U of Nottingham, UK
We had the PAS and camera booked at 10:00. Dave came in to tape it for us with the new camera, even though he did not work today. The taping, slow as it was, turned out very good, and we had some fun in doing it. Then I finally got to say "good-bye forever" to those people. I came home and tried to pack so I could leave soon. It took forever, and I missed the last train at 19:30. So, I just stayed in the flat, and heard about John's experiences at the cool party. I got bored, and sorted all the money in the Bell's whisky jar into its native country. Later, I found out Rachel poured them all back in the same jar. I slept in Stacey's bed in Jen's pajamas.
Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland
Early awake at sunrise, we checked out of the hostel with our bikes, loaded for the other side of the island and cliffs, taste budded for those wild winds again. We found it a difficult journey, with winding rock paths that were too dangerous with or without bikes. So beautiful, all of it. We saw another fort, unreachable from our path without retracing and going back, so we just admired it from afar. There was no good path along the cliff to the next fort, so we biked ourselves to town for food.
After chowder and brown bread in interesting white sea god handled bowls, we left our locked bikes and bags, walking with our new dog. I named him Mangy, and he followed into a valley near the south west cliffs, where there was another fort. We saw something that we thought was a fort, but looked like it was built in the forties on closer inspection. We lost all semblance of trails, and tried our own.
The entire island was at one time covered by a thin layer of rock. Huge slates of it which we walked over, climbed walls made of it at least every fifty yards, until we reached the next incredible fortress. It was right along the cliff again, and the view of it from every angle was incredible. The sea was blue- green, the shadows were exacting, the gulls even seemed angelic, it was another exciting pinnacle which I will always carry with me, perhaps more beautiful than I ever thought the world could be. Forget mans work, this stuff was prehistoric. All these early men did was hump these stones insto curving walls. The real beauty came from the sea's shaping of this islands rugged coastline. I constantly searched for merpeoples.
We were forced to race back to town, winding and brambling our legs up and down this hill. We found where Mangy had chased a heard of sheep, although he was nowhere in site now. He'd cornered one, barking in the background most of our way up to the cliff. Finally rushing back to town, we jumped on our bikes and coasted past cars all trying to drop people off at the ferry. I'm leaving Inishmoor now by ferry to Rossaveal. We have a long day before us, or so said our plans that we deliberated heavily over on the ferry.
PLANS: Perhaps some good sea food first, then biking to a beach made of fragments of shells. Perhaps there is a good place to eat on that peninsula. Then to the three islands for some discovery by bridge of rugged lowlands.
We are coming to the shore now. A motor powered connaught is on our right, coming in slowly from the sea. We are sitting with Olivier, a Frenchman who lives in Dublin, and talked entirely too much. He was entertaining sometimes. He has no job, but is searching for an ideal wife, children and a home. We were offered to hang with him in Dublin when we arrive there.
Last night late after we did not eat, but biked ourselves bloody along the winding trails in the dark of the island, we met Olivier in the hostel while I was making marmalade sandwiches and tea in the kitchen. We had hoped to meet others there at our first hostel, so I spoke to him into the wee hours. We spoke mostly about films, especially those of Woody Allen, and some others from around the world. I was just tired enough to make the act of speaking in the kitchen, where there was no place to sit, difficult to the point of entertaining. We did not make any plans to meet or speak again, but when we met him again on the ferry, it was as good a place as any to talk. Sam did most of the talking this time, however, because I was taking pictures.
Postcard: Gap of Dunloe, Co. Kerry
My introduction to Ireland was through a group of people who worked at a Best Western affiliated hotel (3 stars) in Kenmare, Co. Kerry. But the first person I met of this group was Willy, a bouncer at the night club there. He picked us up in Killarney and drove us the scenic route tyz- enmare. He was a very rough looking man, but he seemed to love Sam and me. He listened to Rebel Music, a tape of it, in his car. It was quite Revolutionary Republican. That area is very much so. We listened to a song called "The Black and Tans, like lightning ran from the rifles of the IRA". It's our favorite. Willy made a copy of it for us. He also let us into the nightclub free twice. We climbed a mountain with small Sheila and our two Luther friends. We did sunbathing and heard Sharon Shannon, a famous Irish musician at the Square Pint. We also met someone (Martin) who worked in Galway, so we caught a lift instead of taking a bus. We flipped our travel plans around, and have many times since. Yesterday, we landed a ferry on the Aran Islands (Inishmoor) and stayed at a hostel near the best fort in all of Ireland. It is on a huge cliff (scary bugger)looking into the rough Atlantic. We biked to Rossaveal to get to the ferry port from Galway, because we wanted to go into Connemara. We biked all over Inishmoor (14 km X 3 km) and walked this morning along the western cliffs to the south. The ferry is softly engining a curve around to the pier. This has been the most incredible part of the trip. Cliffs of insanity again. We were lost a while this morning over stone walls and into the thorns. We chased sheep herds, we made friends with a dog that we followed for miles, but he had decided the sheep were just a bit more interesting, so we branched off to see our castles.
POSTCARD: The Aran Islands
It's a hard life, the Aran way, fishing, tarring up the canvas and wicker boats, emptying the nets and speaking Irish can all drive these people dangerously near the point of being quieter than the average people. J. M. Synge is the poet to read about the beauty of these islands. Its the best place on earth.
We started the ferry trip back at noon, and then went to a beach made of coral. This coral beach was interesting, painful to walk upon barefoot, and not very relaxing because of that fact. After watching some small crabs fight it out, and tempting them with fingers and toes, we decided it was not worth the long lowland ride to get there. Scratch that off the list for the next time.
We ate at a large pub on the way to the beach. They served us Guinness and Bass, mixed, and more chowder in the same white bowls with sea gods. Then we biked fast through gentle mists forever, until reaching a closed, defunct rather, hostel above a bar when were just about exhausted as we could be. We had a pint and checked it off our Lonely Planet travel guide with hopes of calling with complaints to the editor. We biked to a small town in Galway called Carna where we were forced to resort to a B&B, and expensive food at a hotel nearby. We enjoyed the wonderful service we received in Carna, entirely too good for what we expected. It was so much fun.
PLAN: Tomorrow bike north and climb. Then try to bike the next day to Oughtergard where we want to canoe across Lough corrib from a castle to a monastic Island, then to Congo
(Flight info: 550 mph, 1 :09 since departure from London)
After work, I tried to mow the lawn before going to Robin Hood, but halfway through, it would not run anymore. I suspected a clogged fuel line, since I was using really old fuel. But it might just be that the fuel could not keep it running. I got some more, but then was joined by Abe, Jake, and Tyler for the movie, and we had to go. Robin Hood decided to combine nearly every tale about him into one, and invent somethings of it's own. It was fun, but was a surprise.
I came home to some food cooling on the stove, and made some Italian rice to go with it. Rachel arrived, and we ate while watching Arrested Development, and then went to a movie at the cinema. STAR TREK: Into the Darkness was playing, and it was absolutely amazing. I may go tonight again, if Andrew comes home with me, so that I can see it in 3D as well, and compare my experience. We watched a few more episodes of AD before bedtime. A very peaceful evening.