An Unexpected Adventure
03.06.2014 - 03.06.2014
June 3rd, 2014
To Ireland we go! Without a hitch we boarded our plane out of Germany to Shannon, Ireland. In Shannon we are picking up another car, and driving on the wrong side of the road. Normally I would have been apprehensive about this, but after the roads and traffic in Spain, I barely have a worry. The last few nights I had been laying in bed visually driving, shifting, and navigating from the right side of the car. I pictured driving this way all through Post Falls. Once I sat in the car, I felt my brain do a bit of a switch. I got this. My subconscious wasn't as perfectly calm as I felt. We pulled onto the road, left, left, left and the first two cars that came at me from the wrong side caused me to flinch. Only two flinches. Not bad! After that it was very odd. My brain made the rest of the switch and it almost felt normal. If you ever have to drive on the wrong side, don't sweat it! Your brain is very powerful and adapts quickly.
We made our way uneventfully down to Portmagee on the southern tip of the island, thanks to Nicole's expert navigation. It is the a tiny little fishing and tourist village with only one store, one cafe, one bar and one restaurant. It is sitting on the edge of a bay/cove that leads to the Irish Sea. In such a small town you might laugh that we had to ask for directions to our B&B, but we did. We asked the nicest lady ever in the bakery/cafe and she went above and beyond to help us! The Irish are the friendliest, most helpful people in the world. It is seriously no joke. Our hostess at the B&B, is absolutely the sweetest lady on the planet. The shop owners, the barman, and the other people in the cafe, all so nice and engaging! How do an entire people act in such a way. It really is mind boggling and heartening to be a part of. We were in dire need of a laundry day and our hostess told us a little place we could get it done. She also told us and showed us about the sites to see in the area. We only came here to visit the Monestary on the Skellig Michael islands out to sea, we didn't know there was other stuff to do. Specifically, she told us to tour around an island called Valentia. Portmagee is directly across the bay from Valentia island. If we hadn't been in a car, there was no way we could have visited it that day. So, we ran down to the laundry place, but it was closed. The lady that ran it was just getting into her car. When she saw us, she asked us cheerily what we needed. Then, she reopened her store and took our laundry to do the next day! That would rarely happen in the states. Sorry we are closed would be the normal American way.I love the Irish.
We made our way across the bridge to Valentia and up to a parking point at the head of a trail. The trail takes you up a large hill, small mountain, to some old tower and a view of the sea and the Skelligs. We began the steady climb. The views kept getting more and more amazing! The sea stretched out before us with the two Skellig Islands sitting off in the distance. We made it to the tower and found that the other side of the hill broke off into cliffs that ran the entire length of the hill. What a discovery! The weather was starting to turn and we could tell rain was coming our way. The wind was getting very strong as well. I really really wanted to hike up to the tip top of the hill and look down the cliffs, so, we did. It was blustering and blowing rain and it was the greatest little adventure ever. (When you are traveling, make sure to act on impulse. Don't talk yourself out of anything. These impulses often lead to the best memories) The rain hit us lightly off and on as we explored the hillside. We even stumbled upon a old old old ruin of some kind. It was basically the foundation, but very obviously some type of ancient dwelling. Wet and happy we made it to the car to drive around the rest of the island, then grab some dinner (delicious traditional Irish stew). A day that was supposed to only be travel and rest for the Skelligs, turned into a fun-filled adventure!