(Ryan) Caitlin and I have always wanted to travel overseas to Europe together, so when I had the opportunity to speak at iOS Dev UK this year, I took the offer! I did a quick Europe trip at the end of high school (which was way too long ago...) and Caitlin has never been.
Since we were taking the 7 hour flight for the conference, why not add a few more days to our trip and really pack it in?
After we landed in Birmingham International, we travelled by train about 3 hours east to the small seaside town Aberystwyth, Wales. Leaving the train, it looked like we walked right onto a Harry Potter set.
(Caitlin) We walked a few blocks to our Bed & Breakfast and were greeted by the sweetest couple! They showed us to our room on the top floor with a window view of the sea. We could even hear the waves!
(Ryan) The next morning, I was the first presentation after the hosts kicked off the conference. Caitlin came to watch, the talk went great, and the audience had several questions about my work.
The conference was 4 days long with presentations, workshops, and fun social events. In our downtime we explored what Aberystwyth had to offer.
My favorite site that we saw was the castle ruins.
(Caitlin) My favorite site was Caesar's afternoon tea! (I may or may not have gone twice.) My Grandma always took me to high tea when I was little and still is one of our favorite things to do! As soon as we got back to the B&B I had to facetime her and tell her every detail, including what REAL clotted cream tastes like!
After we conquered Aberystwyth, we hopped back on the train and headed to London. We found our hotel, The Motague on Yelp and absolutely loved it!
First order of business, find scones and lattes. Walking home from dinner the first night we stumbled upon this corner cafe and said we had to come back the next morning, which we did and every morning after!
(Ryan) Of course while you're in London you have to hit up all of the major tourist attractions. The most famous probably being Parliament Square which has a ton of iconic buildings, like Big Ben!
And the London Eye.
After seeing most of the popular sites we went on a museum tour. The National Gallery was incredible. We saw paintings from Georges Seurat, Picasso, Van Gough, and Monet.
Our favorite museum was The British Museum. There were so many historically significant pieces in the museum that we just didn't have time to see it all. The brochure had a "highlights" list that we were able to knock out in a couple hours.
The most fascinating piece was part of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. I actually went to the Parthenon years ago when I visited Europe, but the marble structure at the top of the hill is mostly leftover ruins.
The Tate Modern is London's modern art gallery. Caite was really excited to see Picasso and Andy Warhol.
Lastly we stopped by St. Paul's Cathedral to admire the architecture. The size and detail of the architecture was jaw dropping!
(Caitlin) I could have spent a month in London and can't wait to go back soon. But we had to catch our "Ryanair" flight to Dublin! My sister-in-law told us we had to do the Hop On Hop Off Bus. We got an overview of Dublin on the full bus loop, then decided which stops we should get off and explore.
After a long day of exploring, we couldn't wait for a relaxing dinner. We found Angelina's on OpenTable. The view was gorgeous and then food was delicious!
The following day we explored Trinity College and met up with one of my girlfriends from California who just moved back to Dublin. It was so great to catch up with Natalia! Worse part, we forgot to take a selfie..
Our favorite stop was Kilmainham Gaol. We took a guided tour of the prison grounds and learned about the 1916 rebellion. Our tour guide was animated and had many detailed stories that made us feel like we were there.
If you ever find yourself in Dublin, I would highly recommend this site!
We had a few hours to kill before our final dinner, and stumbled upon the Dublin Castle. The grounds were beautiful! I was mesmerized with all of chandeliers, while Ryan read every plaque and historic detail.
After 3 cities and a ton of sightseeing, we were ready to go home to the pups. Love checking off our bucket list and spending quality time together.
Until next time!