It's the same, except that it isn't.

I've been to Europe a few times now, but this last trip was completely untreaded territory. And I really have nothing bad to say about the most excellent United Kingdom. Excellent company, excellent weather (Europe's going through a psycho heat wave right now, imagine 80 and sunny on the beach in Ireland), excellent luck finding hidden coves and towns and B&Bs, and never went too hungry. That said, what's a vacation without a little culture shock, even for an Irish lass? Allow me to elaborate:

1. The Guinness is better. The cider is better. The pubs are plentiful. Let the games begin!

2. "Still water" is water. "Sparkling water" is carbonated water. Simple enough, right? No. For reasons unexplained to me, some carbonated water stocked on the shelf with all the other water contains aspartame, which in my book begins to classify as soda. Dutiful label reading must ensue to avoid sugar alternative-induced headaches.
3. Mayonnaise haters beware! It's everywhere! Expect strange looks when asking for mustard or ketchup on items like sandwiches and veggie burgers.

4. Don't even get me started on the veggie burgers. I liked them, but I have no idea what they were supposed to be.

- When sheep are really used to humans, they'll lay in the middle of the road and won't move even if you're about to drive over them (we didn't).

5. Corporate America is depressing, but driving past a McDonald's down the road from a castle in Northern Wales is really depressing.

6. During traditional Irish breakfast, you will be served thick, homemade wheat bread and toasted white bread and expected to eat both. If you don't want to eat the bacon, ham, sausage and eggs, it's best to bring along a napkin to smuggle them off your plate so as not to offend your B&B host. You can always feed your traveling partner later if he starts to whine.

7. Vegetarians are generally pitied (see above).

8. There's nothing more beautiful than Ireland's million shades of green.

9. But don't expect anything that resembles a salad. Ok, salads do exist. But they won't look leafy and green and there's a good chance they'll be covered with what looks and tastes like mayonnaise.

10. Driving on the left side of the road/right side of the car isn't as hard as you would think. The rules are the same, they're just inverted.  It's like weird mirror math. Fun!

11. The deep-fried Mars bar craze actually exists and is quite possibly the most delightful piece of junk I've ever put into my body. Imagine an oozing, hot candy bar that tastes like a doughnut. Oh. My. God.

12. Architectural history is abundant and breathtaking and amazing.

Enjoy a few more pics, my friends:

Behind the scenes of London's fabulous tube:


Fancy a round?


I never said the deep-fried Mars bar looked as good as it tasted. 


Howth harbor at sunset:


Blogging abroad:


Got mountain?


Happy weekend everyone!