’ve also migrated My Makeshift Kitchen into this website, no more separate URL for it! In light of that, different post types have different headers, which you might have noticed! (Probably not, it was a really quiet change 😛 ) I aim to have header images for the different projects within my portfolio, for the locations in the travel blog section, for My Makeshift Kitchen, and for those that don’t particularly fall under any of the previous categories (which I mentally refer to as Articles).
Today, my friend Lisa (who I met in Shanghai and hung out with many times in Beijing and visited last November in Leeds) went back home after visiting for a few days. We didn’t really get up to much, we spent a day wandering about and then hung out at my house the next day. I made vegetarian sloppy joes and Snickerdoodles, though, for that Ultimate American Experience (obviously).
Two weeks ago, I submitted my final assignment for semester 2. That means I’m now finished with classes for my master’s degree and just have the capstone (like a group thesis project) to focus on over the summer. Looking at my grades, I’m doing pretty well. I haven’t gotten less than a B- and in Ireland, it’s a lot harder to get an A than in the US. At least, according to everyone I talk to and everything I read.
About a month before that, I finished up my crazy-busy travel month. In the month of March, I went to London twice, went on a road trip around Ireland with my family, and visited Milan, so here’s a quick breakdown of those trips:
I spent a few days in Milan, where I saw the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as a museum full of da Vinci sketches. I went to a lot of churches, but the coolest was climbing a million stairs to get to the top of the Duomo cathedral.
A week after Milan, I met my family in London where we spent 2 days before going on an Irish road trip. We went to Bru na Boinne, Newgrange, Belfast, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, the Blarney Castle, and Cork (plus 12 places in London and 5 in Dublin and we spent a day in Maynooth). It was an exhausting trip, but I’m glad I waited to go to most of the places on our trip instead of going without my family. Even though I’m used to traveling by myself, the Mittelstaedt Family Trip is an awesome tradition and it’s nice to spend that time with my family instead of not spending quality time with them now that I’m grown up.
It’s hard to say what was my favorite location on the trip, but I think it was the Tower of London and the little place Danny and I hiked just before we got to the Cliffs of Moher. We got lucky on our trip because it was sunny the days we went to Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher, but started raining as we were on our way back.
I started the month of April with a weekend trip to London where I met up with family friends I’ve known since I was very young. I had a great time showing them all my favorite places of London and going on (yet more) walking tours with them. For whatever reason, I didn’t write down all the places we went and they sort of blur together with visiting London with my family, but I did get the chance to go to the Victoria and Albert Museum (on my own, they were still in Paris when I arrived) and we went to Tower of London (which I still really enjoyed!)
One thing I didn’t even think to do when my family was visiting was go on a Jack the Ripper tour. We went on the one done by the Beefeaters (the guards at the Tower of London) and it was fantastic. I had such a great time showing the Hughes around London, I could honestly be a tour guide (HINT HINT LITERALLY ANYONE NEEDING A TOUR GUIDE IN DUBLIN).
I’m currently sitting in a tea shop (the same one I’ve come to like 5 times in the past week in Dublin) waiting for my friend to meet me, but I hope to write an article-style post about dead things to see in Dublin and maybe another about museums to visit here. I’ve found that my favorite museums in Dublin have dead things as my favorite exhibit, so look out for that.
Wow! I’m already halfway through what I hope will be my busiest month this year! I’ll try to update my blog as time passes, but it’s going to be tough as I’m only halfway through and I’m already exhausted!
I have written about my Milan trip, but I won’t type it up and upload it until after the post cards have made it to the US! I don’t want the tidbits and info on the cards to be spoiled by those who (maybe??) read my blog. (Does anyone read this thing?! If yes, COMMENT! If no,
My family will be here to visit in a week (or so), but I do have some posts scheduled in my Portfolio that post Mondays at 4:30pm GMT. 😀 I’m currently working on a lot of neato school projects that I’ll get to uploading once I’ve finished them / turned them in, but in the mean time I’ve got some projects from last semester and my internship uploading. I’m probably going to upload some projects from my undergrad days as well, so keep an eye on that page!
I’m most excited about this cool project I’m working on for my Digital Libraries course, which should be live the first week of May! (It is, after all, DUE the first week of May…)
Anyway, I’m going to go crash in exhaustion as it’s currently day 2 of 3 of a 9-5 course that’s basically a workshop. The stuff I’m working on will be part of my portfolio eventually but, as I said, I have to finish it first!
I know, I know, it’s been over two months since I’ve updated but I’ve been busy! Here’s a brief summary:
8 Dec – Made it home in time for my brother’s 18th birthday
9 Dec – Bro’s BDAY NOW AN ADULT WHAT
16 Dec – Turned in my last assignment… Semester one complete!
20 Dec – Started the trip to gramma&pa’s house!
22 Dec – Gramma&pa’s house!
25 Dec – Merry Christmas! My aunt (mom’s sis) and cousin (mom’s oldest bro’s daughter) surprised gramma & grampa by coming to visit, another cousin (mom’s oldest bro’s son) got engaged, and we had the whole family (gramma&pa, mom & dad, her 2 bros, her sis, uncle’s wife, 3 cousins, me & Danny, cousin’s fiance & her son) all together for the first time in years and years and years! AND IT WAS A WHITE CHRISTMAS!!
29 Dec – Snowed in on the way home. I hate snow!
31 Dec – New Year’s with mah gurrrls + drunk Yoshi’s Wooly World
1 Jan – We didn’t get tHAT drunk
3 Jan – Family “Christmas” movie (we go to a movie on Christmas Day if we’re not traveling, after Christmas if we are) STAR WARS VII
8 Jan – Piercings with mah bff!!
11 Jan – STAR WARS VII with mah other bff!!
13 Jan – Back to Ireland!
27 Jan – Semester starts!
That’s it in a nutshell! I’ve been working hard this semester because I’m also planning on traveling through Europe as much as I can. Today I booked my first weekend trip, so here’s upcoming plans:
6-8 Mar – Family friends visit Dublin
9-13 Mar – Milan, Italy
22-25 Mar – #MittelstaedtFamilyTrip2016 in London
25 Mar-1 Apr – #MittelstaedtFamilyTrip2016 in Ireland
I’ve also got a few other weekends “flagged” for travel, so as long as I stay on top of my assignments, I’ve got a big semester ahead of me! Then the summer session where I’ll be continuing work on the group capstone project (like a thesis, but with a group) and that’s done 22 Aug. Hopefully after that all my bffs will come visit me in Ireland and then graduation! Alongside all that, I’m already applying for jobs and hopefully I’ll be working on building a better portfolio of my projects on here. 😀
So I realize now that I didn’t actually write very extensively about my trip to NYC and DC, but I do consider the trip to DC to be an extended Great Museum Expedition,which of course first started when I went to as many museums in a day as I possibly could when I was in Hong Kong. Over the course of two days in DC, I visited … well, actually I don’t remember how many I visited. I think it was about three or four a day? Regardless, I definitely beat my own record this time.
Today started off unlike the previous Museum Expeditions because I know I’ll be back in Dublin come January and will have more time to spend in the museums. So of course, I used the chance to break my previous museums in a day record, but at least I also slept in. In Dublin, there are quite a few museums and libraries that also double as museums, so I started by looking at the National Museum of Ireland locations and choosing my ending place as the Chester Beatty Library. As with all best laid plans, they gang aft aglay, but this time not in a bad way and in more of a “well now I have a reason to do this again” kind of way. Armed with a pretty decent knowledge of Dublin City Centre and my bus route, I put some little stars on a Google Map and made my way into town.
Although it opened at 10am, I arrived at the first museum, the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History Museum, around 11am. For the first half hour of my trip through the museum, I was the only person there… I follow the NMI Twitter account, so I couldn’t help but Tweet at them this strange phenomenon a couple of times.
I’d previously gotten a reply from the Denver Nature and Science Museum while I was there and I wanted the chance to tell the museum what aspects I liked and what I thought of the exhibits. I didn’t spend much time in the History exhibits, I’ll admit, but I really enjoyed the Curator’s Choice exhibit because each artifact’s historical significance was highlighted in its information and there was often a quote from the curator himself about why he liked the piece or what it meant to him in relation to Dublin’s history. When I was walking through the third floor, I heard a rhythmic ticking and wondered if there was a temporary installation but, instead, I found a really neat clock! I took a video or two of it before going through to the next room, where I asked the at ending if the clock still chimed. He replied in the affirmative, so I walked through a couple rooms before coming back just in time to arch the clock mechanism chime for noon. I think it would’ve been cool to also see the bells themselves, but I understand that would be super loud and thought the clock was really cool regardless. As I was trying to leave, I found a dead horse skeleton, which I was not expecting…
My next stop was lunch, I tried to go to a place called Mandarin House because I found a review on Yelp that featured a photo of the salty Beijing noodles I have been searching for, but I ended up eating forlornly in the Centra across the street. After my not-noodles lunch, I walked to the shopping section because I wanted to catch a bus to my next location and I wanted to get my phone sorted out. The phone guy was super helpful and bumped up the amount of my top up so I didn’t have to pay for more data between now and when I go back to the US in six days, so that was super helpful.
Then I went and caught a bus to my next stop, the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. Turns out the NMI – Archaeology location was in the same gate as the National Library of Ireland, which we’d had a talk about during my course, so I figured once I finished at the Archaeology museum, I would go check out the Yeats exhibit there. The most fascinating and simultaneously gross exhibit at the Archaeology museum was the bog men, who had been found preserved in the peat bogs of Ireland. The first one I looked at was mostly a skeleton and I think I went through the bog exhibit backwards because after I read the info about the second and third bog men I saw, I began to realize that these weren’t just really old bodies preserved in the bog, they were really old murdered bodies that were preserved in the bog.
BOG MEN A photo posted by April (@apparentlyapril) on
There were two other American girls going through the bog men exhibit at the same time as me and I had a chat with them next to the final bog body, but at least it wasn’t the one with part of his face because I found him to be the most unnerving. They invited me to go to the National Leprechaun Museum, but I had only just arrived at the museum and wasn’t heading in that direction, but I told them I thought my friend was working there at the time. Later, Aoife commented on my Facebook status saying she sold them tickets to the museum!
Once I finished there, I got directions to the NMI – Natural History before heading across the courtyard (by going out the gate and then back in the other one) to the National Library of Ireland. They have an ongoing Yeats exhibit, which it really enjoyed. It reminded me a lot of the Alice in Wonderland exhibit I went to in NYC’s Morgan Library & Museum over the summer. I especially enjoyed the video room exhibit sections, but was somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t read the poems that were projected in light on the screens. Behind the screens, were the “hallways” that went behind the screen exhibit and you could see landscapes and paintings through the screens. Kind of hard to explain, sorry! I also enjoyed the exit activity of “What is your favorite poem?” Where you write down you favorite poem title, the author, and your name and post it up. Katherine McSharry, the NLI Head of Outreach, said during her guest lecture at UCD that they tally the answers at the end of the year. I chose To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell.
By this point in the day, I was definitely jonesing for a tea break, but also determined to museum it up in the last hours of the working day, so I walked over to the NMI – Natural History. As I was walking, I was thinking about my usual refrain regarding Natural History Museums: they’re usually the same. A standard natural history museum has mummies, dinosaurs, and space. Natural history isn’t really all that different around the world, but when I got to the NMI – Natural History I was surprised.
It reminded me a lot of the Pirates! In an Adventure with Science! scene where they meet the scientists.
I imagined the NH Museum was the kind of place where scientists in the early 1900s talked about dead animals. I made my way to the back and went through a closed door, which is a very uncomfortable experience for me, I don’t like to open closed doors – they’re closed for a reason! Went up the stairs and…. WOAH. At the end of the room was a sign saying this particular museum is frequently called the “dead zoo” and to that I say, yes accurate!
Dead Zoo is a very good description of the @NMIreland NH… I felt unsafe being that close to zoo animals! — April (@ApparentlyApril) December 2, 2015
It was really impressive, though. I couldn’t get up to the balcony because, according to a very official sign and gate, there isn’t a good way to evacuate the balconies. A friend told me later they were doing a tour with teachers about three years ago when the staircase collapsed. No thanks, I’ll wait until they fix it up. (Dear National Museum of Ireland, please fix it up! I want to see the giraffe’s face!) After the Natural History Museum, I went to catch a bus to my final stop, the Chester Beatty Library, but I was really needing a tea pick-me-up, so I swung through the National Gallery Ireland and had a spot of tea there beforehand. A lot of the NGI is currently under construction and I’ll have to go back once more of it is open, but the paintings were lovely and I was somewhat surprised at the number of teens to young adults I saw in there on a Wednesday afternoon. As I was making my way through Dublin Castle’s grounds on my way to the Chester Beatty Library, I was seriously weighing coming back when I wasn’t so tired, it wasn’t so dark out, and when I would have enough time to go through Dublin Castle’s things. The decision was made for me, though, as I made it to the library just as the man was locking the doors. And that concluded (today’s) Great Museum Exhibition, with five museums visited! I realize now this blog post itself is the length of the essays I should’ve been doing instead of going on a Great Museum Expedition, but whatever. I had a good time and hope you’ve read this far! Especially because next week I’ll be home for Christmas holiday! I leave on Tuesday and I’m really excited because I’ll be home in time for my little bro’s birthday. And now, it’s time for me to say adieu and get back to those essays!
14/11/15: ThoughtBubble Festival
I had an absolutely fantastic day. Lisa and I got breakfast (my favorite kind of food) before heading to ThoughtBubble Festival (where she so very patiently dealt with me fangirling about the things around me). I met Kate Ashwin, the writer/artist for Widdershins, and got a signed copy of vol1, met Isa & Meg, the artist and writer (respectively) of Namesake and got signed copies of Isa’s comics Jabberwocky and Knot, but the very best part that almost had my crying in joy was meeting Noelle Stevenson, author of Nimona and co-creator of Lumberjanes among other things.
Lisa could completely tell that was the highlight of my day when I was nearly vibrating in excitement while standing in line to get my Lumberjanes Volume 1 signed. At the time we were standing in line, there wasn’t a guarantee that she would be back in time to sign anything before the panel she was doing, so I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to meet her but then boom there she was like a little magical pixie and I probably almost cried. She was so lovely and nice and she even drew April, a character from Lumberjanes, in my book! I told her I was growing my hair out because my name is also April and she said she’d heard of people cutting their hair to be like the Lumberjanes, but never growing it out!
After I got my volume and a print signed, we went to have a look around before getting in line for the panel, which also worked out really well in our favor because we watched a lot of people get turned away because of capacity issues, but we not only were before the venue limit, we also managed to get pretty good seats! Although I hadn’t read many of the comics the creators were talking about (outside of Nimona and Lumberjanes…), I had read enough webcomics to still understand what they were talking about. Lisa was totally zoned out, but after the con we walked and got Thai food before heading through the Leeds Chriskindlmarkt where we picked up some doughnuts before heading back to her place to watch White Christmas. What can I say? It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, toys in every store!
15/11/15: (Old) York
We got up in time to have breakfast in a cute little place in Leeds before catching the train to York. Unfortunately, the train was late due to flooding, but it meant that I had time to grab a Starbucks before we got on the train. Once we got to York, we headed towards the Castle Museum, which meant we had to walk through the town a bit. It was a lot smaller than I was expecting, but it was a very lovely little place, especially with the Christmas decorations everywhere. The museum wasn’t really what I was expecting, as it had exhibits that weren’t related to the castle. In fact, only one of the exhibits was really related to the castle. We had a nice time going through and staying out of the rain, though. Lisa had mentioned a tea place as we were walking through town that was famous for its tea and service and whatnot, so we went and waited in a very long line to have our tea there, but it was worth it.
Especially since it was Sunday and a lot of things would close well before we had to catch our train back. Once done with tea, we tried to go to the outdoor market, but a combination of the hour and the weather meant that everyone was packing up and there weren’t very many people set up anyways. We decided to head to the train station and try to get an earlier train since we had run out of things to do, but the train service we were taking didn’t have a ticket station and we couldn’t switch it to an earlier train. We ended up waiting in the train station for a couple of hours and when we got back to Lisa’s we hung out for a bit before heading to the bus for the airport. I had decided to spend the night in the airport because it was a better alternative to catching a bus to the airport at 3am…