Friday, January 06, 2012

Go and see your friends on Erasmus

If you stay in Namur during the 1st semester while your GERMA friends are on Erasmus, you will see that you have plenty of free time. During this term I hardly had15 hours a week and I didn’t have classes on Mondays nor on Tuesdays. So I decided to go and see some of my friends who stayed in Cork. Right after the 50th birthday of our dear/beloved Germanic department, I took the plane to Dublin on the 26th November. There I took a coach in order to go down to Cork. 4:30 hours! That was what it took to cross Ireland from North to South. But, as I was very excited to see my friends back, the time just seemed to fly. Once arrived at Cork I was picked up by Sophie who would quickly be followed by Elisa. The feelings then were... I don't know how to describe them. But they were very strong, passionate. There was a mix of joy, happiness, delight, gladness, cheerfulness and relief to see them again. That was roughly what I felt when I saw them. While chatting, we went to the tiny Christmas Market where there were heaps of food stands. That whetted our appetite. In the evening we went to a pub where a traditional Irish music band was supposed to perform, but it was not the case at all. Instead of that an electro pop group, Toy Soldier, played. Yet, that was good enough to have a good time. On Sunday we visited the Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral and baked cup cakes, which were very tasty. Then I took the coach back to Dublin airport. 4:30 hours once again! And I slept in the airport because my flight was on Monday 09:00. I have to admit I enjoyed spending the night there. So I stayed in Cork for 28 hours: very intense and too short as well. I was over the moon.

Now I will briefly introduce the lovely city of Cork. The main shopping thoroughfare of the city is Saint Patrick’s street. It is very enjoyable to walk through this street with its large sidewalks and its beautiful buildings. While watching the buildings, there is something striking: on one side of the street the buildings are more modern than on the other side. This is a consequence of the Burning of Cork, which took place during the War of Independence in 1920. Cork was then a very important place for the Irish republican volunteers who were fighting the British authorities. In an escalating spiral of violence British forces were attacked by members of the IRA. As a response the Black and Tans (a vicious armed group employed by the British authorities) set fire to numerous buildings in the city centre. That is why one part of Saint Patrick’s street’s buildings date back from the 18th and 19th century and another part of the buildings were rebuilt after 1920. Furthermore, the place to go to is the English Market, the roofed food market of Cork. The building is simply outstanding and the atmosphere there is just unique. It is not just a market; it is the market to go to. Finally, the University College Cork is definitely worth visiting, i.e. the main quadrangle and the campus as a whole. The main quadrangle is a grass square surrounded by impressive buildings from the mid-19th century.

To sum up, I would highly advice you to go and see your friends who are on Erasmus. It is definitely worth doing.

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