uk ireland 1999: 10 year anniversary redux

This month marks the tenth year anniversary of my very first trip overseas. In 1998 I finished school and had just turned seventeen, so I decided to take a year off before starting Uni. I ended up working in Australia in a cafe for about nine months, then spending just under three months backpacking overseas. I went with Kitty, who I started dating in year ten in high school. We went to the UK, Ireland, Paris and Thailand.

Some of the things I remember from the trip were:

  • Wondering what the fuck we were doing after being grilled by British Immigration after a 30 hour journey over;
  • Being well and truly sick of seeing castles after navigating our way completely around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales;
  • Thinking the Avebury stones were better than Stonehenge because you could actually touch them;
  • Freezing our buts off, everywhere we went; and never being able to manage a hot, or at least warm, shower in any hostel we stayed (says something about our budget);
  • Visiting my first ever Starbucks;
  • Thinking Glasgow was cool, even though people told us not to stay there;
  • Being admitted to hospital in Cork, Ireland for the first time in my life, with the worse case of food poisoning I will ever endure;
  • Deciding at the last minute to travel to Paris from London for our last day in Europe. We slept in the bus overnight on the way over and arrived at 3 am. We then left the same day at midnight and slept in the bus on the way back. The bus drove onto a ferry on the way over, and drove into a train (channel tunnel) on the way back;
  • Ireland using a different currency called a Punt, which no longer exists with the Euro;
  • Everything being so darn expensive, considering one dollar bought less than 40 pence and I just saved all my money working as a 17 year old in a cafe for $8 an hour;
  • Getting to Thailand at the end and actually having money left.

Good times.

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Al

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