A Travellerspoint blog

Travel Day: Killarney to Doolin

all seasons in one day 41 °F

We woke up to a cold morning in Killarney around 9:00. We went downstairs soon after getting up and had another fantastic Irish breakfast complete with sausage, thick bacon (which was quite salty this time), and two fried eggs. We also had some delicious french press coffee that Kaela said was the best that we have had our entire time in Ireland so far. After we finished breakfast we headed back upstairs to finish up our last minute packing, which didn’t take more than a few minutes. Since we had a shorter drive today, and we didn’t have a lot of plans for when we would eventually arrive in Doolin (our next location), Kaela took a 30 minute nap next to me while I read a few chapters of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's nest. The book is getting so good! I stayed up late last night reading it and it is always difficult to put it down. I should finish it fairly soon at this rate! I woke Kaela up just after 11:00 and I carried all of our belongings down to the car while Kaela checked out of the bed and breakfast. I cranked up the heater so that it would be suitable for Kaela once she came outside for our 2 hour drive. She doesn’t seem to function quite as well in the cold. For most of the drive she wore her snow jacket in the car anyways!

We left Killarney right at 11:30 and started driving up the western coast of Ireland towards Doolin, where we planned to see the Cliffs of Moher. Our drive up the coast was another beautiful one filled with green fields, rolling hills, and innumerable amounts of cow and sheep. Kaela was quick to yell and point whenever we passed a new group of animals, which was remarkably frequent. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful fall colors and driving through the narrow country roads with trees carved by the passing cars in such a way that the foliage resembled a tunnel. We had a great afternoon listening to various local Irish radio channels and have even become accustomed to a few of them and look forward to the regular games that they play with callers on the show.

We stopped at a beach in Lahinch along the western coast just before the Cliffs of Moher to walk around for a few minutes, but mostly to hunt for more shells to add to Kaela’s grand collection from various beaches around the world. We walked around for ten minutes or so but it started to sprinkle quite heavily! It was only 40 degrees or so at this point as well so it was freezing outside and Kaela had to go seek shelter immediately! We knew we couldn’t leave without finding at least a few shells so we quickly scoured the beach and found a few shells and they happened to turn out pretty amazing! We were also getting chased off the beach from the incoming tide. The waves were washing so far up the beach! They were also moving at several miles per hour so Kaela had to get a light jog on to get away from it. I made sure that we both touched the water though so that we could say that we have been in and felt another body of water; this time the North Atlantic! We hurried back to the car afterwards to get out of the rain and head on a few more miles until we reached our bed and breakfast for the night. We stopped at the Cliffs of Moher on our way to the b&b, but right as we were leaving the beach it became insanely foggy! Our visibility was limited to only a few yards ahead of us. By the time we reached the parking area for the cliffs, it was so foggy that we couldn't even see the entrance. Since you have to pay to go to the cliffs we thought it would be better to try our luck in the morning because we wouldn't have been able to see a single thing today. We slowly continued driving through the fog and mist and eventually made it to our accommodations.

The owner of the bed and breakfast pulled in right behind us and actually startled me when I got out of the car! The owners were very kind in showing us our room and then immediately making us both a cup of coffee (which was delicious again). We also got to sample some homemade treats! We were able to try some sort of home made cinnamon raison loaf and a homemade candy bar bite. After our coffee we went to go walk to the nearby pub to check out the menu (it was a little pricey) and then we headed back in the car to drive around the area a little bit. We drove down to the coast and watched enormous waves crash against rocks a few hundred yards away from us. It was pretty spectacular so we hung out there for a little while. Kaela used this time to find a few more shells. After we finished at the shoreline, we drove around looking for a supermarket yet all we could find was a small convenience store that didn’t even have a snack that interested us. We headed back to our bed and breakfast and read together for a few hours.

Around 20:00 we realized that we had to find some food fairly quickly because our stomachs had been growling for several hours at this point! We headed over to the pub next door (literally), partly because we didn’t have any other choice really. We went inside and ordered a big burger and two appetizers to split. One appetizer was a seafood chowder and the other was a potato and cheese dish that partially resembled an omelette that came with a tasty dip that both Kaela and I could not figure out exactly what it was. Regardless, it was all delicious! After dinner we both had a pint of Franciscan Well IPA (brewed in Cork) and listened to a local Irish band perform for 45 minutes or so. Kaela absolutely loved the local music! After we finished our beer, we walked back over to the bed and breakfast. Kaela is currently discussing wedding plans, and is already pre-booking a venue and a date, since both of our moms (and all of Kaela’s immediate family), is currently touring every known facility on the island of Maui. We are planning on watching the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead tonight. After that we will head straight to bed in preparation for the long drive back to Dublin tomorrow morning. We will literally be driving coast to coast. We have definitely seen a lot of the Irish countryside and we are excited to see even more of it tomorrow! Until then.

Love,

Justin and Kaela

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Chilly day at the beach!!

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Insanely foggy drive over to the bed and breakfast.

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Our funny little red punto fiat.

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Exploring the small town around the b&b.

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Our cute b&b in Doolin along with some pics of their gorgeous husky puppy.

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Another great breakfast from our b&b this morning.

Posted by JK_Adventures 16:41 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Travel Day: The Ring of Kerry

sunny 42 °F

We had a wonderful day exploring more of Ireland’s beautiful countryside. We started our morning off around 8:45 when we cleaned up for breakfast. We had another delicious Irish breakfast with fried eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast! Once again, we were completely full from our hearty meal. We went back to the room next and packed up to get ready to leave. I checked us out and paid the bill while Justin loaded up the car. When he came back inside to meet me he informed me that there was a frosty layer of ice on the entire car! Luckily, the landlord helped us out and brought hot water out to pour on the windshield and windows so we could see! We definitely weren’t expecting this chilly surprise, but it goes to show how dang cold it’s getting here!

We let the car heat up a little and soon we were on our way. We made a quick stop at a gas station to fill up for our long drive, then we started out toward Killarney so we could start our adventure through the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a 179 kilometer long circle in County Kerry. We spent the entire day driving the ring and stopping in various locations to admire the scenery and take pictures. It took us about an hour to get from Blarney to Killarney, and after that drive we could start the actual ring. We made a counterclockwise route around the ring. We drove right through Killarney because we knew we would be returning to the town later in the evening to stay the night. We wanted to make sure we had plenty of day light to see the rest of the towns along the ring. We didn’t stop too many times along the drive, but we did stop enough to take plenty of pictures and admire the vastly different sceneries found in various towns.

We really got to see beautiful green hills and bright blue ocean during the first part of our drive. We drove along the west coast from north to south and stopped along the cliffs to take some photos of the coast. Luckily, the winds weren’t too windy, but they were pretty narrow at some places! We continued on and made our first real stop in Caherciveen. We decided to stop in this particular town because there are stone forts located right outside of the main area. We got to see Cahergal Stone Fort and Leacanabuaile Stone Fort. Both have impressively sturdy structures! Cahergal has walls about six meters high and three meters thick! Both structures are really beautiful and crafty, and both have great green grass growing in, on, and around them. Leacanabuaile was situated in the middle of a field surrounded by sheep! We wanted to touch one, but they seemed a little skittish so we let them be.

After about a half hour of admiring the architecture, we continued driving through the southern part of the ring. The scenery was still amazing, but it was interesting because it continued to change throughout our drive. We saw everything from the brightest green hills to blue ocean to shimmering lakes and streams, and toward the end of our drive we went through orange faced hills and autumn-changed trees. We finished our drive going through a forest area along the ocean that then went inland and passed through lakes! It was all spectacular! We stopped a few more times toward the end of the drive when we saw a viewpoint called Ladies View, which is a panoramic viewpoint where you can see the Lakes of Killarney. We stopped a little further down the road again so we could take a picture of the glistening lakes up close.

We really loved driving around the entire ring, but we didn’t stop in too many places because many of the towns were closed since it was a Sunday. I was particularly looking forward to the town of Kenmare because I saw cute pictures showing the colorful buildings in the town, but it was starting to get late since it was the final town before Killarney. We wanted to be able to at least see some of Killarney while it was still light. Plus, most of the shops were closed in Kenmare. We finally arrived at our b&b in Killarney around 16:30 or so and checked in right away. We were only there long enough to drop our bags off and check the map to see where we wanted to walk to.

We headed out a few minutes later and started walking to the center of town. We weren’t sure what we wanted to eat so we just started walking around the town. It was freezing!! I’m not sure if we made it to the actual center, but we saw a good amount of the town. We ended up walking all the way to the other side and stopped at a market to pick up some snacks. We were planning on going out to dinner, but since nothing stood out to us we decided to bring back some pupus to enjoy in our room. We were already pretty exhausted from such a long day of driving and site seeing, so we were ready to warm up and relax back at the b&b. We walked to two different stores and ended up getting a ton of food for only nine euro! The groceries have been really cheap in Ireland! We walked back in the dark and basically ran the last portion of journey because it was so dang cold outside! Once we made it back to our room, I took a scalding hot shower right away. We also got to watch a new movie called Predestination, which is a brain teaser that deals with time travel. We really enjoyed it and Justin loves movies that deal with time travel or ones that make the viewer think and reflect on the events. We are tired from our long day and are heading to bed now! Tomorrow we have another beautiful drive along the Irish coast. Until next time.

Love,

Kaela and Justin

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Checking out the old fort ruins!

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How I climbed to the top!

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The Ring of Kerry

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Justin's breakfast in the morning in Blarney

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Beautiful Irish countryside

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The view from our latest B&B in Killarney, with our car in the foreground!

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Baaaa said the sheep

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Cute town we drove through: Kenmare

Posted by JK_Adventures 03:09 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Travel Day: Kilkenny to Blarney

semi-overcast 44 °F

We had a great day exploring Ireland! We started our morning with a delicious Irish breakfast at our b&b. My hearty meal consisted of an omelet, a cooked tomato, and bacon while Justin had the classic fried plate which came with a fried egg, bacon, mushrooms, a cooked tomato, and three different types of sausages. We also had free reign to toast and jams, pastries, and yogurts and granola! We stuffed ourselves with all of the delicious food and coffee and were completely charged and ready to go for our long day. After breakfast we packed up the few thing we brought in with us and checked out of the b&b. Our first stop of the day was to visit the small city center of Kilkenny.

We only had to drive a few minutes to get to the main car park. We quickly found a space and were soon on our way to wandering around the quaint little town. We walked along the river that runs through the town and got to see some ducks playing in the water. Next we walked back into town so we could look for Kilkenny Castle, which is a castle that was built in 1195 by William Marshal. We didn’t see all of the interior because we would have had to wait for a tour group, but we did get the opportunity to walk around some of the first floor where there was a free temporary art exhibition taking place. Apparently, there are contemporary exhibits that take place in one wing of the castle. We were able to see work from a local artist who took extended exposure shots of the sky and nature at night. The only other thing we were able to see inside was the old kitchen, which is now a small cafe! The cookware is still displayed on the walls and the massive stove is there as well.

We moved on to the surrounding area of the castle next. There was a massive green field in front of the castle that seemed to go on forever. We did a small circle and walked around on the path for about twenty more minutes. The scenery in Ireland is beautiful right now because the ground is bright green, but the trees are still changing with fall colors :) After our castle visit we walked across the street to a large store selling local crafts. It was cool seeing different locally made art! It was pretty pricey so we didn’t end of getting anything this time, but we’re always looking out for unique souvenirs!

We walked back to the car a little over an hour later and started our two hour drive to Blarney. We got to drive through the beautiful countryside pretty much the entire way. We were supposed to take the freeway for part of the drive, but the section we would’ve taken was completely closed down, so we took a detour through backroads in the country. Justin is still doing a great job driving on the other side of the road! I can tell he has to concentrate much more now, which is never a bad thing! We arrived at our new b&b a little more than two hours later and checked in right away. The owner was extremely kind and helpful and told us we should head to Blarney Castle right away before it got dark. We took his advice and left the b&b five minutes later.

The city center of Blarney was only two minutes away! We circled around the small town when we missed our turn to get into the car park, but soon we were on our way into the Castle grounds. The current ruins that are still on the grounds were built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty in 1446, but the castile originally dates all the way back to 1200 when a wooden structure was first built. The whole area is incredibly beautiful. Everything was so green and lush! There was even a huge field with sheep roaming around, which lead up to the castle. A small stream follows the walking path all the way up to the castle. We wanted to explore the castle first to make sure we saw everything possible before it got too dark. We walked up multiple narrow and steep spiraling staircases inside the castle to make it up to the top, which is where the famous Blarney Stone is located.

The Blarney Stone is a block of limestone that is built into the structure of the castle. Legend has it that kissing the stone “endows the kisser with the gift of the gab, or skill of flattery.” We of course had to kiss the stone, but this was not a simple task whatsoever. We had no idea that kissing the stone was so difficult! We had to sit with our backs facing the edge of the wall at the highest level of the castle. Then we had to lean backwards over a ledge while holding onto two bars that are posted on the side of the wall. A nice Irish man helps you bend backwards over the edge and lowers you down far enough for you to kiss the stone! It was a crazy feat to kiss the stone, and all the while you’re dangling way too high above the ground with only an older Irish man holding you up! It was very thrilling and rewarding :)

After this crazy task we decided to walk around as much of the grounds as we could before dark. There is a large lake at the far end of the property, but the guided trail marks said it would take us 45 minutes one way! We definitely didn’t have time for this so we walked over to a beautiful garden area instead. We stumbled upon a cute area that had a small waterfall and a tunnel with steps leading up to a higher area. These steps were called the Wishing Steps. It’s said that "if you can walk down and back up these steps with your eyes closed (some demand that this be done walking backwards) and without stopping for one moment to think of anything other than a wish, then that wish will come true within a year.” I obviously had to complete the task, so Justin guided me with his voice while I closed my eyes and started on the stairs. However, his guidance wasn’t good enough to stop me from bumping my head on a rock at the top of the stairs ;) We walked by the Witch’s Kitchen next, which was supposedly the home to the first Irish cave dwellers. Others say that it was where a witch would take shelter at night to keep warm.

Overall, we had a great time exploring Blarney Castle and we definitely could have spent more time there, but it started to get dark and cold, so we thought it would be a good time to go look for some dinner. After walking around the town for a little bit we ended up going to a local pub called Muskerry Arms. It was packed because Ireland was playing rugby and everyone was at the pub to watch. We got a table in the back and ordered two delicious meals. I had the beef stew with mashed potatoes, cabbage, and carrots and Justin had a warm ham and cheddar sandwich with fries. It was exactly what we were looking for. There were also five young Irish babies sitting at a nearby table so we got to have some free entertainment for our meal as well!

Once we finished our meal we stopped at the grocery store next door to pick up some snacks and sweets for later since we ate dinner so early. We hopped back in the car and drove the three minutes back to the b&b and we have been hanging out and relaxing since then. I have to plan our route for tomorrow’s adventure when we explore the Ring of Kerry! Until then!

Love,
Kaela and Justin

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Beautiful walk around Kilkenny Castle.

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A couple of panos for the collection!

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Our delicious and hearty Irish breakfast :)

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Tutu clouds!

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Kissing the Blarney Stone!!

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More great scenery in and around Blarney Castle.

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Some sort of MASSIVE leaf/branch we saw in the Blarney Castle Gardens.

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Fun walk through the gardens at Blarney Castle :)

Posted by JK_Adventures 16:36 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Travel Day: Paris to Ireland

rain 46 °F

We had a looooong travel day today. We had to say goodbye to Paris because we moved on to Ireland today! It was tough getting up this morning because we were still tired from our concert last night, but we eventually dragged ourselves out of bed around 8:30. We still had to finish packing and cleaning before we left. We spent the majority of our morning packing our suitcases, then I made us scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. 
Eventually, we left the apartment right before 10:00 and headed to the RER train, which would take us directly to the airport. It took us about an hour total to get to the airport. We had a random delay on the train when we stopped at an unscheduled station. We think it was because of technical difficulties, but all of the announcements were in mumbled French so we didn't fully know what the problem was. Luckily, the train started moving again after 10 minutes or so.

Once we made it to the airport we took a shuttle to the correct terminal then checked our bags for the flight. Next, we walked over to the tax refund area to try and figure out how to get our VAT tax back for the cooking supplies, yet we aren't entirely sure if we figured everything out. We then had to make a very long walk over to our gate where we went through security. They carefully inspected our backpack for some reason, but everything checked out ok. We had some spare time at the gate so I surfed the web with the free wifi and Justin listened to music. Our flight boarded and took off late, but they made time up in the air and we arrived on time. Justin and I slept for the hour and a half flight and woke up just before landing in Dublin. Everything was so green outside! It took us a while to get through customs because the line was incredibly slow. The customs agents were carefully inspecting everyone's passports and it looked like everyone was having some trouble getting through. We were a little worried that we were going to have a problem when we reached the front, but we breezed right through! The man asked us a couple of questions then stamped our passports right away. 

We headed to the rental car area next, and that's where the real trouble started. Tutu found us a great rate for a rental car about a month ago and there were no sort of age restrictions from what we could see. Unfortunately, when we tried to check in with Avis the man working informed us that Ireland has a strict policy about no under 25 drivers. This wasn't stated anywhere on their website! The man was still helpful and tried to ask for an exception from his boss, but he wouldn't budge. This meant that we had to see if Sixt or Dooley (a local company) would be able to rent to a young driver. Unfortunately, this also meant that we would be getting a terrible rental rate and we would have an underage fee. We weren't left with much of a choice because all of our reservations for the next four days are in places that can only be reached by a car. We had no choice but to pay for a car with Dooley. Everyone was really helpful and nice but it was a pretty unfortunate circumstance. 

We took another shuttle to pick up the car and soon we were on our way to Kilkenny, which is our first stop in Ireland. Driving on the other side of the road and having the steering wheel on the other side of the car was definitely a bizarre experience, but Justin did a great job adjusting! He said the most awkward thing is having the steering wheel on the other side because it throws off his awareness of the size of the car when making turns. Luckily, the foot pedals are all the same, but he has to shift with his left hand. The drive was pretty rough because we hit insane traffic leaving the city. There was miserable traffic even twenty kilometers outside of the city!! It took us over an hour and a half just to get out of the traffic. The total driving time should have been an hour and a half! Once we got out of the traffic, the rest of the drive was pretty quick. We jammed out to the radio and were happy to hear new songs since we've been listening to the same songs for six months! It was fun listening to the djs too because we actually knew what they were saying since it was in English. Their accents are also fun to listen to ;) The toughest thing was driving at night. It got dark around 17:00 and there weren't many lights on the road. It was also drizzling/raining off and on throughout the drive. Toward the end of our drive it started pouring so hard that we could barely see out of the windshield!

We finally made it to our town and we picked up food right away. We were pretty exhausted and hungry by the time we arrived so we picked up the quickest meal possible at the supermarket. We arrived at our b&b about five minutes later and checked in right away. Everyone here has been so incredibly nice! We were a little late for our checkin and the host was so kind and helpful and didn't seem to care that we were late. I told Tutu that I would come back just to be around such nice people and I'm saying that without even seeing anything else yet! We've been hanging out in our adorable room since we checked in. I started to make up our route for the remaining time we are in the Irish countryside. Tomorrow we are planning on seeing Kilkenny Castle before we drive to our next b&b in Blarney. We'll be able to kiss the Blarney Stone by tomorrow afternoon! Until then.

Love,
Kaela and Justin

P.S. Not many pics today because we were traveling until it was dark, but we will have beautiful pictures to share tomorrow when we get to see more of Ireland's lush countryside :)

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Kuku selfie of us figuring out how to drive on the other side of the road while driving in a car with the steering wheel on the other side too!

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Our cute room in our great b&b!

Posted by JK_Adventures 16:31 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Last Day in Paris

semi-overcast 48 °F

We had an extremely busy last day in Paris. We wanted to wake up early, but both of us were completely exhausted from our long day yesterday. We finally got up and started our day around 11:00. Our first task was to stop by Dehilleran, which is a cooking supply store that Tutu visited twenty years ago. She thought it would be nice to pick up some cooking items for ourselves and for her :) We got all of our items pretty quickly and all of the workers in the store were very helpful and cheerful. We even get to file for a VAT tax rebate when we leave to go back to America, which will save us over 30 euro. Our next task was to visit Tuileries Garden so we could recreate some pictures from the last time I visited. We took some pictures on a carrousel in the park and on a playground set that Kyra and I played on years ago. One of the pictures we recreated was on a spinning toy in the playground. My equilibrium has definitely changed from then to now because I could barely spin at all without feeling sick! 

After we took all of our needed pictures we started walking toward Notre Dame. We wanted to pick up a specific book from the pop up shops along the Seine. We saw the particular book in almost all of the shops the other day, but it took us twenty minutes to find a single copy this time! We had to find the book because we are bringing it back for someone as a gift. We ended up walking all the way over to Notre Dame, which was farther than what we originally wanted but at least we found the book! We also got to see the Christmas tree that was being set up for the holidays in front of Notre Dame. Once we found the book we wanted we started walking back to the apartment, but we had a few more errands to run on our way. 

We stopped by an Internet cafe first so we could print out our boarding passes for our flight to Dublin tomorrow. We went to the same cafe that I ran to the other night and luckily I didn't have any problems printing this time. We were in and out in five minutes! We stopped at a Carrefour Express next so we could pick up some bread to go with our pasta dinner. Our last stop was at a small ceramic shop that's right next to the apartment. I had seen small porcelain hand painted bowls in the shop last week and I had planned to stop back in before we left. When we first visited Doublethink Design all of the prices looked fairly reasonable, but when we came back somehow all of the prices had doubled! I wanted to get a bunch of these small bowls, but I couldn't justify 40 euro for a bowl, so I only bought one for 15. Luckily, the particular bowl I got was my favorite one so it all worked out. 

After all of these errands we were finally able to head back to the apartment to relax for a couple of hours before our Sam Smith concert! We started cleaning up the apartment and packed up first because we didn't want to have to do too much in the morning. We packed up as much as we could then started making dinner. We made a simple pasta and enjoyed some wine while watching an episode of Modern Family. By the end of the episode it was time to start getting ready for the concert! We wanted to arrive before the doors opened so we could get a good spot at the concert. We left the apartment right before 6:00 and walked over to the metro. It took us about 30 minutes on two different metro lines before we made it to Le Bataclan. The line wasn't too long and it moved pretty quickly once the doors opened. We found a fantastic standing room spot once we made it inside and we ended up about 5 people back from the stage!

The first artist took the stage pretty quickly. They were a young band called the Yeah Yeahs. We hadn't heard of them, but they were pretty entertaining and sounded great! They only played for about a half hour before they started changing the set for Sam Smith to come on. Sam Smith was absolutely amazing!!! He sounded perfect and beautiful! I think this was the best concert I've ever been to, which is tough to say because I've seen some pretty incredible concerts. This one was just so special because it was in a very small venue and we were so close to the stage. On top of that he was adorable and shy and just seemed like he was genuinely happy to be there. We had an amazing time jamming out and singing at the top of our lungs :) A security guard kept on bugging us for some reason when Justin took out his go pro, which was really bizarre because everyone had their phones out recording and taking pictures. He even threatened to kick us out if he used it again! However, Justin doesn't listen to those kinds of threats and he continued to take videos and pictures throughout the concert ;) A nice French girl yelled at the security guard and told him to leave us alone because we weren't doing anything wrong. Aside from that little snafu we had an unforgettable experience :) 

We bought a shirt and poster before leaving then took the metro back to the apartment. We were starving after the concert so we decided to stop at a McDonalds by the apartment. After we devoured our Big Macs we briskly walked back to the apartment since it had started sprinkling. We were exhausted once we got back and went to sleep right away, which is why this post is late! Until next time!

Love,
Kaela and Justin

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Ready for the Sam Smith concert!!

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First band: the Yeah Yeahs

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We were so close!!!

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Recreating some old memories :)

Posted by JK_Adventures 15:13 Archived in France Comments (2)

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