It’s a rainy day in Cannes, France today (9/10) so I figured I’d might as well continue playing catch up on these posts! You’ll notice over the next several posts there will not be nearly as many as pictures. That’s simply because we got settled down in an amazing hostel (Savoy Hostel) and while we adventured throughout the city on a number of occasions, we were more wrapped up in enjoying ourselves, the environment, and the culture of the city, than we were capturing it. Part of me wishes I had taken more photographs or videos, but at the same time, the experiences had were one of a kind. I was happy being caught up in the moment rather than viewing it through a cell phone. That being said… on with the day.
If you read the last post you’ll remember we slept in our car the night before returning it to the rental car agency. After waking up the second time it was roughly 8 am, and Melanie awoke with feeling like a dam about to burst (a.k.a she had to pee realllllyy bad). We rapidly drove around looking for a place with a public restroom but struggled to find anything nearby, thankfully about 5 minutes later we found a grocery store and she ran inside. When she got in the bathroom,to her dismay, there was a lack of toilet paper so she ran to one of the attendants who promptly fixed the issue. After she alleviated her bladder she felt like a whole new person. I only write this because during the time it was quite stressful and not a very pleasant experience, but in retrospect it was pretty damn funny!
Continuing on with the day we were hoping to visit Newgrange (one of the oldest archeological structures known to mankind) before having the car back (which had to be returned by 11 am). However, we were about an hour away from the site and so it was highly unlikely we would have been able to make it back in time. I was saddened by this, but reinforced by the thougth that it’s just another reason to come back ;). Before dropping the car off we had to fill it all the way back up with gas to avoid a penalty charge. I joke you not when I say we had to stop by 3 different gas stations, each more costly than the last, before we found one that would accept an american credit card. By the time we found one it was about 10 cents more per a liter than the first one… they definitely were in the business of scalping off tourists. Anyway we filled the car up and made our way back to the rental car drop off. We unpacked all our items and got everything together while going through the check out process. I was expecting to be docked with a deductible for the tire that we punctured the first day, but to my pleasant surprise, the insurance I had purchased covered it with no additional costs. I was very happy as I received a 210 euro refund for the 4 days the insurance wasn’t being used.
From the rental car place we made our way to back to the airport via shuttle. Once we arrived we searched for places to purchase a bus ticket to Galway. After a little bit of scurrying about and a decent amount of coffee we found the bus and were able to purchase tickets once on board. The bus itself was decently sized and even had WiFi (albeit a poor connection). This was one of the first times we had a semi-stable WiFi connection so I spent a good portion of the 3 hour bus trip trying to upload some pictures to social media. This ended up being a pretty frustrating process as I would get halfway through an upload and the connection would drop, leaving me having to start over from scratch. Anywho the journey to Galway went by quite quickly and we arrived at the city center a little before 1 o’clock. We easily found our hostel which was only about a 7 minute walk from the bus station and checked in our luggage. We were unable to check into our rooms just then because actual check-in wasn’t until 2:00 pm. Still we were quite relieved to not be lugging our bags around the city for the next hour while we explored our surroundings.
We returned to our hostel around 2 pm to check into our room. For our first night all that was available was a 4 bed dorm-style room, the rest of the nights would be spent in 12 bed dorm style. Needless to say the 4 bed was a little more expensive but was also much nicer and more private (including its own private bathroom). Once we got settled in and unpacked a bit, Melanie and I were both feeling the drastic need for some sort of workout (all that Guinness was going straight to my stomach). We decided what better way to tour Galway than with a run?? We were misguided… the streets were so packed it was very difficult to run or even walk at a fast pace around the streets. So we quickly veered off into the suburb areas which were much less crowded, and after a short while found a wide open soccer field. This was a perfect area for us to both do our own separate workouts. I intermixed running with some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and worked out until I felt a sick and jello-legged (two of my favorite feeling when working out… I know, I’m crazy). After our workout we jogged (lightly) back to the hostel and showered up.
After we got clean we ate some remaining leftovers that we had in our pack and went out to walk the crowded streets. Quay (pounced “Key”) street was the main strip which had many different street performers, bars, and a general lively atmosophere. We followed the street all the way to its end and into the bay where we saw a single magnificent swan that was straight chilling and cleaning itself… we of course had to take some pictures. We continued wandering around the enchanting city until we came across a street performer who was literally setting up and just starting his show. We were some of the first people there and close to the last as well. Out of my entire time in Galway this single performance was perhaps the greatest performance I have ever seen and certainly the most memorable. The act itself was only a juggling act but the man doing it was one of the funniest and wittiest performers I have ever witnessed. I recorded nearly the whole performance but it would be nearly impossible to upload on here so I will provide the link so you can watch it. (See the whole performance here) <— sorry for my constant laughing in the background… As if the street performance itself wasn’t good enough, I, myself, got called on as a volunteer to be part of the show, which made it all the more memorable. Even though viewing the show was free and even though we were on a strict budget I felt happy donating 5 euro to this performer as he entertained us for over a half-hour.
After the street performance ended we wandered around a bit more but shortly retired back to the hostel. We didn’t stay for long because we soon realized how hungry we were and that we were pretty much out of food. So we decided to go out once more and search for a grocery store. We ended up searching for about 30 minutes not finding anything substantial, until we recalled that on our run we passed by 2 rather large grocery stores on the edge of the city. We quickly made our way there and entered into a store called Lidl’s. I cannot express my love for this store enough. They have just started making their way into America (or at least VA) but I had never visited one before. I can assuredly say that when I return home this will likely be the main place I choose to shop (at least if it’s anything like the one’s here). The grocery store had a broad selection of various foods at amazingly cheap and reasonable prices all while not sacrificing quality or being past due dates. We picked up some various items (pastas, cheeses, meats, breads, wine, and beers) all for under 20 euro. Extremely satisfied with our purchases we made our way back to the hostel.
When we arrived back at the hostel, the kitchen area was pretty packed so we sat down with our brie cheese, crackers, and wine and enjoyed a nice little appetizer while we waited for others to clear out a bit. We then threw the pasta in the oven and waited about 40 minutes for it to cook. During this time Melanie and I both felt a bit overwhelmed, there were so many people of different nationalities all speaking different languages, none of which we understood. Feeling a bit out of place we kind of kept to ourselves and maintained a low-key. This was our first time staying in a true hostel environment as the first time we kind of just stayed the night and didn’t really visit the common area (although we did have drinks with the American and German couple).
By the time we finished dinner (9:30-10) the common area had cleared out dramatically, almost to the point were we had to ourselves. So we decided to watch some Netflix on my computer. I’m a big fan of Rick and Morty, which is a silly t.v. cartoon that I hadn’t seen some of the new episodes of… so we decided to turn it on. After about 2 episodes or so a group of girls (from France) came into the common room and struck up a conversation (they all spoke english quite well. The conversation went as such… They asked what we were watching and I said “Oh just a silly t.v. show from the states.” One of the girls chimed in (without seeing the screen or anything) and asked, “Is it Rick and Morty??” I was utterly dumbfounded and replied enthusiastically “YES! Do you know about this show??” As it turns out all four them were huge fans of the cartoon as well, so we ended up putting it on the large t.v. (via HDMI cable) and watched it together. Who says cartoons can’t bring people together!!
Once the show ended we began talking late into the night getting to know each other. As it turns they were English majors from a French University who were doing a semester of study in Galway and were looking for housing before the semester began. We talked about numerous other subjects and almost immediately became good friends! They too were staying until Friday (as were we) so we made plans to hangout the following day. By this time it was a little before 3:00 am and Mel and I were absolutely wiped, so we called it a night, said Bon Oui (goodnight in french) and retired upstairs.
From this day on, the city of Galway absolutely captured my heart! 5 days in this place went by like a dream and the friendships and memories made will I’m sure last a lifetime! That’s it for today folks, thanks for reading!