No New Travel

Yes it’s a sad thing, I haven’t done any traveling since Spring Break last year. I did go to North Carolina for my friend’s wedding, but it hardly felt like a vacation.

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Today was the BBQ at Barry’s for all of us who went to Ireland in the summer of 2007. I was not sure of all who would be there, but I wanted to go. I thought of seeing if Mike wanted to come, but I assumes it was more of just us travelers kind of thing. I got there a little after 5 and Mark pulled up shortly there after. We walked into Barry’s place meet by his puppy Saba. Once we got into the door Barry came in to greet us and told us to help ourselves to something to drink. Let’s just say that Barry’s bar has enough alcohol for him to open his own small pub.

Once I grabbed a bottle water I went outside and saw that only Zoe from my session was there. Everyone was from the second session. So the entire night me and Zoe pretty much stayed together. It was like Ireland all over again. We caught up with Barry, Mark, Bob and Liz and talked to Sean, Alli and Jen when the stopped by.

At around 7 food was finally ready. Barry cooked the veggie burgers first and they were sitting in the kitchen waiting. After we were done eating we went into the living room to watch the DVDs that we have been waiting for a year to finally get. It was great to see Barry’s pictures of the trip. There was video taken, but he said none of it came out. Zoe and I stayed to watch the second season’s DVD because we wanted to see what they did since both groups did not do the same things we did.

Once that was over both Zoe and I left with our DVDs. She had to head home and I needed to head over to Mike’s. My night was a very nice one and finished off great being with Mike.

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SAI 2007 Reunion

This really is not travel, but it has to do with my trip to Ireland last summer. We are having a BBQ at Barry’s house to caught up with everyone and to get our DVDs and pictures from the trip. They promised us all DVDs once they were finish. Well it’s been over a year and they just got done. I am excited to finally get them and watch them.

I might take pictures, but might not. It all depends on who is there and all of that jazz. I know of one person who is going. I really hope more people go so I can see them. People like Zoe, Cody, Alli, and others who’s names have slipped out of my mind. I am sure it will be where we watch the video together, eat and drink. So kind of how it was in Ireland in the pub at AIT.

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Spring Break

So I am back from Spring Break and honestly I do not want to be here in Oregon. The weather and everything was just so nice in California that I forgot how much I despise Oregon. Classes have started and I am not as thrilled to be in school here at the moment. No one seems to be really, I guess it is because it is the start of a new term and summer seems so far away.

My trip to California with my friends went pretty well. I do not usually go on such trips with people because none of us really has the time and/or money to do so. That plus I usually work at the zoo on my breaks. So it was a nice change, if I did not go anywhere I would have gone back home and worked at the zoo. I can always us the money.

I will tell you about the break, but not in complete details. I do not have the time to do so and I forgot a lot of things. First of all Sarah, Alexa and myself had to leave at midnight Wednesday the 19th. We took the Greyhound down to Sacramento and then to San Francisco, it was going to be about 12 hours of travel. I hate Greyhound, but that is all what we were left with. We had drunk people and the drive was driving crazy through the mountains. I woke up several times thinking I would fall into the aisle of the bus. We had to switch buses in Sacramento and head towards Oakland. We were suppose to go to San Jose, but since we had to change our plans to stay in San Francisco we were going to take the Bart to SF, but they let us stay on the bus and continue to San Francisco.

Our hostel in SF was horrible, it was in an alley next to a massage parlor and was not clean. Our room had not been clean, the sheets and blankets were not washed. Our window would not close because a cable to the cable TV went through it. The shower had a hole in the ceiling for ventilation and the fire escape was outside out window and every night someone was going up and down it. We were only staying there two night and it was to sleep, not relax in the room. One our first day we walked to pier 39 and had dinner at Hard Rock Café. On the second day we went to the Golden Gate Bridge, ate at The Cheesecake Factory and saw a play. On our last day we waited for Aoi to arrive and then spent our time around Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Warf. We took a night tour to Alcatraz and then stayed at the house of a woman Aoi knows.

Joan, Aoi’s friend is an amazing woman. She worked on Wall Street and now owns her own financing company. She has written a book for women and how they can take control over their money. She has a beautiful house and took us in without a question. She paid for all our meals and just took us in, we were amazed with her and the people she knew. We did not want to leave her place to stay with our friend show lived in the same town. We did after having a wonderful meal and a signed copy of her book. We stayed at Katie’s house for Easter and then took the Megabus to Los Angeles.

We arrive at midnight in LA and hailed a taxi to our hostel, which was right off of Hollywood. We got settled in and was impressed with the place. They would not let you in through a locked door that lead up to the room unless you showed your room key, the room was nice, and clean. We had our own bathroom and just felt comfortable and safe there. The people were great, all had a free loving attitude and organized some fun trips. Our first day was Monday and we spent it going around Hollywood Blvd. Took pictures of stars (the ones on the ground), visit Ripely’s Believe it or not, Virgin Records and saw Jimmy Kimble. We might actually be in one of his skits. I do not have a TV, but look for a girl giving her pink polka dot bikini to Uncle Sal. That is Alexa and we were behind her. We also went to the tar pits, which looks nothing like I thought they would. It was more of a small lake with oil sitting on the water. There was also sculptures of mammoths getting stuck in the tar.

On the second day we went to Venice and Santa Monica to get a taste of California beaches. Good thing I know what they are like because it was hazy and never went away. So we could not go play in the water like we wanted to. We did some shopping and got some food to eat, but really, it was not what we were hoping for. Our bus back into Hollywood was long due to rush hour traffic. We got back and went to see if we could get tickets to see Wicked, we ended up not getting any and grabbed some pizza. On our way we noticed a crowd and realize that it was the paparazzi outside a restaurant. We went to grab food and then came back out to see if they were still there. They were and that is when we saw two famous people. The first one was Courtney Cox Arquette getting out of her SUV and the second was Nick Lachey driving pass us.

Our last day in Hollywood Sarah and I went to Long Beach to see the Queen Mary. We took the metro to Long Beach and got food at a cute Irish pub. Then walked to the ship, it sounds easier than it really was. We had trouble getting to it, you would think being able to see the ship we could walk to it easier. Wrong, but we got there, but had no clue where we bought tickets to get in. We asked a family, but they really could not answer it for us. There was a small English village in the same area so we walked there and asked, the place was right there. We bought tickets to see the ghost encounters tour. You all know me and how I love a good ghost story. We were allowed to walk around the ship before our tour started. We did and I got chills, not sure if it was the draft, the fact that I knew the ship was haunted or the music that was playing. Being on a ship hearing old 1940s songs gave it an eerie atmosphere. There was one thing that gave me the chills and I refuse to look at, Sarah was even freak out. The propeller box, it was underwater (the propeller) and just was odd. I could hardly look into the water. I have only had this issue once before. Sarah just walked quickly through once I told her that we could not go any other way.

Our tour started and our guide told us all kinds of stories about sightings. I took a lot of pictures, I only notice orbs in my pictures, but I have no looked closely at them to see if anything else is there. After the tour we looked around the ship and then decided to head back to Hollywood to get some food to eat before we had to leave the next day for San Diego.

We got delayed leaving LA, but that was because the car rental place gave me trouble. There was fine print that I looked over, but did not realize. I had to have $400 for them to hold on my card. So I had to wait for my mom and aunt to help me before I could try to get the car. I felt horrible, I hate feeling like money is something I am unable to hold onto. Nothing worse than thinking you have enough to buy something and realize that you do not because things changed. I finally got the car and we made our way to San Diego. The car was crappy, a Dodge Charger or something like it. The back window was tiny, I had huge blind spots on the car and it accelerated horribly. I made it through without any issue though.

I remembered pretty well how to get around San Diego, the only exception was I had a downtown map and it was hard to tell what streets would take me to the I-5. A few look like they would and they did not. Once I figured out how to get to I-5 I was able to get us to my favorite places in San Diego. The first place was La Jolla, I wanted to see both shores and cove, but we went to the cove first. This place is kind of posh and not the best beach for swimming and sunbathing, but still fun to see. There was a herd of seals on one beach and we went to the next one over for some fun. I mostly took pictures of the waves, while Sarah played in the water. After a few hours, we grabbed dinner at a nice Mexican restaurant. Then we headed back to downtown, we grabbed food at the grocery store because we wanted to do a picnic on the beach and watch the sunset. We watched a movie on some guy from Australia and then went to bed. Our hostel was not too bad, kind of weird because it was a converted warehouse. The next day we to the San Diego Zoo and Mission Beach/Belmount Park. The zoo was amazing; I had trouble keeping my mouth shut, after working at a zoo for so many years it just feels natural to talk about animals. Mission Beach was nice, we got there a few hours before sunset and enjoyed out picnic.

Our last day in San Diego was nice, we went to Old Town, which is a period Mexican town. I was never into it, but Sarah and Aoi loved it. We spent a few hours and then went to La Jolla Shore before we headed to LA. It was sunny while we were in Old Town, but once we got to the beach, it was cloudy. I wanted to visit Surf Diva’s shop and I bought a rash guard. I have been meaning to get one and after some of the sunburns and heat rashes I got I needed it. We sat on the beach reading since it was a little too chilly to be out swimming. We stayed a few hours and then drove to LA. We did not want to head back to LA or to Oregon. We arrived at our hostel and got up early the next morning to fly back to Eugene.

That was our trip pictures are all over the place, myspace, facebook and I am working on Flickr. So look out for them.

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Spring Break 2008

So my next trip will be both Northern and Southern California with four of my dear friends here in Oregon. We will be spending most of next week in San Jose with one of the girl’s family and hanging out in San Francisco while there. We will see Alcatraz and whatever else we desire to see.

Then we take a bus to Los Angels and get to know Hollywood for 4 days. Nothing is set, but we will go to the beach, hang out on Hollywood Blvd, and maybe catch or be on a show. Then we head to my favorite city in California, San Diego.

Most of the travel is book, just what we see is not planned out. Look out for more posts.

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My trip to Seattle was so great that I did not want to come back to Eugene. Both Sarah and myself kept asking ourselves why we went to UO rather than University of Washington. We loved Seattle so much. Don’t get me wrong I love my school and the friends I have here, but Eugene is a very boring city to me know. Most of us stay on campus unless we are going to Autzen for tickets or shopping at some stores. So I would love to go back to Seattle for a visit to see everything I did not get to see and possibly live there one day. I must say it is now my favorite city in the US.

At 3:00pm Friday evening we walked with our luggage to the Greyhound station. It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk there with luggage. Our bus was loading as soon as we got there, but 3 friends of ours was there early so they saved seats for us. The ride up to Portland was about 2 hours, we made a stop in Corvallis and Salem before we arrived in Portland. Once there we had about 15 minutes until our bus would leave for Seattle. We found out which door we needed to stand by and stood in line for over an hour. Our bus was late because another bus broke down and they had to send it down to transport the passengers. Of course no one told us this so everyone was standing in line very annoyed and wondering why we were not boarding or leaving.

We finally get on the bus, but get no closer to Seattle. Our bus driver drives a half hour outside of Portland, we were close to Vancouver, Washington one of the guys told us, when she tells us she cannot see because the defroster will not turn on and rather than risk our lives driving to Seattle she is going to drive back to the station. Remember we are on the freeway and are outside of Portland. Why it was safe to drive back when she couldn’t see is beyond me. I was slightly happy because I had to sit next to some guy who was making me feel very uncomfortable. He sat with his leg against mine and kept bouncing his leg. I think he wanted to talk my ear off, but I put my ipod on and since they are noise reducing I wasn’t able to hear him. So 30 minutes later we arrive back in Portland and get off the bus. We did not hear anyone tell us what line to stand it so we just follow the others. I think we waited another 30 minutes, we also found out that the two girls who caught the later bus arrived in Portland just as we returned. We were supposed to be there 2 hour before they got there.

They loaded up and moved people who were not going to Seattle to the other Seattle bus so we would get there first. When we got about 2 hours into the ride our bus driver had to make a cigarette break. A bunch of us were annoyed that she could not hold off until we got to Seattle since she already pissed everyone off. The stop was about 20 minutes long and then we finally got back on the road and got into Seattle a little after 1:00 a.m. We waited about 5 minutes for the other two girls to arrive and then asked the man at the station the easiest way to get to our hotel. Well that was another problem to add to our trip. He told us that it was too far to walk and in a very unsafe area and we should get a taxi. We were told by the station security that if we took Steward to the Westin we would run into taxis. We found the hotel and asked the guys out front if we could walk there. One said it was very far the other told us that our hotel was not too far and walking there would be fine. He gave us a map and showed us how to get there. We walked and it took us 15 minutes to get to the hotel and it area was fine. I guess Seattle has some real crazy people that come out at night, but we never saw them.

So we check into our hotel and the prices for the room was higher than what they quoted Sarah online. We were all too tired, hungry and pissed off to say anything so she signed the paperwork and they gave us the keys. We split up into the two rooms and found out that the extra bed Sarah asked for was not in the room. So she went down to the desk and asked them why it was not there. They told her it was an extra $10 and because she was so tired she just told them to put it in the room.

So our first night there was very rocky, but luckily things were better Saturday. I will be writing Greyhound a very nasty letter telling them how we will never travel with them and tell all our friends to never travel with them either.

Saturday as I said before was much better, that is were Sarah and I feel in love with the place. We woke up kind of late, but still made it to the breakfast at the hotel. The only thing I could east was OJ and waffles. I am a little tired of places not serving at least soymilk. Once we had breakfast we meet Jo, Alicia and Sam at the Space Needle, it was going to be our first thing, but while we were there we decided to see if we could get a table for dinner at the revolving restaurant on top. Seven of us wanted to eat there so Sarah set up the reservation and because the meal prices include the ride up we figured we did not have to pay the $16 to take the elevator up. I cannot remember how much it cost to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but I am sure it is less than $16.

Sarah needed to get batteries; I went with her since the two of us wanted to see the same things. I found a Wells Fargo so I got some money out since I knew several places would be cash only and it is easier to know what you spent than using my card. We headed to the city center; there is a monorail at the EMP (Experimental Music Project) that goes to the middle of Seattle. It’s a cheap ticket for round trip so we bought round trip tickets to meet up with everyone else. Since a few of the girls did not eat breakfast they grabbed food there, but since Sarah and I wanted to get a spot on the underground tour. I will explain what it is later. So we hauled ass to get there, but one our way we ran into Pike Place Market, the famous market because of Starbucks and throwing fish. We looked around, but we really wanted to get to the tour so we kept going.

We found it quickly once we arrived in Pioneer Square and found out that they do about 5 tours and the afternoon ones had plenty of spots open. So we booked the 2pm tour for the two of us and told everyone else to come get tickets if they wanted to go. So Sarah, Joon and I went to get coffee at Starbucks and explored more of Seattle. We saw the historic triangle pub, the sports arena and a lot of downtown Seattle. We made it back to the underground 20 minutes before the tour. We sat down in the parlor that looks like an old Victorian bar where we were told the story of how Seattle started off. The short versions is that Seattle was founded and build by a doctor and the city was built at sea level, which was a bad idea because the sewage would be flooding the streets when Puget Sound rose at high tide. Then there was a fire that burned down most of the town and then built over the old town.

So the tour shows you what is left of the original town, it is pretty cool. It is worth the fee to see how the cities use to be. The only thing that was not good was that our tour guide, as good as she was, she talked way too fast for the girls whose first language was not English. I later how to explain to them what she was saying so they could understand it.

So after the tour we went to the gift show and I bought the two books the tour guide told us about. We got a discount because we were on the tour. I assume that both these books together would cost me about $35, but instead they cost me $19. They were large paperback books too. So that was worth it, I figured since I like the history of Seattle that I heard that I might as well read more on it.

Then Sarah a few of the other girls and myself went to the Chinese teashop. They have you sit down and they give you samples of the tea. They gave us like 10 teas to try, they were good, but I did not buy any because it was a little too expensive and I have lots of tea already. Then we walked along the waterfront so we could see what it was like. We hanged around the room until we needed to get ready for dinner at the Space Needle.

We arrived at dinner and they sat us right away. They sat us at a long table with a round light in the middle of the table. The ambiance was very somber and kind of romantic. The plates were very pricey, but not too bad. Mine was $34 and it was a puff pastry with winter vegetables and a cherry sauce. It was very good, I had a Guinness as well, but the foam disappeared way too soon. It still tasted good, but the Guinness in Ireland was better. Then for dessert I had New York cheesecake, which was the best I have had. After we were done we went up to the observation deck to see the city at night. Seattle is amazing at night. After dinner we did some shopping at the gift shop and then went back to the hotel.

On Sunday we got up early so we could fit in the few things before we headed back to Eugene. Sarah and I were going to go up on the Space Needle, but $16 is not worth it when we already went up it last night. So instead we went to the Experiment Music Project, which is kind of like a music museum, but a little more hands on. We even did our own rock band. After that Sarah and I went back to Pike Place Market to spend time there. We saw them throwing the fish and the first Starbucks. We did get fruit; I got an apple and a pomegranate. Once we got what we wanted we headed back to the hotel to get our bags and walk to the Greyhound station.

The ride back was better even though Sarah and I did not want to go back to Eugene. So now we are back home and wish we were not here.

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Next Adventure

I finally have a new trip to write about. This weekend Nov 9th- Nov 11th I am going to Seattle with about 9 people from my dorm. I have never been there so I am looking forward to go. I asked my mom to send my information so we can decide what we want to see, or I can. I will also need to see what kind of veg*n friendly resturants are in Seattle. Plenty I am sure, but I like to know some good places if I am able to stop by.

We are taking the bus from Eugene to Seattle and it is going to take us about 6 hours to get there. I am not sure if I want to bring my laptop. I can leave it locked up in my wardrobe, but it would be nice to have it incase the hotel has wireless and I feel bored enough to use.

I also have to figure out what I am going to to do about taking pictures. My camera is still broken and I so badly want to take pictures while there. I hate not having a camera when there is so many things I could take pictures of while there.

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I am posting this later than I had hoped, but that is ok. So on Sunday we catch the 9:00 a.m. bus to Galway, with the plan to do the 1/2 day Cliffs of Mohr tour through the same company we did the Aran Islands with. Our bus is late, which is how things always are here in Ireland, and we get into Galway at about 11:30. We walk over to the info center and the man tells us that the driver is sick and that the tour is not going on that day.

So we head over to the tourist information center to see if another company is offering a 1/2 Cliffs of Mohr trip. We did not find one, but instead we found a 1/2 day Connemara. This is a region in Co. Galway that is pretty primitive or is your small town and villages in the West. One of the main stops and one that Alexia really wanted to see was Kylemore Abbey. This is an Abbey that use to be a castle that is now run by Benedictine nuns. The abbey is very beautiful and in a lot of pictures of Ireland. I was amazed at how beautiful it was and sorry to hear that they school might not stay and that it could become a luxury hotel or something.

We also got to see a lot of sheep, mountains and just the beauitful landscape of the west. I was just amazed by how peaceful it all seem to be and was totally different from the cities.

I had more to talk about, but I forgot about what I had to say.

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Aran Islands

On Saturday 6 of us, including myself took the earliest bus to Galway to see the Aran Islands. I have heard by many people how beautiful the main island is and how it is worth the money to go. the bus ride to Galway was €13 round trip and the bus and ferrie to the islans was €25. We got onto the island at about noon, we had 5 hours to see the place before we had to caught the next ferrie back to the mainland. The ferrie ride in was very rocky, luckily I have both a sea stomach and my sea legs so it did not bother me as much as it did other people.

A few of us went to the top deck to see us coming into Inis mor off to our left was what looked like a big storm. Luckily it really did not come to the island, or if it did it onlt brought about 10 minutes worth of drisseling rain. Once we got on the island we stopped at the bike rental place to get bikes to ride around the island. At this point after we got our bikes my whiny roommate told us that she did not know how to ride a bike. We all tried to teach her, but again power of the mind made her gave up withi 2 minutes of trying. The only reason we knew she had given up was because I had trouble with my bike and had to stop and fix it. The chain feel off the gear when I shifted and had no chain to help me. So Zoe help me put the chain back on and we started again. From then on I had a hell of a time riding the bike. No matter what gear I was in or what I was doing I had no momentum moving me along. It was like the chain still was not on the bike. I was the slowest one, but Alexia was not feeling well so she stayed behind with me.

Our first stop was the lighthouse, which is in the middle of the island. We looked at it, but did not go in because we wanted to see Dun Aengus which is an amazing fort. We then wanted to see the seal coast and hope to see some seals. Once we got to it we realize that we took the wrong road, there was one that was hilly and bumpy and one that was flat and smooth. Me and Alexia left our bikes up a path a bit so we had to walk our bikes down the hill and then go on the right path. I did not have too much trouble, but still could not go very fast and it was annoying me. As we began to ride the rain started to hit, nothing too hard or anything, but it actually felt kind of nice to be riding in the rain, along the small village. We met up with the other three at another beach that had bright gray sand and clear blue water. We relaxed a bit to save our energy to head up to the fort. We rode again to the base of the fort and parked our bikes by a resturant and walked up to the informatuon center where you buy your ticket. The price to go in and walk up to the fort was the cheapest so far €1.10. That’s about $2 back home, not historical site or museum charges you $2 to get in. Inside three young boys were dancing and playing the accordian to old Irish folk songs for money. We watched a bit and the climbed up the somewhat steap moutain side. It took us 15 minutes to go up it, so it wasn’t too bad of a walk for us. We were amazed at the view we had of the area and took lots of pictures. Matt even layed down and took a picture of his head over the cliff.

After about 20 minutes we decided to head down, because we wanted time to shop for sweaters and caught our ferrie. So in about 15 minutes again we were back down to our bikes and began to ride to the harbor. I still was having trouble with my bike and wishing it would magically fix itself. At first when we were on the wrong path I was wondering if I was start to riding a bike, when I have not do so for so long, but once we were on the right path and riding along the coast I realize that it was worth the money and pain I was dealing with. I believe it took us abut 30 minutes to get to the shop that sold the sweaters and that was no bad really. I was looking around for a sweater, not sure for who or if I would find one that I really liked. I did find one that a member of the Murphy clan would have worn, but it costed €139, which is almost $200 us. I decied not to buy it, but will keep it in mind in case I have unlimited income or something. I did find a sweater for myself, a blue one that buttons down. It is a little icky, but I think it is something I have to get use to, since I do not own or wear anything wool.

We made it back for our ferrie without a problem and hoping that Kenni would not give us crap for leaving her. In our defense we told her she did not have to ride a bike, but she cannot do anything on her own and ruin her own time. The boat ride back was just as rocky as the first and we all were sore from the seat of the bikes. We were happy to be back in Galway and hungry for food. The only place open was a fastfood place called Supermac’s, but luckily they had a veggie burger with veggie friendy fries so I had that for dinner. We took the bus back to Athlone and got home at about 9:30 at night.

I really renjoyed the island, but would have to come back to see the few things we missed. I think that it was nice to see a different side of Irish life that wasn’t in a big city like Cork or Dublin.

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I have three entries to write up and I’ll seperate them since they are all going to be pretty long. This first one is on Clonmnoise, which is a monastary site that dates back to the 5th century founded by St. Ciran. Before we even got there though we had to take a boat down the River Shannon. It was a “viking ship” that was kind of cheesy, but I guess they wanted us to feel like the Normans sailing to new places. The site is one of the few in Ireland that has its round towers still standing. We had a tour guide give us a little tour of the area, explain the high crosses and a few other elements of the site.

Barry took us to the Nun’s chapel which was off the grounds of the current site, but back when the places was in use part of the grounds. He claims that it is one of the better kept ruins, which it is nicely kept because I assume not many people go see it unlike the round towers. We had about an hour to walk around the site and do what we wanted. I walked passed the grave sites and went to a stone ramada where Pope John Paul II had a service. There is a chair and a plaque about his visit, which I did not know he had visited the site until the tour guide told us about it. Once I had done that I went to the boulder or some kind of rock that held holy water to bless myself. It is suppose to help heal warts or other flaws of the skin, but I did not stick my face in it like other people did to get ride of acne.

On the way back to the apartments we took the bus, which was a much fast ride than the boat.

Categories: Excursions, History, Irealnd | Leave a comment

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