¨Trainspotting¨: Scotland and Ireland with mom, August 26- Sept 2

Scotland: So, where did I leave off? Italy. So, after my overnight adventure at Milan Malpensa airport, I finally arrived in Edinburgh where mom, who had come to meet me in Europe for a holiday, patiently waited for me. We checked into our hotel and got ready before hitting the fringe circuit. To my pleasant surprise, we had brilliantly timed our trip to Edinburgh. It was right in the midst of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of the biggest cultural and artistic festivals in the world. Our first night, me, mom and my friend Tal, whom I met on the plane, attended a free comedy show, at which we were the only 3 people in the audience! (Guess thatś why it was free). Before the show started, Sarita, the seemingly friendly MC, insisted that we sit in the front row. Normally I would never subject myself to the front row of a stand up comedy show, however, we were too scared to object so we did as we were told. First question aimed at us: where are you from? Ok, here we go. These are the moments I wish I were Canadian. So after some good old America bashing, Sarita began to get personal. Suddenly she wasnt so friendly anymore. She inquired into momś marital status and she asked me if I was a natural blond. Now, that crossed the line. Leave my hair out of this! After being sufficiently humiliated at one comedy show, we continued the masochism and attended another the following night. Papa CJ was one of the comics from the first night and we thought the small bit that he did was so good, we wanted to return and see his full show. First question of Papa CJś show, ¨Any Americans in the audience?” When that was followed by silence, he reassured us, ¨Its okay, we like you now. After 8 years, welcome back!” This made us feel better so we sheepishly revealed our identity. ¨Did you vote for Obama?¨, Papa CJ asked us. As mom (an admitted Republican) tried to disappear in her chair, I replied, ¨Well, I did!” That got a laugh out of the audience, as well as Papa CJ who saw that as his chance to do a few Bush jokes and some Republican bashing, unfortunately at the expense of my mom. Sorry mom, but it is time to see the light :). Overall it was a great night in the city. The following day we went on a tour of Scotland. We went to the highlands, saw the Loch Ness (but no monster), ate Potato Leek soup at a little Scottish restaurant, and finally arrived back in Edinburgh where we packed our things in preparation for our trip to Ireland the following day.

Ireland: The moment I arrived in Dublin, I felt as if I were home. After almost 3 months of travelling in over 5 different countries and countless cities, this was the first place that truly called to me. I dont know if it was the greenery, or the Irish accent, or the friendliness, or the Irish accent…but there was something about Ireland, and I would end up spending the next 2 weeks there. But more about that later. On our first day, mom and I attended a world cultural festival right on the outskirts of Dublin where they offered various natural and homeopathic services and products. We treated ourselves to a 30 minute Reflexology session (aka, a really good foot massage), ate a chocolate and marshmellow crepe (pure heaven), watched some Tango dancing and did some fair trade shopping. Chocolate, massage, shopping.. does it get any better than? Later that night, we went to see some traditional Irish dancing, which was just fascinating to watch. Before we knew it a week had passed and it was time to say goodbye. So mom headed back to the states and I returned to my gypsy adventures. After 3 months of travelling with various travel partners, with mom, and staying with friends, I would now begin my journey, for the first time this trip, alone. And I was scared.

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