The Wandering Anthropologist

Dublin, Ireland

Asia Borseth

My heart and soul.

Dublin is a very special place, and anyone who has been there will tell you the same. One of my favorite parts about Dublin was being able to experience Irish culture there. Irish people are loud, they love to drink, and swearing is just a part of the conversation. 

Irish culture is not just about shamrocks and leprechauns however, they have a long history of struggle and resilience, therefore I gained a great appreciation for the Irish people. There is something about traveling to a place that really opens up the rich history that lies behind what they are today. The Irish fought hard for the country that they have, and it is evident in their national pride. Also fun fact, Ireland's national color is actually royal blue, which surprised me because I figured it would have been green. 

Sit in an Irish Pub and have a Guinness. 

IMG_9292 copy.jpg

I like to say that I went to Ireland sober and came back drunk. In Ireland, going to a pub to get a drink is just a part of social life, I would say it is comparable to sitting and having coffee in Sweden. What I loved about this was how laid back it all was, and once you have a Guinness or two in you the conversation flows well. That is just the thing though, the environment of sitting in a pub, listening to live music playing is just one that brings me joy and happy memories.

Walk around town and hunt for cute doors. 

The city of Dublin itself is charming as well, one of my favorite things to do was to go hunting for Georgian-style doors all through the city. Many people refer to them as the 'doors of Dublin' which many of my classmates loved to kid me about since I always got so excited about them. Chasing doors through the city is a fun and free thing to do in Dublin, its a great scavenger hunt idea to have. 

IMG_9560 copy.png

Visit the Guinness factory.

While it may seem a bit pricey, I thought that this factory tour was totally worth it, even if it is just for the free pint and the view from above. Also if you can remember the facts from your visit, it just might be useful someday at an Irish trivia pub night. The Guinness factory is a very cool set up, they have the whole process of how beer is made in a visual form. There are beautiful waterfalls to show the water, and live hop plants to demonstrate how hops are grown. They even had an area showing how beer had been made throughout history. 

IMG_9196 copy.jpg

From the view above you have a angle on all of Dublin. Even if you do not like beer, you should go to the Guinness Factory, sip some Guinness and look around at the city of Dublin. The view from up above Dublin cannot be beat. 

Go to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the Long Room.

The long room is really an incredible sight to see, especially for book lovers. It really is a room that is long, but with the high arches and shelves upon shelves of books, it looks like another world. This is at the end of the tour of the Book of Kells, so when you purchase entrance to one it is like a two for one deal.

IMG_9430 copy.jpg

Take a trip out to Fourty-Foot.

We rode the bus out to this location, which was one that my friend found before we left for the trip. The area was a really cute little dock space with a great view of the sea. It was nice to get outside of the city of Dublin for a day, even though I loved it, I am also a huge fan of more natural settings. This was just a fun day to get away.  

Visit the Temple Bar District.

Even though this is a pretty touristy area to see, it is still a cool location. One of the hostels we stayed at was actually in the Temple Bar District, which was super convenient for coming back late from bars. The Temple bar District is just one of those things that you need to experience at least once when coming to Dublin.

The lesser known Purple Bar District was where a lot of the locals told us to go instead of the Temple Bar district, this area had more art and photography but the bars were packed!

IMG_9157 copy.jpg

Go On a Musical Pub Crawl.

The musical pub crawl we went on was led by two gentlemen, Ray and Antony, who were hilarious. These two led us through three different bars, singing traditional Irish music and drinking Guinness with us. One of the best parts about this was the anecdotes that these two told. They also often included different backstories about how certain Irish pub songs came to be, which was my favorite thing about it. This was one of the best nights in my opinion, and it was a great way to see the bars that they liked to go to so we could return later.

Take an afternoon tea.

IMG_9610 copy.jpg

Just because the Republic of Ireland is no longer a part of the U.K., does not mean they do not share some of the same affinities. One of my favorite things to do in Ireland was to spend the afternoon drinking tea and eating sweets. This was something that could be a short affair, or a long evening. One day we spent three hours just sitting, chatting, and drinking tea. Not only was it a great thing to do to connect with my traveling companions and get to know them better, it was also a great way to slow down for a minute. Especially when traveling, I can tend to get over-ambitious and feel as if I need to constantly doing something to make the most of my time. By taking what we referred to as 'tea time', we were able to slow it down and take a second to appreciate where we were and the fun we were having. 

There were many other things about Dublin that I truly loved, the resilience of the Irish people is something that I admired. I hope to one day return, because there is much more of Ireland that I was not able to see and experience. There is just something about the Irish countryside that pulls you in and inspires. I would highly recommend a visit there if you have not gone yet. 

Have you been to Dublin? Did you do any of the things that I did? Let me know!

Much love,

Asia

Hiking the Cinque Terre

Asia Borseth

This hike was one that was pretty long, and given that we did it in Italy in August, it was also incredibly hot. The coast of Italy is truly a sight to see, but the Cinque Terre is something else entirely. 

IMG_6452 copy.jpg

The colorful houses that make up the landscape of the villages make for a beautiful contrast with the sparkling blue sea. If you climb out onto the large rocks in front of the village of Riomaggiore, you can see the entire village and also be among the little floating boats.

IMG_6460 copy.jpg

Cinque Terre means five villages, and it is representative of the five fishing villages that line the western coast of Italy. My sister really wanted to hike through all of the villages, from Riomaggiore to Monteroso.

To make this trip more affordable, we decided to stay in La Spezia in a hostel that has been one of my favorites through my travels. This hostel was very clean and beautiful. From this hostel they also offered free bus rides to the first village, which made it very accessible.

On the day that we took our trek, we took the bus from our hostel in the morning to the first village, Riomaggiore. Once we arrived, we picked up breakfast from a little shop, and we headed out to see the village from the rocks. Once we got to the beginning of the trail, we realized that it had been washed out by a recent landslide, so we had to take the long way around, up a lot of stairs. For the hike we did a lot of hiking up and down, as the villages existed in the valleys on the coast. There were also a lot of stairs involved, however if you can make it the views are totally worth it.

IMG_6468 copy.jpg

We hiked up and down through these villages, which took most of the day and was pretty tiring. Since we were not actually on the trekking trail for the first portion of the hike, we did not have to buy the pass until about the third village. Once we were on that path, it was much more clear and well maintained. Another really cool thing about the Cinque Terre is that if you bring your own refillable water bottle, you can refill it between each of the villages at the water stations. 

IMG_6467.JPG

Another really beautiful part of the trek is that between the later villages, there are acres of vineyards along the sloping hill. This was just a little part that encouraged me to imagine what it would be like to live a slow life on a vineyard. Drinking wine and living on the coast. Maybe someday that will be my future. 

After we hiked through the villages, with one stop to pick up some fresh fruit for lunch, we ended by staying the night in the last village, Monteroso. As soon as we finished our hike, we jumped into the ocean to cool off. Next we went and found some incredible Italian gelato, and we finished off the day with a giant bowl of pasta. What else do you do after a long day of hiking in Italy? 

All in all, the views from up high were really gorgeous, which made it all worth it. It is hard to describe the beauty on the coast of Italy, the best way to go is to see it for yourself. I hope that someday I can go back to the Cinque Terre and see it again through fresh eyes. 

I loved seeing the Cinque Terre, have you been? Let me know what you thought of it. 

Much love,

Asia

 

Galway and The Cliffs of Moher

Asia Borseth
IMG_0219.JPG

Ireland is a place that I hold very dear to my heart, I was able to travel here through a study abroad program, and there were countless adventures that I always love to talk about. 

One of the things I loved about Ireland was not only the natural beauty, but the Irish culture. Sitting around in a pub drinking a Guinness and talking for hours is just a part of an Irish day. Sometimes they were crass and they sure like to swear, but the Irish are tough. They have been through a lot and came out stronger as a nation. I had the opportunity to stay in Ireland and Northern Ireland for three weeks, and it was a few of the best weeks of my life. 

I am sure you have heard Ed Sheeran's new song Galway Girl, but have you heard the original version? Check out Galway Girl on Spotify by Irish Pub Music, I love it. I would recommend listening to it while you read this post. Or just search Irish Pub Music and shuffle play.

Anyway, Irish music is amazing, especially if you can catch a singer playing in a pub and once you are a couple Guinness deep it will sound even better.

For this post however, I wanted to talk about the Cliffs of Moher, which were touristy as you would expect, but they were incredible so I would highly recommend seeing them. We took a tour bus, which honestly was not the best, but it got us there and we . had a great time.

On this bus, the first place we stopped at was Galway, which was such a cute little town, I really wish we would have had more time there. We packed the couple hours we had by going shopping for a Claddagh ring, which is unique to Galway, we saw a beautiful church and even got to see a small outdoor market. 

IMG_8289.JPG

A little about the Claddagh rings is that they are often used as engagement rings, but have origins in friendship. If the ring is on the right hand and the point of the heart is going toward the fingertips, the person is single and possibly open to love. On the right hand pointed toward the heart the person is in a relationship. If the ring is on the left hand and pointed toward the fingertips the wearer is engaged, and pointed toward the heart, the person is married. It is kind of a fun way to show your relationship status in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. I'm just kidding, but in all seriousness I think that it is a beautiful little part of Irish culture.

Galway was also just a beautiful little town to walk through, but if you have the chance to stay there I would encourage you to try to stay overnight and check out the pub scene, even though we did not have the chance to.

We also stopped at the Bushmills Distillery to eat lunch and to sample some whiskey, which is where I discovered that I liked honey whiskey. I never thought I would be the kind of person that liked whiskey, but Ireland can change you like that. 

IMG_0210.PNG

Driving up the the Cliffs of Moher were these incredibly winding roads that reminded me of switchbacks on a hike. As the bus climbed higher and higher we say more and more of the valley which was a lush green that one would expect of Ireland. The driver even stopped a couple times to let us take pictures.

After that we headed to the highly anticipated Cliffs of Moher, which was really an incredible site to see. These Cliffs are miles high, and for most of the site, there are very little boundaries between you and the edge, which also makes it a pretty dangerous place, please be cautious if you visit. 

BLSZ3592.jpg

As we walked along the Cliffs, there were breathtaking sites, and we were lucky enough to have a clear day to see far out into the distance. We walked down to the edge of the Cliffs and we even sat on the edge of one, even though it my heart was beating out of my chest the whole time. There is something about being that close to the edge that will really get your adrenaline pumping. 

IMG_0228.JPG

When you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, there are a couple ways that you could go, they both have fantastic views. If you have time I would recommend going left and right. To the right we found cliffs we could sit on and puffins. To the left we found the famous view from The Princess Bride used as the Cliffs of Insanity. These Cliffs were also used in Harry Potter in the Half-Blood Prince when Harry and Dumbledore are searching for one of the horcruxes. This location is actually pretty close to the entrance so it is easy to find. 

The Cliffs of Moher were stunning, and while I do not alway advocate for going to the touristy locations, this is one that should not be missed.

IMG_0222.JPG

On our way back on the bus ride, we stopped by a location on the water that looked like a hardened field of lava rocks. Though it was not particularly noteworthy the location was very beautiful. There was even a little cove that had a jellyfish pod. We had a lot of fun messing around out there on our way back. 

IMG_0275.PNG

The Cliffs of Moher are a pretty popular location for tourists, have you been? Let me know what your thoughts were or if you had a different experience. Expect a lot more Irish posts to come, because I loved Ireland and I think that everyone should take a trip there.

Much Love,

Asia