Monday, April 4, 2016

Diary of a World Traveler

Galway Day 2: "King of Foxes."

We have had such an amazing adventure in Galway today! Yesterday we had a schedule, but today, we just wandered around into any shops that we fancied. There was a lot of shopping, but also a lot of scoping for later days when we have more free time. Can’t blow all our money in one day—not even in a bookstore the size of a house!

The day started with a lovely breakfast at 9AM. We had some more fried eggs, sausage, and croissants before heading out toward downtown. Everything interesting is on Shop Street, High Street, and Quay Street, with offshoots periodically within those areas. We made a quick stop into Cupán Tae, since we want to go get afternoon tea there sometime. The teacups! The pastries! The sandwiches! Oh my! There are no reservations, so we decided we would come back when the weather is a little nicer so that we can wear fancy clothes. From there, we made our way slowly up Quay Street toward Eyre Square, stopping into little shops along the way. I am thinking about buying a Claddagh ring, so we window shopped at a few places for those. We also popped into a great little boutique called Twice as Nice, where we found a black shirt with white foxes on it—the perfect shirt for me! Unfortunately it was too expensive and not even in my size, but it was a genuinely cool place to start our day.

On the way toward things, we popped into Boots for a quick look around—but it turns out this is the biggest Boots we’ve seen yet in Ireland! They even had a Liz Earle counter, which none of the other ones have even stocked, let alone stocked with a permanent fixture. Crazy! I picked up three Soap & Glory items (Sexy Mother Pucker lip crayon in Nudist, One Heck of a Blot pressed powder, and one of the famed Solar Powder compacts), as well as some cotton wool pads and another Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in my shade (which seems to sell out very quickly in other locations).

Next, we went to Powell’s music shop, where my professor did some of his research a few summers ago. I wondered if I could spot Mr. Powell himself, and it seems that I did toward the end of our visit. I am glad to know that he is still doing well and running his shop smoothly. He stocks a lot of professional grade Irish instruments, as well as ukuleles, guitars, amps, and orchestral strings. They even have a 1/16 violin! It was almost doll sized, but fully functional. Almost worth the €130… almost. A few of my friends bought a tin whistles, and I am thinking about getting a small bodhrán there to take home with me. We have a whole two weeks here, though, so I didn’t go crazy. Yet.

We then spent a large amount of time in Eyre Square shopping center, where the medieval wall is inside the mall. I checked out my first New Look, which is a slightly more expensive and quality version of Penney’s. I almost bought a fabulous pair of cutout heels there, since they were my size and they fit perfectly in the sole and the heel. They were tall, but not so tall that I would be on the cusp of falling over at any given moment. That’s always a win. But they were €35, and I thought that was a little steep for something that might not even fit in my suitcase when I come home. I will try my best to find some at home that are as similar to those! On our way upstairs, we quickly walked around Tiger and happened upon a bunch of temporary tattoos. We have all been considering getting a tattoo whilst here, and so we all slurged the €2 to get a really high quality, large tattoo. (It was a joke originally, but it actually turned out really well and I am considering getting more as backups.) We also made a quick swoop into Penney’s, but I have already bought too many clothes for my own good. I decided to leave it for today and spend my money other places. 

And boy was that a good idea! I got a delicious lunch of a cup of parsnip soup and a Nutella crepe, when went on to Charlie Byrne’s bookshop. This place is almost indescribable, it’s so amazing. It does not look big from the outside—in fact, it looks like every other small storefront in Galway. But it is actually inside a covered mall, where they have bargain bookshelves lining the entire perimeter of the store. That’s probably a good sixty feet of books, just on the outside. We spent almost a half hour just looking at books out there, even before going inside. And the inside is the same as the outside, only with more books. If that is even possible. There is a great mixture of old and new books, which is great for interesting absolutely anyone who is looking for a book. Obviously, I went in for the old books and was not disappointed at all. After many, many minutes (probably over an hour) of consideration and exploring, I can honestly say I found the best of what I saw. But there was still so much more than what I could ever see. There are books in every cranny of this place, and I plan on going back to do some more snooping at least once before we go. I checked out with a copy of Romantic Britain, an old copy of History Today magazine with a sidesaddle rider on the cover, and a teeny tiny hardbound blank book. It’s the most expensive thing I got, ironically, but also the cutest. I’m always a sucker for miniatures.

After that, we were all pretty much shopped out. We are going to be here for two more weeks, so we are not overly worried about spending all of our money nor time all at once. We need to take things slowly so that we don’t burn out—even though the abundance of cool things in this city would make burning out almost impossible, even for more than two weeks. It’s an amazing place with an eclectic array of shops and things to do. And the buskers will always make simply walking around fun, as well. We got back to the hotel and put on our tattoos, which turned out way better than I could have hoped for that price. So worth it! We can’t wait to show them off tomorrow when we go to afternoon tea and shop some more.  

The dinner of Caesar salad, vegetable pastry, and hazelnut brownie was so welcome after all of our adventures today. Also on the menu was a stuffed leg of lamb and a venison burger, which I sampled a bit of. Never having eaten it before, I was very willing to eat more, but not a whole burger’s worth. It was good to try, though! Apparently bison burgers are even better than this, so I’ll be on the lookout for that once I get back to bison land. And the brownie was a delicious way to finish the meal, along with a cup of strong tea. They sure do know how to make a good cup of tea in Galway. Just more evidence of how much I am going to love it here. We have morning class tomorrow, but then we are going to walk to afternoon tea. I have never been more excited in my whole life. Stay tuned for pictures from the fairy tale tea room!

photo credit Diana Cleveland

No comments:

Post a Comment