Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ireland 2013 – Day 5 – The Dingle Peninsula

We woke up real early because we had a long way to go to our next destination, and to our good fortune the kid looking after the desk of the hostel told us about taking the ferry across the bay, rather than going all around it. We made it on time for the first ferry run, at 7 am, and by 8:30 we arrived to Tralee, where we treated ourselves to a traditional Irish breakfast with one egg, a fried tomato, thick slices of ham (here called bacon), a pair of rashers (susages), blood pudding, lard pudding, and a potato cake (well, I had the traditional breakfast, while Annie gagged at the sight of the blood pudding).

From there we went through Connor pass, the highest mountain pass in Ireland (which was not that high anyway, because there are not that many mountain passes in fair Ireland), and dropped into the super charming town of Dingle. Now, Annie was still picadita de la araña with respect to the long hike of the previous day, and she was ready to spend the day shopping. But I spotted a place where they rented bicycles, and suggested that we could go for a nice bike ride. She looked at me with distrust, but I was able to assure her that in a couple of hours we could go to the end of the peninsula and back, and finally convinced her.

Everything worked as planned, and we had a fantabulous time biking along the coast, stopping to see fine pottery, visiting historic displays about the Celts and the peasants who lived the Great Famine of 1845, 1846, and 1847, and finally riding on the edge of eerie coastal cliffs that extended for ever. The day, like all of those we have enjoyed in Ireland, was absolutely glorious. Three hours later we stopped at the westernmost point in Europe, and celebrated this geographic landmark with two stiff Irish coffees and a slice of Guiness and Baileys chocolate torte.

A little wobbly after the celebration we took the way back, against a most uncomfortable head wind. Spirits were high, however, and we seemed to be in good time for Annie’s planned shopping spree. The way back was feeling a bit long, and Annie’s legs were starting to protest, when all of a sudden my front tire popped loudly and I was suddenly without wheels. “No problem”, I said to Annie, “you go ahead and ask the folks in the bike shop to pick me up in their van. Town is only 3 km away.” So there goes my honey, on an errand of mercy and at top speed, while I took my time and gently strolled back to town. The van reached me when I was coming into town, so I thanked them but kept going on foot, since I was almost there. The guy at the bike shop told me Annie had gone up to the pottery shop she wanted to visit, and five minutes later I saw her stiffly walking down the street. She was happy to see me, but at the same time was angry with herself, because once again I had suckered her into another ordeal and she was on the point of exhaustion. It seems she exerted herself to arrive as soon as possible, but the slopes and head wind were killers, and she had only arrived in town half an hour before me, ready to drop dead. We later covered the ground with the car, and the tire had popped 5 km from town (not the 3 km I had guessed), and the total trip had been 20 km one way, and 20 km back. So much for a 2-hour bike ride!

We shopped for the makings of a fish chowder, and came to our hostel in Kilarny to prepare dinner, Irish style. When I booked here the only room available was for four people, and I was going to be charged accordingly, but the manager had pity on me and gave me a large discount. The Irish are so nice!

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