Ok. So, it’s been a crazy month and a half since I got back to the states, so I am just now getting around to posting pics.
Ireland was incredible. I loved the places, the cities, the accents, the people, etc. The air is so much cleaner than the air in the US. You notice it. It was the first thing I noticed after we landed. I breathed, and it was clean and clear, as if I had just gotten my first breath of fresh air after being underwater so long I forgot what it was like to breathe. The food was better, too. All of the ingredients are fresher and mostly grown or raised locally, so the meat was higher quality, the vegetables tasted more natural, and even the beverages were better. I loved the place.
Wales was an unexpected gem on the trip. I never thought that Wales would be a place I would want to visit again, but it is now near the top of my travel list. We drove through Snowdonia National park which has some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. I didn’t get any good pics of the park, but I did climb to the top of a mountain behind our hotel right as the sun was setting, and the views were spectacular. Pics are below, but they don’t do it justice. You could see green for miles. I definitely need to go back and visit so I can hike in Snowdonia.
England was nice. I got to see some incredible places, like Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, and so on. I didn’t get to see Big Ben because it is under repair and will be so for the next few years, so the entire tower was encased in scaffolding. Still, The tour of London was worthwhile. There’s so much history everywhere you look.
The best part of England, however, was the natural history museum. I could spend a week in there. As it was, we spend nearly five hours, and were only just able to see every exhibit almost at a run. The place is huge! The fossils were incredible. I almost cried. I grew up loving paleontology and natural history, which is why I am now studying biology, so this place was like heaven on earth. The research going on there is amazing. I spent a long time on their website learning about their efforts to digitize 20 million specimens by 2020. They are creating 2D and 3D models of these specimens, both wet and dry, and providing open access to anyone around the world with a computer and internet. The best part, that’s only 1/4 of their specimens! There’s so much research going on, from fossils to conservation biology, to genetics, to molecular biology. I might consider this place for my post-doc, because it was awesome!