Okay, so I've been a few places before finding myself here, but I was waiting for a USB port so I could upload photos in this blog. Still hasn't happened, but I'll write anyway, and then give another slide show when I get the chance.
The Aran Islands in Ireland were incredible. The ruins there were even more impressive than the ruins in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. Hard to believe people could build such things, you'll see what I mean when I get to the pictures. They are built entirely of stone, but there is no grout to hold it all together.
I also had my first bike-riding experience in the Aran Islands. After 7 hours on a bike, I could hardly sit down. And since it used a whole new set of muscles, my legs were really sore too. But it was totally worth it, since I got to see more of the island I was on that way.
After Aran Islands I found myself in Cork. Pretty small town, but again, pubs are easier to find than anything else. The Irish really seem to value their pub time.
While in Cork I visited the nearby Blarney Castle. And yes, I kissed the rock that claims to give you the gift of gab - along with thousands of other tourists. I had to hang a bit upside down to get the job done, but there is a guy there to help out us rock kissers. I made the visit with two other Americans, and we picked up a (self-proclaimed) Kiwi along the way.
From Cork I took a cheap flight into Amsterdam, and I have been here for 4 days now. I have done a couple of the cliche tourist things: visited a coffee shop and checked out the redlight district. Neither were as fun as just wandering the city, without a map, and getting lost. Of course I could have rented a bike, but I am starting to wonder about the bike thing. I see them all over the city, but they are always locked up, and almost all the people are walking. So I walked as well. At least that way I didn't have to check to be going the right way in traffic; I only had to watch out for people who wanted to run me over (both bikes and cars).
In my random wanderings I found the Heineken Experience, so I gave it a go. It was quite fun, and Heineken off the tap in the brewery is much better than all those green bottles in the States.
That is about it for this entry. I found a great hostel out of the city on the beach, and though it is too cold for swimming, getting bundled up and watching the stars is great fun. The people here are awesome, both the staff and other visitors. This is definitely one of the more friendly places I have stayed (go Flying Pig).