Just got back from the Galway trip.
We left Friday at 10:30ish... meaning that the last people arrived around 11... (punctuality is not very popular amongst the international students)
We went to the west with three buses... we stopped on the way to see a nice village (I of course have no idea, what it was called but it was really nice, with a big park with a nice church ruin... and an old castle that overlooked not only a great forest and park, but also a great lake on the other side (I might be able to find out what the town was called, because they told us that Pierce Brosnan married in that castle... hold on... Ashfor Castle!)
Well... after that we drove on to Galway... a small city at the coast.
The hostels were nice, 4 people in one room...
That evening the guys had planned a "pub crawl"... so we visited four different pubs that night. They probably picked some, that could hold many people. The first, "the King's head" was really nice, slightly medieval looking, but of course awfully crowded (we alone were 150 people and there were other guests as well) and the noise-level was incredible! the second was nice too, and the third had a live band (but no irish music, sadly)... the 4th had one as well, but that was a rather small pub and so full, that one could hardly turn on the spot... so I went home with a few others (I was really surprised, that I was the last from my room to arrive... the other were already in bed.)
The next day we had to get up at 8, because we had to catch the Ferrie to Aran Island. We found out, that there had been a misunderstanding with the hostel and there was no breakfast. I went to a nearby café with Sabine and bought something to eat...
the bus driver got really annoyed when, again, some girls were really late...
I had of course remembered to pack my camera... but what had totally slipped my mind was, that I had not yet put the SD-card back in after my last (unsuccsessful) attempts to upload pictures to this blog.
I was really lucky. One of the guys had a spare that he lend me (I will meet him tomorrow to get the pictures on my Laptop... have to remember to take Sascha with me tomorrow... and look for some space on my hard disk... I get "there is no space left"-messages all the time!
The way from Galway to the ferrie was really nice... it was exactly the kind of landscape that one associates with Ireland: Hills covered with tufts of grass and rocks... and sheep between them, seperated by the omnipresent stone-walls.
I really enjoyed the boat trip... I hadn't seen the sea for a long time now... and the day was really sunny, so it was nice to stand on the deck and enjoy the wind and waves. I found out, that my rainjacket fits under my new coat, so it was not too cold.
Aran Island looked like just some gray hill from the sea...
next to the harbour was a bike-rental shop where we could get bikes for the day.... I took off on my own, following the street that were going along the coast line for a while... than I just randomly went up one street (it got pretty steep at one point) until I found a street sign that pointed out the way to some fort.
I followed it, not too long on bike, since the street became a pebble stone covered way going up towards the empty hill of which moste of the Island consisted.
after some time the steet ended infront of a stonewall.
I looked around for a while, just in case I had missed some other path... but I left my bike at that wall. that was when I first noticed how unbelievably silent it was. there was hardly any noise! only the distand sound of a shovel hitting the soil (a farmer was harvesting potatoes) and two birds singing.
It was hard to imagine, that there were 250 other students on that Island (there was a second group of international student... also from Dublin, but some smaller university)...
I walked back and went around the Island a bit. there were some parts with more life, like the Gealic-football/Rugby pitch, where a game was going on. but you hardly met any people.
I went back and then found the real way up to the ruins of a fort and a lighthouse.
On the way I saw a robin... I havent't seen one in years!! and there was a donkey standing around... really cute... but by watching it you can imagine why Eeyore (of Winnie the Pooh) is portrayed the way he is. Donkeys somehow look depressed...
The way up there was awfully steep but luckily shorther than it looked from below. When I was up there, I ate the toast I brought... (it was like gummy... I actually meant to eat that on the previous day... but there was nutella on it... that makes everything better!
) For Lunch I just sat on a large stone infront of the lighthouse, overlooking the sea... and it was even quieter than before! not a single sound was to be heard! It was a great sort of silence, because the sun shone brightly (not a cloud in the sky!), the air was fresh, the stone warm and the landscape beautiful...
I walked around the ruins a bit... then I met some other girls from our group and they told me, that there were some cliffs at the end of the Island... I went with them for a while... but it was so great driving down that road, speeding along without even hitting the pedals more than once a minute... that I thought about having to go back!
I did not go to the cliffs but turned around and made my way back (up the hills a lot , of course!)... I think this was a good decision. looking at the pictures, it might have been great to see teh cliffs, but I would have panicked on the way back, becouse there was only one ferrie going back and I needed to buy some water before I had to return the bike... I was 15 minutes early at the harbour, but I prefered that to having to race up all those hills, dreading to be left behind...
In the evening I went with Sabine and Vanessa out for dinner.
I ordered Lasagne... and I got a not too big piece of lasange and a huge heap of "chips" (french fries!) I havn't really been out for lunch in a restaurant yet, so I did not know, that they serve chips with almost everything!
After that we walked around the town for a while... it was a really nice evening... still no cloud in the sky, which was black with just a few stars and the moon... we went to the harbour, where they had a piece of the old city wall left, and along the pedestrian zone and the street with all the pubs. Then we sat on a bench on the big square and watched the people walking by.
We didn't went to the club with the others ( I wouldn't have anyway because it would have disturbed the really relaxed feeling that lingered after the day on this amazingly quiet island!)
Today we left an hour later. on the way home we had five stops... the first and the last were not that spectacular (both small castles that we could only look at frome outside... and, in one case, far away (but in that case the small port and the very colourful houses there were nice) and the third being a pub where we had lunch (I got tired of standing in line for the hot food and just bought a tuna & cheese roll, which was very tasty and filling)
The other two stops were at cliffs and were really great.
I don't know, what the name of the first spot was...
But it was awesome. there were no balustrades whatsoever, although it was pretty high... and the stones were really strangely washed out on top of the cliffs... it was very holey and uneven... but you coud try and walk right to the edge of the cliffs... if you dared... very impressive!! and it looked just great!
After lunch we went to the Cliffs of Moher... It was even higher above the sea. They are nominated for the "New Seven Wonders" and (because: who cares about that if that hasn't even been decided yet): this is the cliff they filmed the stormy scene in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at!! (I have a picture of me with the cave in the background!
But there was some stonewall around the cliffs, so you could not get too close to the rim...
but there was a weak half-trempled-down fence one could easily climb throug and a very small path at the end of the wall. Despite the sign that said "incredibly dangerous!!" (or something like that) there were many peaople walking along that path... so I followed them. that was awesome... luckily the wind came from the sea, pushing you towards the meadow (and the barbwire that was supposed to keep the cows from falling into the ocean) on the safe side of the path... because if you would have tripped, the only possibility to survive would have been to grasp one of the bundles of grass that were growing on the small slope that was between the path and the sea deep down... and it had been raining before, so the grass would have been slippery.
But the view was great... and not disturbed by the "viewpoint-for-tourists"-feeling that was greated by the paved path along the walls...
well... that's about it.
It was a great weekend!! I really enjoyed it and I am really looking forward to the trip to Belfast in November!
Please ignore all the mistakes in this entry... I just wanted to write it down, before I forget half of it... but I'm too tired to check it for spelling and grammar...
and also: I get spam-messages with advertisement-links all the time... I do erase tham as soon as I notice them... but if you see them before me, please DON'T klick on any of the links, I don't know if they are safe.