Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Much to little sleep

Sunday, 25th of September. Leaving the bed was easy, but staying awake became a problem. Nice night, starry sky, but after my experience on my way to Baltimore I'm fastidious… A special experience, although I didn't really understand why we had to come so early, it had to do with the tides, as far as I understand, but I didn't noticed something special there. The Mont Saint-Michel is definitely worth seeing, but it's so extremely touristic (on a usual day you are not able to go but shuffled by the masses) and therefore curious, similar to the Cliff of Moher – a big road leads to it and in front of Mont Saint-Michel there's a big parking place. Indeed they are planning to build a bridge instead of the road. Fortunately so early in the morning there are only a few people, so it's really quiet and peaceful. To me it was mainly a very nice walk, also nice to climb the stairs and so on, but then the big tiredness came over me, so I was sitting there, eyes closed and became very cold, until we drove back with the car to have some breakfast at the youth hostel.
Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy (Manche), France at night. Photo taken by Benh LIEU SONG, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MSM_sunset_02.JPG

Then I went on my bike, but I was extremely slow, and became more and more tired. Once again the day would become very sunny and warm. Once again I started to sweat. I couldn't find my sunglasses this morning, but this time I'm sure it wasn't my fault, it must have fallen out of my bag somehow. I laboured along for some kilometres, every uphill so little it could be I felt so intense, I was always in my smallest gears, I wasn't able to do different. I realized I wouldn't be able to do today's stage and tried to figure out how to go on: Go to Caen by train? (Next train station was still 20 kilometres away, I had to learn) Quit the tour? (Wouldn't this be somehow extreme?) I had to find an internet connection (or a public phone) to agree with my today's host and also to learn about the train possibilities and other alternatives. It was pretty hard to think and not to become desperate… When arriving in Saint-James after maybe 20 kilometres I asked some people in a café about an internet café or other ways to connect to the internet – once again it was very difficult to communicate, what was very frustrating in this situation. The men agreed that there used to be an internet café in this village, but it's closed on Sunday.

I must have looked very bad – suddenly a man addressed to me and offered, I could use his computer at home. He had called his wife before, I had seen him using his phone but had no idea this had to do with me. I was really glad – a gleam of hope. I left my bike at the café and drove with Olivier in his car to his house and family. Olivier and his family, too, were so friendly, so helpful. Not only let me use the computer, but also offered something to drink and to eat – Valerie, Olivier's wife makes a fantastic chocolate cookie! After a while sitting on the computer and became more and more cold I realized that it wouldn't help to go by train – I just needed a bed, so the only thing to do next would be looking for a hotel and fall asleep. When I told this to Olivier, who came from time to time to see how I was, he just said: “Hmhm” and left the room, and when he came back, he once again had talked to his wife, and now he offered me to stay, I could use the little daughter's room… So unbelievable! So helpful! So trustful! I didn't know what to say, this helped so much, I was glad, so happy, now I could relax. They showed me the room, the bath and then the family left the house, and I went to bed and I was fast asleep until they came back some hours later.

I was able to do some better route planning this day and I also spend much time talking with Olivier, who was glad to be able to practice his English (Valerie only speaks French). Olivier was also very interested in the idea of couchsurfing, especially because this could be a way for him to better his English – currently he is only able to practice during a weekly phone call with a teacher and when he's visiting other countries. So maybe I made a new couchsurfer… It was so relaxed, such a nice atmosphere. This is one of my most important and special experiences I had on my tour – taking a stranger and make her feel at home. I just can say many, many thanks – mercy, mercy, mercy! Many thanks for your trust, for your faith and for being so friendly and open. I felt so welcome… I hope, we stay in touch, and I would love to host you in Bamberg. Olivier, you are a real friend, much love to you and your family.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From Saint-Brieuc up to Pontorson

Saturday, 24th of September. Now my speedo is totally broken, but unexpectedly this didn't effect me… Now I count my kilometres by reconstruct my tour on Google maps, and I don't care about the exact number – after 3000 kilometres likely it doesn't really matter, and I'm also okay with not knowing how much kilometres I still have to do.

It took me two hours to leave Saint-Brieuc and really find my route… It was around 2 P.M. (and probably around 15 kilometres) when I was able to start straight cycling. But on my way I saw interesting thinks like this rodeo machine…

Once again hilly cycling, sunny cycling – I was sweating all the time! Still nice, still exhausting. Once when I stopped to ask for refilling my water bottles a very nice woman invited me for a coffee. She was able to speak German and glad to have the chance to practice.

Once again I had problems to find my route when passing a town. In Dinan it was not only that the D 794 road I had followed up to the town and wanted to follow also when leaving the town wasn't signed anymore, it's general this bad signing: The signs placed on the exits of a roundabout for example are only readable if you are within the roundabout. It was also much traffic this day, that means stop and go, caused by a marathon that happened this day.

Also once again it became very late till I arrived at the end of today's stage after 125 kilometres. I had some hours of night cycling, and this feels also very familiar, because it's not so cold at all after sundown, but sometimes the air is very cold, just for some dozen metres. It was close to 10 P.M. when I finally arrived in Pontorson and also found the youth hostel – but no one of the staff was there anymore, they had closed the reception at 8:30… Some of the guests opened the door for me, and one of them offered me a place in the room where he and his friends where in, because there were still some beds free. But I would have to stand up together with them at 5 A.M. because they wanted to visit Mont Saint-Michel and didn't want me to stay alone in the room. When we had some more talk later they invited me to join them, and I was glad to be able to do so, because some people on my tour had told me about it, but I hadn't realize I was so close, just ten kilometres away. But for the moment I was just exhausted and after a short shower I felt asleep.

France

Friday, 23th of September. Good sleep, good morning, still amazing, full of new energy and curious for the new day… When arriving in France at Roscoff harbour it was bright sunshine – so warm, I didn't needed my long sleeved shirt, I needed my sunglasses and suncream! During the last weeks I sometimes had thought I was maybe to late with my tour, so cycling time was over, but here in France it was just best late summer. Switching back to the right side of the street wasn't a problem, it's just the other routine, and now I can do both… Everything felt so much more like home,the landscape, the weather – I can't really explain.

But what's a real problem in France is the signing. If there's a system (and I don't think so) I don't get it. It's not that they give you some orientation by naming the next bigger cities or villages. When you leave the direct, big ways, which usually leads into motorways, they just name the next village, but sometimes they stop before arriving and name some other village close to where you are… Usually they say nothing about the distances. And what makes it more worse is that my map is also not good, wrong map scale, justified for car drivers, but it was the best I could get on the ferry. It doesn't tell anything about the smaller villages, so I can't make a connection between signs and map. And I also had to learn that the people who made my map had their own understanding of which roads are important to show, they don't orientated themselves on types of streets, so sometimes the route I follow end on my map but goes on in reality.

I needed some time to figure out these things, had to make some detours and also had to learn that most French people don't speak English or another foreign language. So I ask them in English the others answer in French and then I do what they have told me respective they do what I have asked them – it's surprising this works! But nevertheless I feel a little bit lost and much more thrown back on my own resources. Every time I cross a bigger village or town it's really difficult to find back my route, they stop signing and naming the roads name/number! So all this takes lots of time… Morlaix for example is a really worth seeing town, but without the help of a local I would have lost my way…
Morlaix (Brittany, France); Place des Otages, Viaduc. This photo was taken by fafner, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morlaix_Viaduc.jpg

France is hilly. Acceptable hilly, but hilly, so cycling is demanding. Here in France within this fantastic weather I really become aware that I do challenging sports all the time. I didn't felt so when I was in Ireland. There it was just fighting with nature powers. Here I'm only fighting with myself. Cycling the small roads is just great. Less traffic, familiar landscape, very relaxed, all this remembers me a lot of all the one or two day tours I did with Klaus. This whole France experience is just godsend.

But as one can imagine, the cycling took lots of time and it was also a long distance – in the end I had cycled 140 kilometres when I reached the city limit of Saint-Brieuc. It was night cycling for the last hour. I stopped a car to ask for the directions to my host's place, and instead of giving directions, the kind young woman told me to follow her – she guided me with her car until I was at my goal. It wasn't that far, but once again I couldn't believe how friendly and helpful people act to me!

Then I met Sylvain, my couchsurfing host for this night, and it was such a nice welcome. After taking a shower I felt so relaxed, so awake, so positive… It was fun to talk with him. Sylvain was just lovely, so cute, very committed in giving me a good time and also so sweet in being a newbie, as I had the pleasure to be his first couchsurfer. I was curious about the differences between the couchsurfing groups vegetarians and gay vegetarians – he's a member of both. Maybe one can imagine what my pervert fantasy imagined… I would have loved to stay longer and spend much more time together as he is very easy going, curious and positive, but I had to go on my bike and he had to learn for an exam. Really hope to meet him again…

Leaving Ireland

Thursday, 22th of September. I left Patti and Mark in the morning to cycle the 75 kilometres back to the ferry the same way I had come to some weeks before. Interesting to see how different my feelings were now, nothing left of seeing everything as new and amazing, everything was just usual, banal and a little boring – nevertheless nice. For the first time for weeks no clouds all the time, it became a really sunny day, and when there were clouds, it was far away from raining.

The crying came over me from time to time and culminated in the sentence: One's worthless if one's not working. I didn't know how deep my father's inferiority complexis working inside of me. I think I understand the mechanism, but I can't change my feelings, so it's still something to work on. For now I think it's just good to have some insight. Nevertheless it was just awareness, pure feeling. I didn't felt bad at all. Mainly I was still glad to come back home, and also full of faith, curious what will happen, how I will go on. And generally I'm really optimistic and think I'm on a good way.

Also at the ferry harbour it was really nice, the whole procedure was very relaxed – and then the ferry… The Oscar Wilde is not only a really big ship, but it's a real ship, that means as the most important fact for me one with a sun deck! For the first hour I milled around, looking for all the new things, seeing how things work… It was just amazing. As Melanie had told my I set up camp in my reserved seats room and put my sleeping mat and bag to the floor, as some others did, too. I felt so new, so refreshed – in this sense I'm pretty green, but it's great if you can be thrilled by a passage and all the things what are connected.

For the first time since I'm on tour my t-shirt with the free hugs print at both sides really worked! When I was walking around I heard some people talking about it, and when I met them later (something had fallen off my pocket down the stairs and one of them kept it and gave it back to me) I offered directly a hug, and he was glad – I think it was his first time – and made an “Oooh”-sound when being hugged. Later when I once again did my tour on the ferry an older man (he's 65 I had learned) asked me: “Is this true?”, referring to my shirt, so we had a really warm long hug, and I also hugged his wife, sitting next to him, who said while hugging: “Oh, I miss my daughter so bad!” Then they invited me for a glass of wine (and more glasses later…), and we spent the whole night together. Barbara had been a nun when she was very young, following the will of her parents when she was sixteen, but two years later she felt in love with a priest, so she quit, but the priest didn't. Later when meeting her husband Michael she became mother of four children. They invited me to come to their home in Cork and also to sleep in their cabin – so nice, so friendly and also a little bit drunk… During our conversation once a man came to me from the back and while saying: “I can't resist…!” he hugged me from the back, and than I answered his hug from the front, too. I also had a funny little moment, when I had eye contact with a retired man who obviously had read my shirt, so I gave him a smile and he answered very polite: “No, I don't want to…”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Back home via France!

Wednesday, 21th of September. Tomorrow I will take the ferry back home – home to the continent, where I will understand less then here, I assume, but feel much closer to home, I suppose (when I left the continent it was the first time, that I felt being far away from home). My stages are planed. Except one stage at all these places is a youth hostel located, so in case something went wrong with my couchsurfing hosts, it don't has to bother me so bad.

I'm so glad to come back home! I sent a mail to my boss at university that I will quit. Although I still have no reasonable explanation and still think it's illogical and irrational, I feel better now. And I yearn so much for Klaus, my love. So much things to look forward!


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

General thoughts about the package

Tuesday, 20th of September. I'm pretty contended with the lot and the things I have packed. I have met several people who had said I have pretty much stuff with me and if it's very heavy (it isn't). Melanie was the first one, who was fascinated how few things I have with me – she isn't a cyclist and much more used to travelling with a van, but it's good to hear something like this, too. I needed some time to realize she didn't meant her statement ironical… To me it felt all the time like not to much and not to little. So here for the statistics:

Bicycle clothes

3 cycling shirts
1 good, 2 normal. One of them is really for emergency and for the good feeling to have some clean stuff as a backup. I never had more than two of them in usage, but some days where I would have needed the third one if there wouldn't have been a washing machine. (I don't mind of the clothes are dirty, but I don't like to smell…)
1 long sleeved compression sports underwear shirt
Best I've ever had. And although the sellers named it underwear it is pretty good to wear as a normal long sleeved shirt.
2 padded knee length cycling shorts, 2 long sports tights
Since the weather is so cold I wear the shorts and the tights on top of each other (I have also 1 padded pants, that was great in August, but now are the cycling shorts better). It's perfect to have two pairs for changing…
1 pair of cycling gloves
It was new when I started the tour. Now it's pretty used and close to get broken, maybe I need some new ones soon. Sometimes I also would like to have a pair of cycling gloves were the fingers are protected, too. But at the moment the mitten addition connected to my rain coat works good enough.
1 cap
Perfect as sun protection, also good to keep the head warm. And it fits perfect together with the rain cap of my rain coat. I don't like that much how I look, but this shouldn't matter.
1 functional bandanna
Best to have to protect the neck from the wind.
1 cycling sun glasses
It was much more important when it was warm and sunny, but now I know how useful these sun glasses can be (although I don't like how I look when wearing them).
1 pair of rain pants
Needless to say more.
1 pair of gaiters
Most important, best one can have (especially if only one pair of shoes is packed…).
1 rain coat
Very light and works also perfect as a windbreaker.
1 warm jacket
Becomes more and more useful and works on the bike as good as after cycling.

Other clothes

around 5 pants
I don't have an overview, because when I need one I grab into my bag and until now I found more than enough.
around 5 pairs of socks
Same as with the pants. But I think much more often it could be too little, especially as I have warm and not so warm socks…
3 bras
Need all but never needed more.
2 pairs of footed socks
Good to have with me. Wore the thinner pair when it was warmer, now I use the other pair.
1 pair of jeans, 1 pair or thin trousers
First to wear outside, second to wear inside. Get dirty sometimes, but who cares? If both were laundered at the same time, I can still use one of the tights, and the trousers dry very fast.
4 3 t-shirts
2 for usual wearing, one mostly for nights, the 1 to much I was glad to give to Melanie as a present to say thanks for the shelter she gave me – so in this sense the shirt was definitely worth it to take with me.
1 long sleeved cord shirt
I love it.
1 cord bonnet
I love it.
1 long sleeved shirt
As an alternative to the cord bonnet, also able to wear over it (but if it's cold I usually choose the warm jacket).
1 pair of shoes
Works fine, they went wet one time, but went dry again over night with some newspapers inside.
1 warm tuque
I use it as a sleepyhead when it's cold around me.
3 neckerchiefs
1 I use nearly all the time when I'm not on the bike, 1 to protect Hobbes from falling down and get lost (what's totally dispensable, Hobbes says), 1 big one I don't need.
1 swimming suit, goggles
Useless. But you never know…

miscellaneous

1 wash bag
Full of useful things, some of them I never use.
drugs
Most of them against headache, but fortunately I need them extremely seldom. Most important: magnesium. Also some emergency stuff if I get wounded. Things like this. Didn't miss anything.
1 sketchbook
Works also (or mostly) as a diary, notebook and collection of paper stuff.
1 pencil case
Full of fine liners and felt pens in different colours, some small brushes and pencils – just what one needs.
1 map with paper stuff what accrued
Good to have a place where collect those stuff, but I thought more than once about sending this map with its content back home. Otherwise it was good to show some of the papers to other people and talk about it…
1 little map with songs
My general orientation when playing the guitar. Very useful if I don't know what to play. When I started my tour I had also my big Beatles songbook with me, but this was some weight I had to get rid off.
1 western guitar
It was the right decision to take it with me, that's for sure. It's good to be able to play, and it's also an effective eye catcher when people see me crossing with the guitar on top of my package…
1 electronic tuner, 1 capo
Very useful when one's travelling with a guitar.
1 digital photo camera
Useful and important tool.
1 torch
I feel much more relaxed since I bought it.
some (rechargeable and non-rechargeable) batteries
Had to buy the non-rechargeable batteries when I bought the torch, but it's also good to have a backup if the rechargeable ones are empty.
3 small, 2 tiny juggling balls
I don't really use them, but otherwise they don't bother. And it's not wrong to have some more options – and I remember some great nights where I and my hosts had some fun with them.
1 glue stick
Really needful thing.
adhesive film
Really needful thing. I need it a lot to repair the map… Tape in general is very useful.
1 loo paper
Really needful thing, although I didn't needed it urgently on this tour.
some bicycle tools
Needless to say, really needful things. I missed some small things but nothing important.
1 mp3 player/USB stick
Includes some of my music which is good to be able to listen and also good to share. And it has enough space that I can use it to secure copy the photos I'm taking.
1 map of Ireland
Really needful thing. I think I will buy a map of France, too.
1 sleeping bag
Really needful thing.
1 sleeping mat
Really needful thing.
1 rucksack
It's usually packed inside one of my panniers. Very handy to have something to carry things with me which is independent from the bike.
2 panniers
That's where most of the stuff is packed in.
1 bumbag
I use it for many years as a handlebar bag, it includes all the stuff I want to reach while cycling and it has written on it “Never give up”.
1 stuffed tiger
One needs a friend on such a trip.
some more little things that are not important or big enough to be counted
Little plastic bags for example are very useful, so I collect them. Same with rubber band and tissues.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm caving in

the Irish railway map, many thanks for prividing to Irish Rail
Monday, 19th of September. I not only did the direct route to Dublin, I did it by train. Saturday was once again just a rainy day and I wasn't in the mood to go out and cycle. Wherefore? Sean, Anne's boyfriend, had agreed to host me, Anne was happily in Dublin, too, at the moment, and we arranged to meet in an Irish club where they wanted to go to this evening.

When I wanted to buy my ticket the woman on the counter referred me to the train people to asked if I could take my bike with me. First they weren't so sure but then they agreed. Going by train isn't so popular in Ireland, most people are using the buses. There are not that much routes, and also the usage differs from the way it is in Germany, it's much more relaxed but also seems to be much less organized.

I liked the train ride. A new facet of my Ireland image. But all over Ireland the same boring weather. When I arrived in Dublin I tried to open my perception for this place, and actually it was a little like an interesting new experience – big colourful lights, night life, maybe somehow unique… I had some optimism, and it was fun to navigate through the city centre to find the club where I would meet Anne and Sean. Club Conradh na Gaeilge is a non-governmental organisation that promotes the Irish language in Ireland and abroad – so Sean taught me how to order my guinness in Irish (but I can't remember the spelling anymore…). I had a little faith by seeing Anne again, but was also fragile inside of me. When I'm in this mood I need lots of affirmation that people really like me and mean it. Otherwise I feel bound to act self confident, to show I'm an interesting person, who is worth the time to spend with and no boring burden. And Anne and Sean were very friendly but also busy. And then I'm not so sure if people just try to be nice but not really care.

On Sunday I once again cycled the ten kilometres up to the city centre but felt so lonely I wasn't able to motivate myself to do some touristic or cultural stuff. Dublin is so loud, so much people, so much traffic (this day lots of people on the street were celebrating because some sports team had won some game), and I was so small and lost. For the first time on my tour I really missed Klaus, because there was no reason to discover this town without him. I went to an Internet café that also gave me a bad feeling about being impersonal and not trustful and secure because of the suggestion to lock the rucksack. This was the time when the crying started. I couldn't stand it, couldn't control it, It was just losing all cohesion. I tried to find something to hold on to, but in the end there was just crying and this complete caving in. I cycled back to Sean's place, when another rain caught me. But those things couldn't get me down, I felt so lost and without any faith, so it didn't matter or was just fitting.

When I was back, Sean asked if I wasn't okay, so my small ability to buck up got lost again. My only idea how to help myself was to take the next train up to Tramore, as this place was the closest to home I could get in the moment. Sean wasn't reserved when I couldn't hold back tears and tried to say helpful things – that I surely miss my boyfriend, that I'm probably homesick, what actually isn't wrong but when you are so much caving in those statements can't really help. I needed to stay with friends where I could be sure it would be okay to burden them with myself. And I couldn't imagine it could be fun for Sean to have me around crying all the time because I feel so lost and don't know how to go on with my life. So I packed my stuff. When saying good bye Sean seemed to be really concerned. He regret we didn't spend more time together to get to know each other and do some music together. And then he gave me a long and warm hug. This felt so good. Maybe I could have had some more trust. But going to a place where I could be sure to feel comfortable felt much more safer.

During this train ride the crying came over me from time to time, but changed it's character. It wasn't no longer just feeling lonely and homesick but much more about feeling helpless and desperate about still don't know how to go on with my life. Am I a loser if I can't stand society's rules? What makes oneself a worthwhile person? Am I bad and selfish if I just produce this feelings that I can't stand it anymore? Isn't it just handy to wallow in self-pity about my suffering and just feel to ill as I would be able to do what all people have to do? It's all gridlocked and I can't figure out these conflicts. Why can't I be different? Maybe I use my feelings to manipulate others, so if I would be an worthwhile person I would just feel different. I don't want to fulfil any demand anymore. But a worthwhile person would just be able not to think about these things as demands.

When I left the train a woman wished me good luck on my trip home which felt good. Night cycling the ten or fifteen kilometres up to Tramore was nice, so in the end I cycled nearly 50 kilometres this day. This evening I realized for the first time that the days have become significant shorter – it was dark when I get on my bike at 8 P.M. So once again: Maybe it's also not the best time for cycling. And I still don't have to. I'm looking forward to come back home. And cycling through France could be nice, I think I will give it a try. But first I will stay with Patti and Mark and have some good talks like we started to do yesterday. It's not that I'm unhappy. I just don't know how to change live and become satisfied. And it doesn't help that I'm so annoyed about myself and think I'm putting myself much to center-stage.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ireland sucks

Saturday, 17th of September. Once again: Rain, clouds, wind – it looses all its fun. So I'm changing plans again: I will not cycle the North of Ireland and Northern Ireland. My last vision is Dublin, where it shouldn't matter if it's raining or not, because there I will be just a visitor doing sightseeing – and then it's only two more stages until I will see my first Irish hosts and friends Patty and Mark again, with whom I will spend my last days in Ireland.

Yesterday started good. Some short rain shower shortly after leaving Castlebar (so once again a stop to put on the rain protection and then take off after ten minutes, but without the changing I would have been soaked). Then nice sun for maybe two hours. Fast and easy cycling for the first 50 kilometres. The area of Lough Conn is just great, but when I left it became cloudy and also some misty rain started from time to time. It also becomes autumn, what normally would be good, but if it means this bad weather, it isn't.

Cycling the N 59 from Ballina up to Sligo was definitely the wrong idea. Road and landscape are just boring – just a straight way with continuous ups and downs. And I don't realize an uphill, I'm just thinking: "Oh I'm not that fast, seems I'm more in a comfortable mood right now", and when it goes downhill I become clear. But it's nothing nice about this. Give me winding roads in interesting landscape, and I don't care about if it's hilly!

I had an acceptance for hosting me in Sligo, but no contact details – neither an address nor a phone number, so I hoped for a couchsurfing message when I arrived in Sligo, what I did after 110 kilometres at 5 P.M., but no message. I thought about going on after some warm food. but after being on the N 15 for two kilometres without any chance to cross a nice pub or restaurant, I decided to return – I definitely wouldn't cycle this disgusting road! And while thinking so I also didn't see any usage for going on to the North. And the fact, that I didn't had any contact details of my host in Ballylifllin confirmed my resolution.

So at least I found a good place to eat in Sligo and to think about how to go on. I felt really frustrated. Not about power. Not about no cycling anymore. It's just that I don't like it here at all. I don't feel comfortable. So I don't have to stay here. But nevertheless I could have cried. The nice woman in the Café Society helped me a lot when let me use her private internet access and also her phone and actually helped me to guide Kate, my host in Sligo (who meanwhile had answered again, so mow a I had a mobile number), to her place – Kate was so lovely to pick me up (I felt really lost in this town, I'm too sensitive to traffic and crowd). So it wasn't that easy but after some trouble we met.

Sligo has lot's of traffic, all in a one way street system… I don't feel comfortable in all these towns, Limerick doesn't seem so unusual at all. I love these small villages with all these colourful little shops, but not the towns. I don't know if it's because of the weather or the North – maybe people are different here. Maybe I have to much insight in people's daily routine and can't see any beauty in it any longer. Maybe people told me to much about the real Irish, what just means their experiences as a foreigner in this country. I don't know. At the moment I'm looking much more forward to cycle France.

On the road again!

Thursday, 15th of September. I felt like doing cycling, I was awake, and it looked good outside. The whole forenoon it felt like the new morning, some gentle light, like from the first morning sun. And also when I was on my bike. it felt so peaceful, and I was constantly looking around to see all the beauty which surrounded me. So totally different from my last impression when I first cycled this roads with all the storm and rain and force of nature.

In Clifden I lost my way without noticing. Clifden seems to be very nice, but it doesn't care about ones orientation – barely a sign. So when I found one, I was glad to follow, but didn't thought about the road I was looking for didn't start in this town, so there were two ways for it (I wanted to cycle the N 59 up to Westport, but took accidentally the direction up to Galway). Nevertheless the landscape was nice and interesting, and when 20 kilometres later I realized how I went wrong, it wasn't a loop way, just an alternative way which didn't lead along the coast but along Darryclare Lough and Ballynahinch Lough, and when cycling the R 334 it was just great, such a nice little road. Now I was in the really hilly area of Connemara, but the road wasn't effected that much by this, some ups and downs, nice winding, but to both sides the mountains raise, Maumturk Mountains to the right and Twelve Bens to the left. And lots of sheep next to and on the road!
Photo taken by Joebater, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Benbaun.JPG

So it was just lovely new cycling, not that windy, mostly sunny. Originally I had planed to cycle the R 335 from Aasleagh up to Westport, but after a short break I noticed some tiredness, so I decided to take the shorter route, that also would be nice, a local woman told me, and it was. (It's so enjoyable, you just have to sit with your packed bike somewhere and people will come to you and ask about your doing…) The weather changed a little, so it was still bright clear sky in front, but cloudy and stormy behind me, and the dark clouds tried to catch me, but it wasn't that worse.

Once I passed a building, where a sign on the wall in front attract my attention: stop and pray. Just in the middle of nowhere. Then I realized the building was a church, build in modern style. The sign works, but just for half: When I was taking my photo another car stopped, too, but both we forgot about the praying…
 

In Westport after 80 kilometres of cycling I had a bigger break to eat something salty, and when standing up again, I had abruptly bad biting in my calves like getting a cramp – it came out of nothing. I did some stretching and took an extra magnesium and then it was okay again, no problems when going on with cycling. But very curious.

I arrived in Castlebar after 115 kilometres and didn't had any problems to find the home of this night's couchsurfing host John, to whom I had contact since I arrived in Ireland. Unfortunately my towel didn't arrive, I have no idea what has happened, I have contacted Allan but are waiting for reply at the moment – hopefully my stuff didn't get lost. Curiously I don't want to buy a new towel.

John was just nice, although he was tired of working the last three nights and haven't really slept since the last night. But I felt comfortable from the first moment. John has a unbelievable shower, which is located immediate behind a door – so the shower room isn't bigger than the shower tube!

It was a very relaxed evening we spend together and also curious, as there were some other people who were very – let's say: fascinated about conspiracy theory respective UFOs, aliens and the government who knows about this but does not tell us. They showed me some very weird "documentaries" on You Tube, that were made so extremely emotional manipulative – filming of unidentified objects and lights, crazy frightened people on the phone, scary music in the background, most reports taken from the news, so very popular level and much more entertaining, especially when the announcers talked about the features…


Johns brother shocked me when mentioned, I must have very rich parents to be able to do such a trip – it's not only that actually I'm doing this trip in very cheap way, but to think I could be one of these spoiled kids who never have to do something for the things they get! He couldn't be more wrong about me. One should think others know that such a bicycle tour isn't always fun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The remaining stages in Ireland

Wednesday, 14th of September. I feel good again, the weather is much better, and I'm looking forward to cycle again tomorrow, but nevertheless now it's with the feeling of being on my way back home (what seems to be weird if I have a look on the map, but probably make sense if you have all the cycling in mind what I did since I left Bamberg). For nearly all stages I know my couchsurfing hosts right now, what also gives me a good feeling. I will not put more effort in the search, one will see how it works, hostels are okay, too – but I love to look forward to meet other couchsurfers.


View Larger Map
Once again this map shows the closest Google maps allows me to create…

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A place to rest where one can be

Tuesday, 13th of September. Today is the first day where I feel generally okay again. I woke up early, awake, also it was sunny outside(!). The last days I felt terrible, was just down, ate all the time, felt exhausted, tired, flabby. Originally I had planed to stay for one night at Melanie's place but she offered me to stay as long as I want, so I'm still here, waiting for the storm to go away. And indeed, since this day it seems to become better. Thursday I will go on up to Castlebar, visiting my next host John, to whom I had contact from time to time as he was one of the people who said me welcome from the random request I made in Margate. So I'm looking forward to meet him finally. I also hope to see my towel again, that Allan has hopefully send early enough to his adress…

I think I wasn't a good couchsurfer the last days – one who is an enrichment for the others. I just felt down, depressed, bushed, cried a lot for no reason when I was alone. I was quiet, felt to be awkward. Just a boring person who's vegging out – most of the time in front of the computer. But this doesn't seem to bother Melanie. Her two boys are also just lovely – smart and sprightly. Melanie is doing a real good job as a mother. We had some very good talks, I took along what I could from her life story and once again about the question how to be happy without fulfilling society's requirements (and I still don't understand why this is rooted so deep inside of me…). I hope I could give a little bit back when teaching her some easy but impressive tricks on the guitar. And I hope she recognized how good all this did to me. Many thanks and much love. I'm still learning.

A new landscape – but this can't help

Saturday, 10th of September. I left Galway with the feeling of escaping. I couldn't open my heart and my soul to the maybe or probably existing nice side of this town. To me it's just a symbol how fragile my world is. I first had to regenerate. But cycling the R 336 along the coast wasn't much better, it felt boring and soulless. One interesting thing was this so called craft village, very commercial and touristic but if it works, fair enough.

Once again I felt weary and couldn't really find into the cycling. But my edging of light was Melanie, my next host, who had answered so fast and nice to my request I sent from Aille River Hostel, that I knew this would be a warm and friendly place. When I left the straight way to west the landscape began to change, what was good. It also was very windy. This morning I had said to myself: Wind is okay but please no rain again, and so it came. I had sunny times, clouds and some more or less misty rain but nothing what sob you. But this day I had to learn, that it's much more easier to resist the rain than the wind if you are in it all the time.

When coming to Derryrush I decided not to cycle along the coast of the peninsula but to use a small road, because although it would be enough kilometres this day, I didn't trust the coast in this area and the wind had started to change into storm. This asphaltic path I now cycled was just like lost in the wide and power of nature. Those things frightened me, it's this Into the wild feeling. It's just too big, too powerful. It was an intense experience. In this area called Connemara Ireland has lost all it's green and remembered me much more of a mixture of Kansas (or what I think Kansas would be or once was or still is in The Wizard of Oz) and the German L√ľneburg Heath than Ireland.

This storm was so intense! The only good thing or in one way good thing was that it changed constantly his direction, so not really a bad problem with adverse winds, but all this power all the time! Crosswind where one could and had to lean against. For a short time sometimes following wind, but the main experience was just all this power, and it was so loud, too, because the wind made lots sound with my rain coat. It's exhausting in a weird way, because the struggle isn't so much in the muscles when it makes no difference if you stay or move. But it's just hard to exist.

The Connemara ground is basically turf. Many of the residents continue to cut turf for use in heating their homes during the long winter months. So you can see lots of little ditches which were formed by the cutting. You see also many places were the turf is placed to dry. And surely you have the turf smell all around you. As I said, rather interesting, but this day I could only know but not feel this. To me everything became apathetically this day.

After 80 kilometres I start to feel bad and exhausted, I had enough sweety and fruity eating with me, but my body wanted something salty and savoury. I wasn't in an area with much population, yes, some houses combined to a village, but no shops or restaurants, and I was also looking forward to get some warm and tasty meal at Melanie's place. So I decided to go on – carefully but straight. Once again I didn't cycle along the coast but did the direct route from Cushatrower up to Ballinaboy and there it really wore me down. It's not that your muscles hurt or you don't have any power in them, it's just that it want work anymore.

The whole situation pissed me off. When I was at this end I gave up and rested, helped myself with some dates. You can't change circumstances. I wasn't up for cycling anymore, not now not the next days, never – I was just thinking about quitting the tour and come back home. Having a home is such a good memory. Curiously I wouldn't have taken a lift if one of the cars who rarely passed me would have offered. I knew I would be able to do it on my own, so it wasn't about power. But I was frustrated, so down, so much ways away from any meaning. So also in quitting there was no hope.

Cycling the R 341 next to the Mannin Bay there the storm topped his intensity, now there was so much wind one could have probably stand within it on the bike. At this time I once again counted the half kilometres – this was also the way I did the last five kilometres up to Ballinaboy. After 100 kilometres I finally arrived at Melanie's place, where it was lovely and warm, but it wasn't much verve left inside of me. I was glad not to be outside anymore, but that it was all. I didn't feel to be an interesting valuable person. No faith anymore. Melanie however was lovely. Such a warm welcome, just like coming to a place where you don't have to think about your acting and surely the right place for me. The most comfortable place for being so down.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This isn't my Ireland!

Still Friday, 9th of September. Today's stage ended after 80 kilometres in Galway, and for the last two hours it was night cycling. My new lights worked pretty well, what didn't work was my coexistence next to the cars. When I had to follow the N 18 I found myself on a straight road, where one could see the cars' long distance light very early and it also blinded me very early, but this didn't matter to the drivers and still didn't when they came closer. More than one time I really couldn't see anything and had to do all my best not to lose balance respectively my direction, until I found a technique where best to look (raising my arm also worked but wasn't enough and isn't so easy to do all the time). This stupid idiots made me so mad and angry. Barely one turned his long distance light off, when they did they did it generally to late, and they also seemed to love it to turn it on again in the moment they were passing me, so it really flashed me – many thanks. Then the traffic became much more, more lanes, more cars, all pretty fast. And still no thought about other coexistence. When I reached the remote area of Galway it was just unfriendly industry, trade area and when I finally reached the centre it was impersonal and commercialised.

Next bad thing: I chose the wrong hostel. I'm not sure if there would have been a right one, but this one was just bad for my needs. Because it was late and I was tiered I took the first one people in the town said it would be good and didn't tried out the two other hostels that were located in the same area – now I regret this. The staff was okay, but the travellers were mad: Brainless drunken teenagers, loud, heedless, only thinking about fun what meant alcohol and entertainment. So after a fast shower I escaped to the outside to have a warm meal, but there, too, all over noise and party guys. When I was in Limerick I also had a weird experience when Dave and I on our walk through the town passed a street where all the night life seems to be concentrated, and it was a real meat inspection. All the girls were wearing nearly nothing – all of them in extremely short miniskirts and tight shirts – it was just all over one type of girl.

Although the city of Galway still seemed to be a party town, there was one nice thing: It was zombie walk this night. I missed the original walk but there were still some zombies outside when I ate my tasty but expensive pizza in a fast food restaurant, and there I also met two drunken 18 year old teenagers, one of them spoke to me and was so extremely drunk that he wasn't able to control his body, the other one was also drunk as he said but able to communicate very articulate and behaved very adult. So I stayed with them for the next hour, seeing what young people do on a weekend. We ended up in a club were the music was to loud to talk. Not really reasonable.


Next morning in the hostel's bathroom I squeezed my forefinger with the toilet door, it hurt so bad, I was shouting and crying while putting my finger under cold water, but the other girls in the bathroom who were mainly occupied with doing her make up were just uncomfortable and trying to ignore what happened around them. I felt so lost in this situation, so alone, so much at the wrong place. When I was able to calm down a little bit one girl asked how I was and showed compassion. I thanked her for asking, but didn't thought about thanking for caring in general. It meant much to me.

PS: Fortunately the squeezing wasn't so bad, I was mostly shocked.

Bud, Jimmy and Asterix

Friday, 9th of September. Someone had told me it would be worth it to visit the Aran Islands, so Carl called the ferry people in the morning if they would go to the islands and yes, they would go to Inisheer, the smallest and closest of the three islands. So I cycled the two kilometres up to the landing place and there I had to learn I better should have booked, they were full – but there was a little chance they could take me with them if I wait and maybe some people didn't come… In the end they picked me up, and I don't think they counted all the people.

I saw my first wild living dolphin! And how big he was! And all the people shouted "Aaah…!" and "Oooh…!". He seemed to be very used to the ferry traffic and swam around the ferry all the time when we were still close to the sea – they must have trained him somehow… The crossing was interesting. I was surprised the ship didn't tilt off, so much waves such wild sea– usually people go to amusements parks to feel like this. Once again I met nice people and hat nice chit-chat. One of them called me accidentally a tourist so I made sure that there's a difference between me and a tourist, although I was doing touristic stuff at the moment. Before entering the boat I had some silly experience, when a group of real tourists came to the ferry place, driven to this place in a small so called Safari bus, and when exiting one man shouted: "Adventure!" Adventure? Excuse me? What an adventure? Maybe an interesting nice trip, but what on earth is his definition of an adventure? In this sense I can be really arrogant to other people…

Inisheer is really small. I did the one half of this island in a horse cart. It was fun to experience the coachman. When I asked him what he offers he explained he would drive me around the island and explain everything, but what he does wasn't much about history or other typical sight seeing stuff, he just named everything we passed through – here's the school, this is a lovely playground, here I used to do fishing when I was a fisherman… But he was really lovely. He was constantly talking to his horse, called Bud, what is short for Budweiser, and he sang and hummed along traditional Irish songs all the time and also when he was talking it had a melody.

The other half of the island I did by foot. All this island is about stone walls, and these are maybe the main reason why to come to this place. But it's also somehow curious… The islands' geology is mainly karst limestone. So the Aran Islands are one of the finest examples of a Glacio-Karst landscape in the world. The other interesting thing is the wreckage of the MV Plassy, which was shipwrecked off Inisheer in the 1960s, but the islanders rescued the entire crew of eleven from the stricken vessel using a breeches buoy. Nevertheless all in all to come to this island wasn't better than most other places I had seen, but it was nice.

When crossing back I was so extremely tired and exhausted. This was very weird, because all this cycling all the time don't effect me, but walking for one or two hours… Maybe it was also the weather, the air, the crossing. On our way back I dozed. But I still wanted to go on cycling this day. It was 4:30 P.M. when I was back on my bike, and the weather had become really good! Bright sunshine, although somewhat sticky. But as I once again had no host for this night I could just cycle as long as I felt like it. And it was just great cycling, refreshing and new. After the first ten kilometres I met another cyclist, who stopped me and we talked from the first moment as we always had know each other. Jimmy is doing skateboarding for a living and when he wants to relax he does long distance cycling tours. I met him on his first day of touring, it was just a pity he cycled withershins. Jimmy is such a cute guy, I thought for a moment to take him with me for kissing and touching… We talked quite a while and hugged each other for goodbye. I would love to hear from him again.

Close to Derreen the R 477 was barred to traffic, a policeman made sure that no car passes, because in this area there is the film shooting of the new Asterix movie, but if you are a cyclist they let you pass. I don't like the life action adaptations of the Asterix comic books, but crossing the scenery was just great. First I passed the area were the staff is located, lots of signs guide to the catering, the place for the extras and so on, then lots of actors in their costumes passed me (one Norman acted like a Norman to me and shouted a very wild roar while looking very angry) and then I came to the shooting place, where I had to stop and be quiet, but had also some nice talk with some Romans and another French guy. And all were extremely friendly and invited me to stay, so I did for a while.
 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Inter alia the Cliffs of Moher

Thursday, 8th of September. When I started in Limerick it was in between cloudy and clear – and it would go on like this for quite a while. I followed the route Dave had sketched for me yesterday, and after I had left Limerick the road was really lovely, such small asphaltic paths, no traffic, all the green… Once I passed a track, a tiny level crossing, but a man worked there who opened the barriers manually by moving them until they were parallel to the path and now bared the track.

Cycling wasn't so easy in the beginning, I felt tired. Last night I felt bad – for the first time since I'm in Ireland – full of self-doubt, doubt in general, lacking confidence, somehow constrained, somehow at the wrong place in this life. It took me some time to fall asleep. For the last two weeks I was just there, in present, feeling alive, full of energy, domiciled in myself with no need for other securities. But last night and still this morning I felt so homesick, so lost. I don't want to have to fulfill societies requirements. – I have no idea why I feel so bound sometimes, although I should know I'm not. But go on cycling felt good, feels good in general, it just helps to use the body, to move on, to make things change.

From time to time there was some misty rain and also not so misty rain but mostly for just some minutes. Just nice cycling. Once I saw a car lying upside down next to the street, maybe one or two metres lower, and it was weird to see this. I had to stop to make sure that it was just the car lying there and no accident with maybe wounded people. Other cars passed without noticing what could have been a sign there's no danger but also that all these people are ignorant, but I would have felt bad just ignoring, as I know it's so easy to close the eyes especially if all the others do so. Certainly whatever has happened was time ago. But I was also glad I didn't act gutless.

In Ennis I couldn't find the junction up to Miltown Malbay via R 474, so I ended up at N 85, also okay and nice, interesting landscape and only on first sight to much traffic. From Inagh I switched to the R 460, what was just great. Rough landscape, fir forests, not so hilly, although it was high – but wide! The road passes on the southernside of the Slievecallan mountain. It felt really wild, much nature, marginal houses – and somewhere in this wasteland placed next to this street there was a little church and a school and nothing else. Maybe this school was build at this place as a compromise to all the pupils, the midpoint of all the places where they come from…

While I was cycling this area actually the sun came out – it needs so less to make me happy. In Miltown Malbay, a cute little village, I followed the signs to the public library to use a free Internet access, but nobody had answered my couch request for this night. I went on cycling the N 67 close to the coast. In Lahinch I passed a golf course – once again. I didn't count how much golf courses I have seen – especially in England and Ireland, they seem to be extremely popular. The Irish ones are very open to visitors. Doing golf isn't something very exclusiveness, no sport only for the rich, but something everyone can try out just for fun – so it looks a little bit like middle class miniature golf players playing adults golf… But also this place seemed to be much more a natural steeplechase course than a professional site.

It went late but now I came closer to the Cliffs of Moher. I didn't follow the straight route along the R 478 but cycled some very local roads which offered me the non touristic side of this Moher area. I did some exhausting cycling by following the little paths which connect all the houses in this area and also had some nice talks with some locals, who haven't seen someone like me so often before. It was fun. Then I reached the cliffs or more precisely the traffic guiding system and the parking area, where all the tourists usually arrive with cars and buses. The Cliffs of Moher are definitely the most touristic place in Ireland. It was told to me one have to pay 6 € to see them, but I have no idea how this usually works. At the time I arrived there weren't much people there, so I just went on cycling as long as possible. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience closed anyway and I wasn't that interested in visiting as I try to avoid touristic stuff at all. Because of this tourism thing I also wasn't that impressed of the cliffs. Yes, it's high, yes, it's nice, yes, one should see it, but it wasn't the or even a climax of my tour. The most nice thing is to enter the "forbidden" area and look down the precipice – that's really high. What made me laugh (although it's surely not funny) were the signs where the Samaritans are asking if someone needs to talk, because it was first seeing the sign and then realizing why they are standing there – the usual tourists have other reasons to visit the Cliffs of Moher, what makes a funny contrast… At the cliffs I once again met Dean who showed his new couchsurfer around.

This day I ended up in a fantastic hostel ten kilometres behind the cliffs after cycling around 105 kilometres. The Aille River Hostel is a 300-year-old cottage lovingly renovated. And one can feel so much warmth and trust, all people there are so open hearted and open minded and interested, and Carl is the soul of it's all. If you are ever in this area, come to this hostel and feel at home!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Limerick

Tuesday, 6th of September. This whole place Tarbert seems to go south. Lots of shops are closed but don't say anything about this fact. They look just like normal shops from outside. Most traffic comes from the crossing vehicles which are only passing through. I was still looking for an internet connection – no chance in this village, although there had been an internet café some time before (even some of the locals didn't know it was closed). The friendly woman in the pharmacy gave me the advise to go to Glin, because there in the library would be a internet computer for free, so I started to cycle six kilometres in the direction of Limerick – and what nice people I found there! This library is just lovely. A small old stone built house, and inside mainly just one open room, some books and games (probably less books as we have at our home, and definitely less games…) and two nice computers. The friendly librarian was so broad-minded to my needs and so interested in my touring and blogging, it was such a nice and warm atmosphere and it was fun to talk a while. Many thanks!

Meanwhile Kate and Dave had send their address data. When the library closed at 2 P.M. I started speed cycling up to Limerick – I had an average of 24,3 km/h from the moment I started cycling this day until I reached Limerick (nearly 60 kilometres). During the cycling I wondered why I felt so very warm, and then I realized the sun had shown up again! This day was still a mixture of clouds, rain and sun, but it's so exhilarant when its clear, warm and bright. And I even had following wind from time to time.

I arrived early at Kate's and Dave's home. Kate was doing her home made felt clothes and accessory. She is a freelancer and all around the house you can see lots of different pieces in varied designs. While she went on working, Dave showed me around the town – Limerick by night. As a real cyclist I tried to turn on my light, as we left the house… (whithout having a bycicle between my legs, I bent forward to activate the dynamo —does anyone remember The third policeman by Flan O'Brian?)

Dave knows a lot about history stuff, but for me the contemporary image of this town was much more interesting. I wasn't so sure about if it would be worth it to come to this place. Some people said it's uninteresting, others (non locals) liked it. The reputation of this town isn't so good (mainly caused by some trouble in the 80's). Now I'm glad about deciding to come to Limerick, because it's not so typical (or what I would call typical from my previous experience). Its character seems to be much more used and industrial. And inside of this some very old churches and castles…

Dave and I ended up in a nice pub (their local), where to my big surprise he ordered a German wheat beer. He definitely has to come to Bamberg and taste all our local wheat beers, which are so much better then all these industrial beers from the big companies. I went on trying new brands of stout. We had some good talk about profession, contentedness, self-fulfillment and the need for sabbaticals. We found some parallels between our relationships in the fact that one can give the other one the freedom to be creative without financial bounds. My head and my heart are still mulling over what I like or want to do or to be or don't like or want to do or to be… Moments of insight and scruple take turns.

I also spend one day resting. Doing some improvements on the bike, install the new light and so on. Because of some troubles with the electricity a very nice electrician was in Kate's and Dave's house who gave me some useful material to make the grips softer. All at all just nice and relaxing. Nevertheless it was once again 4 A.M. when I ended writing and working on the computer…

How to go on?

Monday, 5th of September. I spent a nice and exhilarant evening with Ciaran. He seemed to be full of energy (which acted steering at me), open and friendly and an interesting personality although he was very tired and busy at the same time. It's a pity we didn't had more time for talking and maybe do some outdoor activities together. But we had to say goodbye the next morning, and because the ferry to Skellig Michael Monastery didn't go (they said they would start to think about crossing the sea not before Friday and this day it was Monday) I went on cycling the coast on the Ring of Kerry.

It was still cloudy and misty but no rain for the first 17 kilometres, then regularly changes between misty rain, normal rain and no rain and all possible combinations of these types. Originally I had planed to cycle the Dingle peninsula, but with all this rain and mist where one is not able to see anything in some distance I cancelled this plan.

I generally wasn't so sure about where to go to this day and especially where to stay this night. At the moment it's difficult to find hosts, it happens often that I don't get a response, and it's not so easy to plan the stages, too. Some days before I had got an answer from my first unspecific request I had sent when I was still in Margate, so I had a general couch offer in Limerick, but Kate and Dave hadn't answered if they would be okay with my concrete time schedule and I also had no contact information. So I decided to cycle up to Tarbert, where from a ferry shorten the way up to the Cliffs of Moher. When being there I could still decide where to go to next.


View Larger Map

In Killorglin I found an Aldi supermarket but had to learn that the range of items differs a lot from what I knew from Germany, but I found a great black long sleeved compression sports underwear shirt, that now I'm wearing most of the time – it's unbelievable how warm and dry this peace of clothing is keeping me. In a 2 € shop I bought a nice little torch, and I also visited a friendly bicycle shop and bought new handle grips and some battery-driven lights. Once again I cycled a hill (the Slieve Mish Mountains – I really like it when the uphill I have cycled has a name…) without really noticing before reaching the top. I crossed Tralee and Listowel, it became dark, it was still or once again raining, it was cold, but I in my functional clothing and rain protection felt warm and comfortable. The wind was okay today, but I still have some respect for suddenly appearing squalls…

When arriving in Tarbert I first looked for the ferry – I had decided to cross the Shannon if still one would go this day, but it didn't, so I looked for a Bed & Breakfast and found an interesting so called Hotel/B&B which has ended up as a scruffy hostel, where I payed 15 € for the night and stayed with three other girls in a six bed room. When the hostel warden opened the door she first had a “What can I do for you?”-smile on her face which stopped immediately when she saw me within my wet clothes – then she hurried to bring me into the house and cared about drying my rain clothes (after three days of rain drying my clothes becomes a serious problem, but up to now I managed to have them dry enough).