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27 October 2009

First Days in Galway

So far Galway is cloudy, wet and windy. But I was always expecting it to be pretty similar to Invercargill.

While it doesn't feel that different to be here, at the same time everything is very different. For one thing the houses and buildings are built very differently here than in NZ. It looks like British television and movies, which I know sounds pretty obvious but it will still take some getting used to. All the buildings are built in rows, all stuck together and looking the same. They call them housing-complexes. The roads are sometimes very narrow and windy, some with cobblestones, and there are stone walls all over the place.

There is a lot of grass and trees, which is nice, and most looks similar to NZ. Except when you see a large expanse of it, foresty stuff, it looks completely different to our bush and forest. You can't really describe how it is different, but there is absolutely no mistaking it. Does it look different? Or does it feel different? I can't figure it out. I haven't taken a photo of it yet to show you.

The footpaths in the city centre are very narrow, and the roads small and windy, very different to Invers, all spaced out and square. Also, despite the fact that it is wet and rainy here the shop fronts don't all have verandahs overhanging them, very unlike Invercargill. But in saying that, I guess it is all because it is a lot older here.

There are a lot of cars on the roads and a lot of people wandering the streets, but that could just be because it is a public holiday weekend. There are a lot of people out walking and taking photos of things so I fit right in. There is a lot to take photos of. There are big old buildings everywhere, like this great stone cathedral. I would like to go in one, to see what it looks like from the inside. But I don't want to just wander in, they take their religion very seriously here.

And it is only a short walk to the harbour, which was nice despite the unending overcast-ness. There are islands out in the water, they were all misty with rain. And a lot of sea birds hanging around for food, obviously they are well used to being fed, they seemed very tame. There were these great white swans just sitting up on the sidewalk amongst the people. And they are a lot bigger than swans I have seen in NZ. And when they fly you can hear their wings beating. Also the seagulls here look a bit different, they have black spots on their heads.

I haven't seen much of the city centre yet, I wandered through but it was starting to rain so I just headed home instead. I found the University and had a look around so that I know where I am going tomorrow. It is hard to say how big it is. I think it might be smaller than Otago. The Martin Ryan Institute, where I will be working, looks brand new.

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