In slightly more than a month, I'll be off on my next adventure, traveling to Ireland, Scotland and England. I'll be accompanied on this trip by my mom, my two sisters and my niece. As I did before the Italy trip, I am starting to cast the vision forward, "seeing" myself having a wonderful time in those countries and I am making preparations at home.
I already know how to pack a carry on for 12 days. I have clothes for the cooler temps that we will experience in the UK. My passport is ready. As I was cleaning the kitchen tonight, the thought came to find out interesting facts about the three cities that will be our home bases as we venture out. I welcomed the tap of inspiration.
Dublin will be our first stop on the trip. None of us have visited Ireland before. Here are fun things I didn't know about Dublin:
1. Dublin natives, or Dubliners, speak Dublinese, a mix of slang and curse words. An example is "I'm on the lash." which means "I'm out drinking."
2. Dublin is an old Irish Gaelic phrase, Dubh Linn, which means Black Pool.
3. Dublin covers 44.5 square miles. We are staying in the heart of the city.
4. Dublin has the youngest population in all of Europe. Approximately 50% of the population is under the age of 25.
5. Ireland's national treasure is The Book of Kells. This beautiful gold book, containing the four gospels, was created by Celtic monks in 800 AD. The book is located in the Trinity College Library.
Edinburgh is the next major city we will stay in, using it as our base as we explore Scotland. I found out these five things about Edinburgh.
1. Edinburgh's nickname, Auld Reekie (Old Smokey) doesn't refer to a smelly city but to the coal and wood smoke that used to billow from buildings and homes.
2. The majestic Arthur's Seat at the edge of the city is actually an extinct volcano that last erupted 350 million years ago.
3. The Fringe Festival, held in August, is not the original as the International Festive began first. When it originated, poorer acts had to set up on the "fringes" to be able to afford to perform, and hence the name of the festival.
4. Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.
5. Edinburgh Castle is ranked the 33rd most popular spot in the world for taking a selfie.
And London, England is our final stop on the UK trip. Here are five things about London that I didn't know.
1. The London Stone is protected by an elegant iron barrier, on Cannon Street. It has been noted on maps and in historical accounts for more than 1,000 years. And yet it has no inscription, sign or apparent use. No one knows who put it there or why!
2. The London Bridge was destroyed during a storm in 1091. Made of wood then, it was taken out by a large tornado, along with 600 houses. The bridge was rebuilt, with stone.
3. George Washington's statue, in Trafalgar Square, actually stands on American soil. Dirt was brought in from Virginia and placed under the statue's pedestal.
4. There are more that 1,000 bodies buried under Aldgate Station. Why? It was a plague burial pit, during the Black Plague.
5. London has 21 lost rivers. The reason they are hard to find is because these subterranean rivers flow through man made culverts and the city has been built on top of them.
Reading these little known facts about Dublin, Edinburgh and London has sharpened my desire to explore these places. I am excited to make new discoveries, experience different cultures and form bonds of friendships with people who have fresh perspectives.
I love the quote that says, Collect moments, not things. I'm off on a girls' trip soon, to do that very thing.