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[SUMMER] BARcelona

I’m quite proud of myself for the title of this post, actually; I do believe I can be quite funny sometime.

ANYWAY, last weekend I finally had the chance to go visit Barcelona, Spain. It was literally a life-changing experience, and I would definitely go back in the future whenever I have the chance to. The weather, the people, and the vibe of the city were just so right that 3 days seemed like 3 seconds. A big part of the experience came from where we stayed: at a very nice apartment. Thanks to our friend Anisha, we got a deal for our flight and this amazing apartment for a cheap price (thanks girl!). Here’s a quick view of the room:

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And this is the living room with a couch bed

We were up early the next day, and we cruised down La Rambla, one of the busiest and toustiest streets in Barcelona. The entire time we were there, the weather was wonderful. I definitely got some unnecessary tanning done, but Barcelona was just so nice I didn’t even mind.

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We went to La Boqueria market for some cheap fresh juice for the morning! I still can’t believe that fresh, delicious, no added sugar juice only cost 1 Euro. It was so good I had 2 of them haha! And then we walked around the market. Unlike Borough Market, there wasn’t a lot of ready-to-eat food there; it was more of an actual market, but we were still able to find some delicious paella for lunch! Spain was literally sangria and paella diet.

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and we saw a dreaded dog haha

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Sangria

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Bryan enjoying some Sangria

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with friends

We walked up to Montjuïc, Mount Olympic. It was the day where we walked at least 10 miles across Barcelona – not a good day for Sperry’s.

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This is the Palau Nacional

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A view of Barcelona from Palau Nacional

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I’m artsy

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And then we went out to this restaurant/club called Sotavento Beach Club right on the “Barcelona Party Beach” – I don’t really know the name but that’s how I’m calling it. We enjoyed a nice dinner on the couch with some white wine and some extra bread for which we were charged. Bye Euros. The dinner was nice, but Spanish people eat pretty late. We went to dinner at around 10pm and sat there through midnight because the restaurant became a night club at midnight. Since we ate there, we got into the club for free. Yay Bryan loves free stuff!

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Here’s a Vine of the club: https://vine.co/v/hux5FXE2EWl

And here’s a Vine of some pretty drunk tourists by the Barcelona Party Beach: https://vine.co/v/hux5PQ3HAnw <- this one’s really funny

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Trying to be artsy on the beach

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PhiDelt take over

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Professional bag thieves operate in Starbucks, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

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Sagrada Familia is absolutely gorgeous and breathe-taking

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A paranoma view of inside Sagrada Familia

Here’s a Vine of the view: https://vine.co/v/huEYaXFnXrq

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Sagrada Familia is definitely one of the most famous architecture masterpiece out there. The scale of the architecture takes your breathe away and makes you feel incredibly timid and humble. Also, remember to take your hat off (if you’re wearing one, like me) when entering. Appropriate dress code is also advised! The government is actually expanding the scale of the building to make it even bigger, so I cannot wait to come back to visit again after the work is done!

En route to Park Guell!

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The entrance to Park Guell literally looks like a gingerbread house

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#ModelStatus

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The biggest vending machine I’ve ever seen in my life, and it’s just in one of the subway stations in Barcelona. Que paso?

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Bryan chilling by the Barcelona Party Beach

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Cathedral of Barcelona – another amazing building

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Cata Batllo – a house designed by, again, Gaudi. The house is said to be inspired by the ocean with wavey lines and almost no straight lines throughout the house. If you visit, you HAVE to do the free audio tour – it really enhances your experience and takes you through every detail of the house. Also, feel free to touch anything since it’s designed to be an experience for all 5 of your senses.

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Left my mark at Casa Batllo 🙂

3 days in BARcelona was definitely not enough. By the time we had to leave for the airport, I still felt like I could have spent another week there without repeating any of my schedules. Barcelona is definitely a city of international platform where you get to meet people all over the world like Taiwan (aka me). The city itself is absolutely gorgeous and the people are so nice and willing to help. The weather is amazing and the nightlife is fantastic as well. Things aren’t expensive and there’s still a great collection of everything to choose from. Honestly, if I can, I’d try to live there for an extended period of time. Maybe study some Spanish there?

Overall I’d say that Barcelona is a must-visit place. Thanks, mom and dad, for letting me travel!

I won’t be doing much traveling anymore for the rest of my stay in Europe. I’m currently trying to plan a visit to Scotland before leaving for Paris for school. I probably won’t be doing any travel out of Paris since I’ll be a full time student there with friends visiting. However, I’ll still try to make this blog as interesting as possible 🙂

Thanks for the read again. It’s currently 2:40am so I’ll be going to bed now… after I finish this Jurassic Park movie haha

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Hope you enjoy this “flying across France to go back to London” shot as much as I do!

kiss, kiss, peace sign,

*I still want to go to Italy* Bryan

2

[SUMMER] Fries, Waffles, Beer, Chocolate

Bonjour my friends.

A part of our ADV 300 – Comparative Cultures in Advertising course (yes, I’m actually taking a class in London) is visiting Saatchi & Saatchi Brussels office and Toyota European headquarters located in Brussels, and that was this past weekend. We woke up at 5am and headed to St. Pancras station to take the Eurostar to Brussels. It was a tough ride.

Once we got there, there was no stopping us from getting food. I was casually looking through the menu and then I saw my favorite Croque Madame was on it! Needless to say I enjoyed my brunch very very much.

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After a quick lunch break, we were on our way to Saatchi & Saatchi! Our professor got us a bus which is obviously too small for 11 people (#Sarcasm) and of course it was a #PartyBus.

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And then we were here! The office itself wasn’t really big, but it was very “Saatchi,” according to our professor, who’s worked at Saatchi for over 20 years. Clean design with a lot of white while the creative side of the office is very free and limitless.

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Best sugar candy ever. Little drops of heaven 

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Saatchi’s Cannes Advertising awards

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The creative side of the office

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Group pics!

Overall, I was really impressed by Saatchi’s presentation. It was very detailed and organized. It was obvious that Saatchi focuses a lot on strategy – finding the human truth as their reasoning for their advertising creatives and strategies. It was great having the opportunity to really see advertising agencies at work.

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This is a building in Brussels. #lol based on my understanding with my poor French skills, the driver said this was a place where the loyal families are buried after they passed away

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Just a casual chocolate shop in Brussels. I’m now officially on a strict diet because of all the chocolate I ate (and still have a lot of it in my bag to eat throughout the summer hehe)

After the visit, we went to the Grand Place for dinner. La Grand Place is one of the most beautiful plazas in the world where you’re surrounded by beautiful and enormous architecture, and you just can’t help but to take a lot of pictures.

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Panomara

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With my girls Abby Boo and Ali G-star 

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We came, we saw, we conquered.

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This is where we had our dinner – paid by Syracuse University (thanks boo!) Fresh seafood with tons of options on entrees and appetizers. Hashtag nom!

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Mussels 

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Aaaaaaand we absolutely killed it. Please remember this is a bill in Euros and for 12 people. Welp, education fees at their finest

The night just kept getting better. My little Willy Ho, who’s been studying in Strasbourg for the past 6 months, came to Brussels to visit! We met up after dinner and decided to take over the city.

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Was gonna take a selfie with my little but Brittany’s photobomb just made this so much better

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First we went to see the Manneken Pis. I still don’t really understand the importance of the statue, but we came to see it anyways. I heard they dress him up for different occasions, too bad they didn’t dress him up in Syracuse gear for our arrival.

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We went to Karaoke for the night by accident. It was bizarre because while all we wanted to do was sing Brittany Spears (or, in my case, Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne) and laugh, everyone else was signing French ballads. We still had a great time, though, and it was quite the experience!

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Sk8er Boi. Crushin’ it!

The next day we went around Brussels for a bit before our visit to Toyota. Brussels is a big city yet small enough to walk around, if you have the strength and the time. I actually prefer to walk around while visiting places because it really gives a good perspective of the place. Famous cities are not just made out of famous architecture and monuments, there’s also the people and the culture part, and that’s what’s important about traveling.

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what an unfortunate design for a souvenir? 

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I really do not understand Belgium’s obsession with baby statues. They’re literally everywhere. 

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the legendary Belgian waffles

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LOVE

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The Royal Palace

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My bestie roommie Will and I took over

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another baby statue…

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And we were off to Toyota! It was so professional and so great to have the opportunity to hear from the client side of the whole advertising business. Toyota, being the number 1 car manufacturer in the world, really has a lot of important lessons to teach us.

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Ali feeling official with her name tag 

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I’m pretty official myself 

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The class takes Toyota!

After the visit, we all separated for the weekend. My little, Paige, and I stayed in Brussels for the remaining of the day. We decided to walk around Brussels to really see the city. Belgium/Brussels is very interesting – unlike anything I’ve seen before. Having been heavily influenced by 3 different cultures – the Dutch, the French, and the German, the architecture, the people, the culture, everything is so mixed and you just feel like anyone and anything could blend in easily here.

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My little and I are totally models. 

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Best. Waffels. Ever.

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And then we went out to two bars – A La Bécasse and Delirium Café

The first one is kind of a cool-to-experience place, but if you’re looking for a popping bar/pub, go to Delirium Cafe – one of the most fun bars I’ve ever been to. Delirium is a Belgian beer with high alcohol volume. It’s not the best tasting beer I’ve had, but one has got to try Belgian beer while in Belgium, right?

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The next day we made a day trip to Luxembourg – a small country with a lot to see. We took the train there at 7 in the morning. While the Internet said it’d take 2 hours to get there, the train actually took a little more than 3 hours, so if you’re ever thinking about going to Luxembourg from Brussels, plan accordingly!

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so excited! 😀

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We here! 

I can’t really tell you where we were or what I took pictures of since I don’t really know myself. I wasn’t quite prepared to get the “proper” look of Luxembourg since I didn’t do any research about the place. I was kind of in the mood to just walk and explore, and it was a lot of fun!

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We have a special bond… it’s a Bryan-Wilson thing

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And we ran into our friends in Luxembourg! What a small country! Literally!

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At a Casemate. I don’t even know.

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Luxembourg guard. Hi.

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I didn’t choose the thug life. The thug life chose me.

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Nek Minute! It’s a slang from New Zealand – “Next Minute”

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The trio takes Delirium Cafe for the second time in a row

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Hi German tourist!

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And then we all came back to London. Overall this is yet another great weekend to be alive. Belgium is definitely one of a kind, and I would love to come back again soon. My stay in Belgium was only in Brussels, so I’d love to visit some very Flemish part in the North and some very French-influenced cities in the South part too. I loved my stay in Brussels and Luxembourg. I met some people from Germany and New Zealand; I ate a lot of chocolate, waffles, fries, and had a lot of beer (oops). I’ve been going on 5 mile runs everyday since I’ve been back from Brussels, but I can still feel the fries inside my body 😦

I have a week of class in London but traveling again to Barcelona this weekend! It’s going to be my first time in Spain, so I am very excited! Please stay tuend for some amazing Spanish passion next week and I hope you enjoyed this blog post as well 🙂

bisou bisou ❤

“I’m now on a strict diet” Bryan

2

[SUMMER] Luck of the Irish

If you follow me on any form of social media at all, you would already know that I went to Ireland this past weekend. I literally have not been this genuinely happy for a long time; I don’t know, maybe there’s just something about the Ireland that takes your stress away with all of the big smiles from the Irish. No homework. No stress. No worries. Just my girl Molly, myself, and our adventures in a foreign land.

It’s really funny how neither of us really has any Irish heritage, but somehow Ireland felt more like home than anywhere else. We started the day with some really bad experiences flying to Dublin with Ryanair – honestly one of the worst flying experiences ever, including sitting next to an old Indian lady for 12 hours who didn’t use any deodorant. However, I will not write my complaints in here because this post is all about happiness, just like Ireland (I’ll just warn ya, if you are ever taking Ryanair, remember to check-in online before your flight. Just trust me on this.).

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Smiley smiles!

After flying into Dublin, we got to our hotel at around 8-ish. Like London, everything closes early, except for the bars, so Molly and I decided to go eat some dinner, get a drink, and call it a day. Of course, being very curious about everything, I desperately wanted to try a pint of Guinness.

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My Ireland buddy Mollz

That was the end of our first night in Dublin. #lolz The second day, we went to The Guinness Tour, basically a must-do while you’re in Dublin or Ireland.

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On our way to the tour

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How Irish pubs get ready for the night = kegs on kegs on kegs

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The Guinness factory – where real Guinness beers are made!

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I swear I’m not an alcoholic!

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The Guinness Tour building. I imagined this picture to be more artsy when I took it.

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The lease where Arthur Guinness first signed for this brewery. Legen-wait for it-dary.

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One of the first Guinness ads. Please kind of remember this ad because my inner ad freak explosion is coming up soon! 

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Nom nom nom give me

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I actually thought this was so cool – being in a Guinness ad! lol! I knew I had a little bit of model in me! 

One of the best things about the Guinness Tour is the Guinness Academy – where they talk you through how to pour the PERFECT pint of Guinness. You not only get to see the demonstration, you also get to practice yourself – and at the end you get to drink the pint that you poured. How awesome is that?!

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Looking professional

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…not

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This is probably the start of my Guinness obsession. I’m not really a beer person, and I’ve really only liked Carona and London Pride before being exposed to THIS MUCH of Guinness. The taste is so rich and there’s not aftertaste. Also, it’s not as bubbly, so you don’t feel as full (or fat, in my case) after a pint or two. I’m now a Guinness obsesser. I know, I just made up that word.

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Cheers to Guinness!

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At the end you also get a certification for pouring the perfect pint!  This is being framed and going on my wall of fame in my room right next to the last certification I got in 4th grade.

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I also kind of a little went a bit crazy of the Guinness shopping. This is a picture of a classic Guinness pint being engraved! And here’s the Vine for it: https://vine.co/v/bLHOa7W1TDl 

On top of the Guinness Factory building, there’s also The Gravity Bar – where you can enjoy a pint of beer with the view of Dublin. (https://vine.co/v/bLXEU1nrlKE ) Following are just a few shots I took while walking around downtown Dublin. Dublin isn’t that big of a city, so walking around isn’t that big of an effort, but it really takes a long time to try to enjoy all of the rich culture embedded in this city.

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River Liffey, which runs through the center of Dublin

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And then we headed to the famous The Temple Bar. This bar is very famous and has been in Dublin for a long time – even the area is named after this bar. Even though it’s very touristy, Molly and I still had some of the greatest times here. We came across this place at 2:30pm while walking, so we decided to go in and get a chill drink, you know, just to look around and check things out.

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Little did we know this place was POPPING. Here’s a Vine for evidence: vine.co/v/bLwW1MF13O7  This is when we knew we had to come back during the night. And we did, after walking around Dublin a bit more.

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There are a lot of street artists in Dublin – basically one every corner. They were all very talented, of course, and friendly. Here are a few that I took pictures of because I thought they were unique.

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And we have ourselves a Leprechaun!! #LuckOfTheIrish

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(p.s. the guy on the right is about 6″5′ and the guy on the left keeps insisting that he’s a princess with 88 cows at home, and he even showed us his iPhone screensaver, which is a picture of him and a cow. We were kind of confused.)

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Vine of The Temple Bar: https://vine.co/v/bLD9LODUAdX 

Just some of the pictures and a Vinefrom The Temple Bar. #NBD. Bars in Dublin most commonly have live music and have no cover charge. Sometimes they don’t even card you, but apparently the lady at the Guinness Factory thought I was 16 or something because out of EVERYONE on the tour, she asked for my ID. I don’t know whether I should be flattered or frustrated.

The Next day we went to Galway. Just in case you don’t know the geography of Ireland like me before this trip, here’s Galway in relation to Ireland:

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This picture is not Galway. I saw these houses on our way there and I thought they were absolutely gorgeous.

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Our first stop was the Aillwee Cave – while we were very deep into the cave, the tour guide decided to let us experience how the cave was before it was discovered. She told us to switch off all of our electronics and turned off the lights that lit up our path. Have you ever experienced complete darkness where your eyes will never adjust to what’s going on and sometimes you don’t even know whether your eyes are closed or open? That is no exaggeration.

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Our next stop was Poulnabrone Dolmen, a remarkable megalithic monument tomb dating from 2500BC and also the ancient burial site for burying the dead.

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And then we were off to the Cliffs of Moher! I’ve seen pictures of the Cliffs, but I never truly felt just how magnificent they were until truly being there. I tried to take different shots so you could experience the scale of the Cliffs. I don’t know if I did a good job or not. Sorry for the low quality photography skills 😦

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I also made a wish to the Cliffs of Moher. 🙂

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Aaaaaaaand this is how Bryan fell down the Cliffs of Moher. jk if I had actually fallen down idk how I’d find wi-fi from hell to write this blog.

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Those are actually the cliffs. We “weren’t supposed” to pass the fence, but since everyone does it, they just told us to be extra careful. The guy in the picture above is absolutely so dedicated to his photography.

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I taught the Cliffs of Moher how to dougie.

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Dunguaire Castle

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And then we were back to Dublin for the second night. The tours were a lot of fun, and the tour guides definitely know what they’re doing. It’s so much fun to have experienced the country side of Ireland. If you don’t go out to the country and just stay in the city, you don’t really get to experience the culture and the essence of the country.

The following are just some shots I took before we headed back to London:

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Some average Dublin houses

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Saint Patrick’s a hipster: doing the Gangnam Style before it was cool

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These are family seat pads at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

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Dublin Castle, which was closed while we were there 😦

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Such an #accurate shirt!

ImageFor some reason, this old man would NOT stop videotaping us while we were chilling at the park, so I just decided to snap a picture of him. After this picture, he kept on videotaping.

Overall the Irish adventures were an amazing experience. People were genuinely nice and really do not care where you’re from or what you’re wearing. It’s all about whether or not you’re enjoying life and having a good time. Thank you Ireland, for an unforgettable weekend. I’m so glad to have experienced everything and have converted to the religion of Guinness ♣ I honestly hope I get to come back soon to spend some more quality time here.

I’m actually leaving in about 7 hours for a weekend in Brussels and Luxembourg with my friends from this summer abroad program and my little! I haven’t seen him since December!! It’s my first time going to both places, but the good thing is that they both speak French, so hopefully I can survive! Haha!

Again, thanks for reading this post. I hope I successfully conveyed my excitement and joy from Ireland to you. The pictures do not do any justice to this amazing place, so if you have the chance, you HAVE TO visit Ireland.

Love, as always,

“I haven’t packed yet and I have to wake up in 6 hours” Bryan

2

[SUMMER] London III – Class, Stones, Harry Potter

Did y’all miss me? I’ve had a very eventful first full week in London since my last post! Can’t believe it’s only been a little over a week already cause every day there’s something new and we go do something different. After a rainy week of classes, we went on a school field tip to Fuller’s Griffin Brewery for a tour Friday. Free beer? Sign me up!

We left fairly early to get to our 11am tour. Here are some pictures:

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My main girl Ali G and I climbing them ladders

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Dem kegs

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London’s next top models. Hi.

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Very authentic British beer and also one of my favorites!

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Double fisting!

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The tour itself was not very impressive. The brewery (this is a very difficult word to type) was very big and complex. However, other than gaining insight on how beer is made and how the brewery mades/decides on making different kinds of beer, like seasonal flavored and such. I’d definitely suggest going just to taste the different kinds of beer and really understand their differences.

After a morning adventure in the brewery with no breakfast and no lunch, we went straight to Borough Market before coming home. It’s a wonderful little piece of heaven on Earth. Whoever said London had no food has definitely never been here before. It’s such a shame that this market isn’t open 24/7, or maybe it’s a good thing ’cause I’d be so fat.

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Paige all happy about the food

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One of the best grilled cheeses I’ve ever had – but actually. Amazing cheese can really make a difference!! Who knew?

Saturday, we planned on going to see the Stonehenge. I wanted to spend most of the day in Salisbury, a town close to Stonehenge, and explored a nice local English town. However, life hates me. After rushing to the station, we missed the train by 2 minutes, arriving at 7:02am. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA okay now we’ve laughed it off, let’s continue.

We headed to the Buckingham Palace (for me it was the third time. I know it’s my home and all, but I really don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon).

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However, we did get to snap a pic with the armed guards, which is good! They also informed us that the Queen’s birthday parade will be this weekend, but we will be in Belgium! 😦

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What kind of guard is he? So interesting! Never knew this before!

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and we ran into the parade rehearsal! Magnificent!

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How unfortunate

We were lucky to change our tickets to 1 11:30 one heading to Salisbury. The English suburbs are absolutely gorgeous. It’s really great to see England from somewhere outside of London! We were also very lucky we went on a great day! Look at our views on our way there:

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This is a picture of a town called Amesbury. Technically, this town is closer to Stonehenge than Salisbury, but Salisbury is a bigger town, so people usually go there and take a bus from there. We decided to get off here and walk a 2-mile walk to Stonehenge since we wanted to take advantage of the weather!

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Walked pass a farm on our way there

And then we were there! At last!

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I’m not a diva.

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Why am I so artsy?

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#ADVTakesStonehenge

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Jumping shot. Sho cool.

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and this is how we landed

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This is Salisbury. Amazing town

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Got some beer and dinner at a local pub

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Saw some protest of Israel vs Palestine by the National Gallery. Looked intense.

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Went out Sunday night. Casual planking at a bus stop

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Monday, I had the opportunity to go to Harry Potter Tour. Yes, life, thanks for loving me. I never really realized how big of a Harry Potter fan until I saw everything in there. It made me fall in love with all of that magic world, with every little detail and design and craft and prop to the scale of the set and the production volume, let alone the content itself is purely genius.

Below are some pictures from the tour:

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The wands

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Oh yeah, blog buddies, I forgot to tell you, but I’m the greatest wizard ever.

Oh oh oh! And I got to try out some butter beer. It was kind of a shame that there wasn’t real beer mixed in it, but it was absolutely delicious nonetheless!! I also got to keep the souvenir mug 😀

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They also had the set of the castle. It actually wasn’t as big as I expected, but they displayed it so beautifully and had epic songs playing in the background. I couldn’t help it but to drop a few tears. This is my childhood, right here.

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Magnificent, isn’t it?

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What a wonderful weekend I had here in London. Thank you world for having such an amazing place, and letting me be a part of it. So incredibly grateful for all the opportunities to, literally, live the dream. No worries, no regrets, and no stopping me. This coming weekend, I will be heading to Dublin with a great friend. I am actually very excited because I’ve never really been exposed to the Irish culture too much, but it can’t get more authentic than getting to know the Irish culture than actually visiting Dublin!

Thank you for reading my blog again! Expect the next one to be full of Irish green 🙂 Please keep showing

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Oh yeah and don’t mess with me.

Wingardium leviosa,

Bryan