My Dearest Summer
Why hast thou abandoned us? What have we done that makes you shun us so? What terrible crime have we committed that you cannot bear to tarry a while in our company? All these long, wet days we have waited patiently, desperately, barbecues cleaned and ready, sun-loungers unfolded, for a sign - any sign - that you will soon return. Alas, the grey days stretch before us with nary a hope of bright weather ahead. And yet, we still believe, still hope against hope, that one day you will come back and light up our lives once again. We wait patiently, faithfully.
The Plain People of Ireland and two Belgian tourists ...
Sis picks me up and we drive to the station of Wetteren where we catch the train
to Brussels-South. The TGV takes us to Paris, to Charles De Gaulle Airport.
We have no problems finding the right coach and the right places (which isn't
the case for everyone on board) but getting our heavy bags in the luggage
compartments above our heads is far from easy. Fortunately, when we arrive in
Paris, a nice young man helps us with our luggage. Chivalry still exists... We fly
to Cork with Aer Lingus and there Miro from Eigenwijze Reizen awaits us. He
takes us to Inchigeelagh to Creedon's Hotel where we arrive around 5pm local time.
time to get up! We didn't hear a single sound of last night's family party and
slept like a log. We both choose for the full Irish breakfast and get scrambled
egg, sausages, bacon and cherry tomatoes. Also cornflakes, toast, fruit juice,
yoghurt and ... tea of course! A good base to start cycling.
we cycle south to Dunmanway. For a tiny little moment we see some blue in the sky,
but it doesn't last long before the first raindrops fall. In Dunmanway we find a
nice spot to have a tea break and just as we are about to continue our way, it
starts pouring! It doesn't take us long to find some shelter under a lean-to of
a supermarket, but by that time we are soaking wet! Fortunately the shower
doesn't last long. Sis takes some pictures of a church, a churchyard and Sam
Maguire's grave. We
cycle to the centre of Dunmanway, take some more pictures and return to the
picnic place to have lunch and dry our clothes.
trip yesterday, short one today: Gougane
Barra, place of
pilgrimage and Forrest Park. After a few miles we decide to wear our rain
trousers and ... won't take them off for the rest of the day!
handlebars need a tweek
Dinner time: salmon salade, roasted lamb with veggies and potatoes in their jackets, meringue with straws, cheese and grapes.
8 o'clock! Yes! The sun is out!! Our joy is of short duration though ... By the time we're ready to leave for Macroom it's raining! So, off we go, wet or shine, to Macroom. It's Tuesday, market day. We expect a market like ours, but when we get there, all we see are some stalls with veggies, meat, flowers, cheese and nicknacks. There is however a lot of traffic: cars, buses, trucks ... a neverending stream. Neverending ... like the rain! Although we have some sunny spells. We ride back to Inchigeelagh and just as we get there all hell breaks loose! A good thing we're inside! We decide to stay in for the rest of the day and treat ourselves to an Irish Coffee!
my goodness! Everything's grey! It's cold, it's raining and there's a lot of
wind! Doesn't look very promising... We head northwards and start with a sound
climb. And then something happens. We are
riding along this meadow, my sis as usual a few yards in front of me. All of a
sudden a few cows start running like mad towards us and then next to us. It has
rained a lot and there is a lot of mud and as I ride next to the cows I say to
one of them: “Watch out, or you’ll break your legs!” I don’t feel at
ease, cos the way those cows are running, it looks like a real stampede and as I
reach the 1st one, I see its head going under the wire. That’s all
there is, one wire to separate the meadow from the path next to it. The path I
am riding on!! I realise the rest of the cow is about to come as well and I have
to get ahead of it or it will just throw me off my bike and crush me! You
can’t believe the boost of adrenaline I suddenly get!! I manage to pass the
cow, just as it gets on the path, missing me and my bike by only an inch! I look
back and see it is still running after me! The bad thing is that the path now
goes uphill! I had seen the hill from a distance and had already decided to get
off my bike and climb it on foot, but with that raging cow behind me, I get a
second boost of adrenaline and climb that hill like I never climbed a hill
before! I never knew my legs could go that quickly!! The moment the cow goes
under that wire I scream like hell and my sis gets off her bike and turns round.
All she sees is a cow running after me and she wants to take a picture! But
then she sees another cow follows and she decides not to wait either!! We laugh
a lot about it afterwards, but the moment I saw the cow storming under that
wire, I really thought I was done for!!! I realise Wednesday, 13th August 2008
isn't the invisible date on my forehead!
Dinner: mackerel salade, salmon with chips, potatoes, green peas an cauliflower, fresh fruitsalad.
The sun is out! What a pleasant surprise!
Dinner: sirloin steak with chips, mushrooms, union, salad, peppers and cucumber, merinque with straws.
9am: time for brekkie. But when we enter the breakfast room, we notice there's no one in the kitchen and the tables of the after mass tea haven't been cleared. A little later our Dutch friends appear. They are leaving today and Miro will come to pick them up at 10am. Then one of the girls arrive, asking: "Joe isn't here?" She apologises and says: "I wasn't on breakfast duty today" and starts preparing our brekkies. After breakfast we say goodbye and leave with bag and luggage for Bantry where we'll stay for 2 nights at the Ada Na Greine B&B. We have a bit of trouble finding it, but when we finally get there we are welcomed by the landlord who tells us we can put our bikes in the shed. We decide to walk to Bantry and Bantry House. Bantry House and Gardens are beautiful. We head back for Bantry for dinner and have cod with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. Back at the B&B, we see we have walked almost 7 miles. Good on us!
It rained all night and in
the morning the skies are grey, very grey. But ... at least it's dry! Mmmm, it
lasts about 7 miles. Then it starts pouring with rain. We had hoped to have sun
today, cos we are visiting the gardens of Garinish
Island, but it looks like
it's going to be like this all day. The grey clouds hide the hills and the
beautiful bay from view! But!! As we are descending to Glengariff the sun comes
through and by the time we ask info at the Tourist Office the grey clouds have
disappeared! We can leave our helmets and bags at the Ferry Office and
when our ferry leaves it seems we're the only passengers. Ha! Isn't that great!
Our very own ferry!! The captain tells us to have the girls at the tearoom call
them when we are ready to return. We sail between two rocks where a few seals
are basking themselves in the sun. The island is gorgeous! On the way back we
have a great view of the hills and the bay. The weather stays sunny for the rest
of the day.
cycling back to Inchigeelagh. The sun is out and our landlady assures us it'll
be like this for the rest of the day. But as we leave Bantry Bay behind us, we
see nothing but dark clouds and five minutes later the rain has caught us and
will stay with us till we're back in Inchigeelagh!
breakfast this morning. Miro picks us up at 8.30. We get a hug from Joe and off
we go, back to Belgium. At Cork Airport I have to leave my bike repairkit
behind. I left it in my hand-luggage where it had been the whole time. Was also
there when we left from the airport in Paris ... Our plane is delayed, but we
have plenty of time. We buy some last presents and say goodbye to Ireland.