Posts Tagged With: tenting

Enjoyable Echternach

Tuesday July 28I hadn’t set an alarm because I wanted to sleep in and enjoy waking up on my tent. The morning sun didn’t quite hit me as I hoped but it was close. It was pretty chilly so it was a little stretch to get up and out. I boiled up some hot water for my oatmeal to go and took my time getting ready. The tourist office didn’t open until 10 anyway. I went down to reception and went ahead and paid for two nights. I headed to the city center just past 10 and found it much easier to navigate when I wasn’t frustrated and hungry. The office lady gave me a small map of the town and paths but only pointed out one 12km loop trail. She said it was the best day hike in the region. I wandered into the cathedral next door before setting out to find the beginning of this trail. 

The beginning of this trail was also the beginning of many other paths, including a camino with the yellow shell marker. I started up the trail and immediately climbed straight up for half an hour. I stopped and looked back and there was quite a view! I could look out over the town and the surrounding hillsides because I’d climbed up so quickly. I spotted a wooden structure at the very top and hiked just a few more minutes. It was a large gazebo, complete with benches inside. I’d only been hiking for maybe 45minutes but it was around noon/lunchtime and this place just demanded a break. I pulled out a granola bar and began munching away as more people hiked up. No one seemed as interested in the gazebo as I was. I hiked on after eating a bit and wandered through amazingly beautiful forests. There were cliffs next to me and the trees were just perfectly placed all around. I rounded the corner and started descending very steeply into a gorge with high rock faces on either side. I came to an intersection where the trail went straight but it looked like there were trails up to lookouts on either side. I took the one to the left first, climbing many uneven slippery rock stairs before reaching the top. I could look down into the gorge and out across the surrounding areas. There were benches and many worn areas where it looked like people had camped. There was a mother and father chasing their two little boys around on the top. They climbed up here for lunch and the kids looked like they were having a blast. The cliffs were well fenced in all along the top. I could walk on top the cliff looking down at the trail I came in on. I clambered slowly back down the steep stairs I came up and climbed the stairs going to the right. This lookout was much smaller but had a bridge to another cliff island that was pretty cool. There was a troop of young adults that passed by, all grumbling and not very happy, each carrying large heavy packs. None of them stopped to look at either view, just bypassing it without even a picture from the center of the gorge. I was sad they didn’t stop. It really was quite fantastic up here and nothing is meant to be hiked through fast without looking around. I continued on a few minutes after they had passed, walking through some amazing rock formations, all covered in ferns and hanging vines. The rocks had been worn by the wind and rain and had pretty neat textures. It looked like a magical place with the ferns and vines combining to create an incredible aura. I stopped every so often just to stand still, in awe of my surroundings, slowly spinning around in circle. Everywhere my eyes landed was God’s perfect beauty. I passed a picnic shelter with a group of older people. They were all laughing and having a great time. I figured they’d get up and walk on but they all walked to the bus that was parked within eyesight. Well at least they were enjoying nature somewhat. I hiked on, not coming upon anyone for quite awhile. Then I could hear voices and laughter. I couldn’t see them but I could see where they would be. There was a giant rock face looming out over the trail and below it was a cave. This cave had a piece of rock all the way to the ground so you could walk under and around it. The group was sitting in the cave, their now joyful voices mingling and echoing throughout. I felt like this whole area was an incredible secret that Luxembourg kept for the special few. I came upon a sign to go to Berdorf or to continue on my trail. I’d heard that Berdorf was a cute little Swiss town with many shops and restaurants. I could go for an ice cream and it was only 2km there. I headed that way, making sure I remembered which way my correct path went. Soon I left the forest and started walking through fields of wheat and corn, with the occasional colorful poppy. I entered the town and was still able to follow the trail signs but I saw no shops or restaurants, just houses. I kept going but the houses got fewer and fewer. There’d been a turn off but I could easily see that was a highway through more fields. There was a gazebo where the young adult group was gathering. I saw a bar/pub but it only served drinks. Aha! I spotted an ice cream cone on that gate. My pace quickened and soon I was at the door, thinking about what flavors they would be. I pulled and pushed the door but it was locked. It was 2pm on a Tuesday and they were closed. Wow, I’d had such high hopes for this town and the picture of the smiley happy ice cream cone. I sighed and started walking back through the baking hot corn fields, back into the woods. I found my sign and began the way back. This wasn’t through the cliffs or gorge but at least it was beautiful forest with a gently sloping dirt path. 

I got back to town and still wanted a small something to eat so I found a bakery an ordered a cream filled glazed donut. Or what I thought was a cream filled donut. I sat down to eat and was given a fork and knife so I cut into it and took a bite. Mm yummy. I could just barely see the custard now so I cut into that and took another bite. Bleck!! What was that?! It tasted like hard boiled egg. I cut into the donut and tasted more. Yepp, that was egg filling my donut. I stared at it in wonder and disgust. It was glazed with a pretty chocolate drizzle on top. Fluffy. Round. Donut looking. But it was not a donut. I ate the outside, the sweet bread that had glaze but no egg with it. I walked away wanting more, completely unsatisfied with my little (mis)treat. I remembered seeing an ice cream shop but had trouble finding it so I went back to the tourism office to ask. They pointed me in the right direction, probably wondering how anybody could get lost in a town that had maybe 5 roads. Finally, I held in my hand an ice cream cone with hazelnut and caramel flavors. I sat on the steps in the square to polish off my cold deliciousness and just sat there watching people.

I meandered back to my campsite, this time looking in all the shops. I entered one an I thought it was just purses and magnets but at the back I spotted shelves and shelves of puzzles. It started with 100 piece puzzles and went all the way up to 5000! They were all Ravensburger brand. I picked one up and it said authentically made in Ravensburg, Germany. Oh wow, I must go research where that is! I would love to go to the home of the worlds best puzzles! I’d happened upon the Black Forest in Germany as being the home of the cuckoo clock. 

I got back to my tent, set my stuff down and began researching this puzzle city. Turns out it is directly between the Black Forest and Munich. Hmm, my mind started to race ahead of me. I’d like to go but I don’t know if I could fit it in. I’d had to sign up for a specific date to start the European Peace Walk from Vienna and then made reservations for two nights in the hostel in Vienna beginning August 2. It was the first time I’d had a set deadline for time and I was struggling with it. My moms friends friend in the Black Forest area was proving hard to get in contact with. I’d emailed my moms friend and received the contact info for the lady but wasn’t able to call, text, or email. The wifi at the campground was spotty so I tried using my data but that didn’t work. I should’ve been able to make a phone call or text by that wasn’t working either. I tried for several hours, getting more frustrated each minute. I was hoping to leave Echternach on the early bus out to Luxembourg city then down to the Black Forest. From Lux I could go either to Strasbourg, France then across to Freiburg which took pretty much all day or to a city in Germany north of Freiburg but that was way more expensive. I didn’t want to spend the whole day on a train/bus but also didn’t want to shell out big bucks to move a few hundred kilometers. And if course this all depended on if I was able to get in touch with the lady and stay with her or not. I wanted to hike a day and go to Triberg, home of the cuckoo clocks and this lady was right in the middle. I went back up to my tent and started to make dinner. I just wanted to see just a few things while I was in Germany because I only had a couple days to spend. I ate my pasta and thought hard but came up with nothing. I hunkered down in the lounge room as it got cold out and continued to plan. Nothing was coming together and my phone service I’d bought wasn’t working. I couldn’t leave the wifi with no plans if my service didn’t work. I starting shaking, partly from the cold, partly from the anxiety. I was trying not to fret, knowing that it would all come together but this was maddening. I just needed three more days then I’d be in Vienna and on my way down a long distance trail. I finally got the email out but it was past 9pm asking if I could stay there the next day so it probably wouldn’t work out. I wasn’t able to see a whole lot of timetables for trains and buses so I didn’t know how to from here to there. Eventually I went out into the cold and got into my sleeping bag just before midnight, not having a clue as to what I was doing the next day. 

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Lux Luxembourg

Monday July 27I got up early to catch the bus to Luxembourg. I had to ask reception to open the kitchen back up so I could cook some eggs. I left for the station, again walking past some unsavory shops. I was taking flexibus and had a hard time finding out where it was or where to wait for it. I finally just joined another girl standing on the street who had been dropped off there a few days before. It was really windy making us all cold. The time for the bus came and went. Many more people had gathered on the street but no one knew if this was the right spot or where our bus was. Finally, 30minutes past time, a flexibus pulls up and just passed us. It was true there probably wasn’t enough space for a bus to safely parallel park but he didn’t even wave us forward. We all ran a block chasing the bus and caught it, pretty much having to board in the middle of the street. I put my pack in the luggage area and climbed aboard. Most everyone had gone to the second level of the bus for some reason, leaving me almost alone on the first level, with two mothers and their kids. This was alright by me, as long as the kids continued to behave. I was glad I had my M&M blanket to snuggle up under.

We arrived in Luxembourg and luckily one of the ladies overheard me ask the driver where was the tourist office. The bus had dropped us off again just near the stations so I was a little lost. The lady told me to follow her into the train station where the tourist office was. I thanked her and walked into the tourist office. 

This was an adventure. I’d bought a ticket to Luxembourg not having any idea whatsoever of what to do, see or where to go. I knew I was going to Echternach later that day but I had roughly 5 hours to spend. The lady handed me a map and circled the city center and pointed out some monuments and paths around the city. It was warming up outside but was threatening to rain. I headed over the bridge to the city center, passing several nice gardens and views along the way. There were several deep valleys and cliffs within the city making for some aesthetically pleasing vistas. I wanted a bite to eat and I wanted to find phone service and a charger. I was able to find a phone store called Orange and they set me up with a new SIM card. I was expecting them to have some good international rates because Luxembourg was so small but no, it would just have to cost me more to call, text or use data outside of Lux. I was okay with that, figuring I’d use mostly wifi unless I needed the service. Many of the shops were fancy and I didn’t want to eat in them especially with my large now dripping pack. I found a store that sold pizza pretzels and got one to go. I stood outside under the umbrellas eating my snack. I wasn’t quite sure what to do in the rain as what I wanted to do was hike the path to the top of the cliffs for he views. I wandered the city center, looking in a few of the stores. A concert band started gathering in the gazebo in the plaza. I tried to watch them as they played but the store owners wouldn’t let me stand out of the rain under their umbrellas, even though there were hardly any customers even inside, let alone outside.

I left for the path to the view and as I climbed up and down, the sun came out. I hoped it was here to stay. I got to the top and looked out across the city and river below. It was a nice view but I preferred to look out over wilderness. I saw a few people on a level below me and wondered how they got there. I kept walking and there were more and more people. I saw signs saying entrance for 4 euros so I went down to take a look. There were caves and paths down inside among the cliffs. I paid the fee and the clerk let me store my large pack inside his office, saying it’d be hard to go below with it. I sure wasn’t going to argue with that and quickly dropped it on the floor. It’d be safe within his office. I entered the caves and was stuck behind a school group for a little bit. I wouldn’t have minded except that I couldn’t understand the language their teacher was talking in. I crept past and entered the main cave. I figured it be worth a few minutes exploring but I had no idea how extensive the caves actually were. At first there was one large main path with a few equally wide shoots off it to over looks and where cannons would’ve pointed out. It was darker but there were a few lights on the floor lighting the path. I had a small guide map with me but it didn’t tell me much. I just kept going down, making turns and descending steep, skinny, spiral stairs. These new paths would be one person wide an led even deeper into the cliff, eventually coming to a tiny hole where you could peer out. This was so much fun! I kept wandering deeper and deeper, having no idea where I was but knowing that I wasn’t going to be lost. Several times the stairs got pretty tight and I’m not normally claustrophobic but it got a little hairy in there. I followed one path and a family turned back after thinking it was a dead end. I saw a small space and climbed up in it. It was just my height so I kept walking. It got smaller and smaller, but I kept going, crouching down so I could continue. It wasn’t til I was almost on my hands and knees and scraping my hips and daypack on the sides that I figured I should turn back. I certainly couldn’t turn around but I just walked backwards. I have no idea where it ended up but I was glad to have crawled down it as much as I could. Finally when I felt like I was going in circles and loops and up and down the same stairs, I looked for an exit sign. I’d seen them when I’d come in but now they were sparse. I found one and reentered the bright blinding sunlight. Yay pure blue skies!! I got my large pack back and sat on the bench overlooking the valley and ate some of my Cadbury chocolate caramel bar. Mmm, what a cool random adventure I’d found in Luxembourg! 

I headed back toward the station, intent on finding a charger for my phone before leaving for Echternach. I asked the tourist office lady and she had no idea. I sputtered and finally asked for an electronics store. She could answer that question with that there was one just 5minutes away. I headed into Saturn but the security guard motioned for me to put my pack in their lockers and storage. It wasn’t even close to fitting in the little locker so I set it in front of it in front of the window, hoping he’d make sure no one took the bulkiest pack. I wandered around inside, looking for anything remotely like a charger. I asked customer service but they just pointed me to the adapters. I just need the European outlet plug for an Apple device, not any cords or adapters. Eventually I found a clerk that understood what I was trying to get and led me to the Apple plugs section. Yikes, the plug was 20 euro!! I was expecting not to pay over 10. Oh well, I didn’t really have a choice, I really needed this charger. I got it and remembered I also needed Chapstick. The pharmacy nor any quick mart type stores had it. I went into Yves Rocher makeup store and asked for lip balm, showing them my Chapstick stick. The lady pointed me to the right section but none had over SPF 5 and all had slight coloring too. But at least it was only one euro. Finally, I was ready to head towards Echternach. The ride was an hour and a half long and I got off one stop too early. There were no signs, announcements or indications which stop we were on. Luckily I’d just bought service so I could make sure it was only a 15 extra minute walk to the city center. I’d looked at campsites and had picked one out and was hoping they had a site available for me and my little tent. I got to the city center but was a little turned around so I headed for the tourist office but it had just closed. I remembered the campground was pretty close to the river and I didn’t want to use all the data I’d just bought so I made my way to the river and just followed it. I’m pretty sure there was a quicker way through town but this was easiest for now. The town looked quite quaint with many old buildings and little shops. Still not a whole lot was in English. I found the campground but reception was closed. It said to go see the night guard and pointed up the hill. I kept walking and walking but saw nothing of the sort. I came upon a hotel and went in, hoping they could point to the night reception. The guy just pointed back to the campground and said up. Well I was hiking up and up. I’d expected to have been cooking dinner by now, with my tent and bed all set up. I was getting pretty frustrated and hangry. Finally I found the night guards building but it too had closed. I stood there, pondering what to do. Just then a car drove up and a lady got out. Her English was terrible but I was able to understand that she worked there. She tried to give me directions to the backpackers tent sites but eventually just drove me and told me I could pay in the morning. 

It was a real nice set up, with campers along the front when you come in and the more primitive sites on flat grass roads up above. There was potable water and sinks every 50 or so feet. I set up my tent in between two couples and we were all fairly well spaced apart. I tried to set my tent up to catch the morning rays but the ground wasn’t quite flat the correct direction. I got my bed set up and started cooking dinner. I set up my stove on the cement steps hoping to not melt anything or catch anything on fire. I was on the top level so I could watch all the other campers. Many of the other tenters had gas stoves and portable chairs, picnic tables and other car camping equipment. My stove and tent were definitely tinier than all the rest. I just sat there, enjoying the last rays of sunlight waiting for my pasta to cool so I could eat it. The reception was next to a lounge room that had couches, books, games, tables, chairs, outlets and wifi! I went down there after dinner so I could try to plan what I was doing tomorrow. There were many day hikes in addition to the long distance Echternach loop trails. I wanted to hike the whole trail but didn’t quite have time for it. This area was called little Switzerland because it has many of the same geological features as Switzerland, gorges, caves, cliffs, and expansive mountain areas. After an hour I still hadn’t quite found any map or listing of where these day hiked began or ended so I went off to bed. It’d gotten quite chilly out once the sun went down and I’d been in the lounge room. I was pretty excited to be sleeping in my tent once again. There could be snoring from the other campers or suburban noise but mostly just the sounds of the night. 

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I see Snow

I woke up and immediately noticed the inside of my tent was a lot darker than normal. I sat up on my elbows and took a closer look. There were thousands of midges all over the walls of my tent. Luckily, they were on the outside. I stuffed my bag up and sneakily tried to unzip my tent, I grabbed my breakfast stuff and ran to the kitchen. I made my oatmeal and charged my phone. I was a little tired and my feet were rubbed raw from my wet sandals. They didn’t blister, the skin just disappeared from the tops of my toes. It was as painful as it sounds. I could take the bus from there north and skip a day. Or I could stretch the 30 or so miles I had left into 3days. I eventually chose to hike a little that day but get up early and hike 19miles the next. I didn’t end up leaving until maybe 10:30. I tried to use my head net but mosquito nets are too big for midges. They came right thru and were trapped against my face. 

Argh! I tore that thing off an just hiked quickly. It was foggy but soon cleared up, making for a nice hiking day. The path was mostly loose gravel with lots of puddles. I crossed the bridge of orchy, not knowing it’s significance and not being able to read the Gaelic info plaque. The next gate I went thru had a new sign, the symbol for the IAT, international Appalachian trail. Oh that was so neat! Someday, someday I’ll hike the whole IAT. 

All of a sudden I hiked straight up for half an hour or so. The trail had been a very gentle grade before this so I was glad for the change. I arrived at a cairn marking a viewpoint. There were no trees around and I could see for miles! I could pick out the hotel and grassy area where I’d be camping, as well as looking down upon a nice sized lake. This mountain was pretty cool. I wish my map guide had a name for it. I got cold standing at the top for so long so I hiked down, hoping beyond reason to get warm going downhill. That usually never happens. I arrived at the hotel, picked up my pack and was pleasantly surprised when I was told I could camp for free 400 meters away. Yay! 

I quickly found the campsites situated next to a river at the bottom of mountains that still had snow. Yes, snow, in mid July. I felt so lucky to be tenting in such a beautiful area, surrounded by such pristine wilderness. There were 2 tents set up and a few more would come by nightfall. I took my tent out to dry, laying it across tall grass while I cooked up some pasta. The sun kept peeking out so my tent was dry but the time I finished eating. As I picked out the perfect flat spot, aha! I found a purple tent stake and it was lightweight too. It was a little annoying to set up in such strong winds but at least it kept the bugs away. The family of 4 arrived as I was taking down my stove pot. The parents had a tent and the girls had their own. Oh they were even more like my family. I left to go get drinking water from the hotel, charge my phone and journal some. 

I wasn’t quite sure where to sit because I didn’t want to sit in the fancy eating area so I sat near the empty bar. It was neat how they had painted the route around the room. I enjoyed talking to a few people as they came in from hiking. The family came in and apparently the bar served food because they ate dinner. I wish I had known that. 

The bartenders switched out and the new guy yelled at me, “You can’t just sit there!” I wasn’t sure what to respond with so I simply said ok and started to get up. He then muttered obscenities which I could barely hear so I left quickly, visiting the bathroom before I went back to my tent. The instant I sat on the toilet I got a nosebleed for some reason. Not 60seconds had passed and he pounded on the door, “Are you in there? This restroom is for guests only!” I hadn’t known that because there were no signs. I stuffed tissue up my nose and tried to wash my hands but he was standing there in between the sink and the door. I attempted to get out, but my voice was nasely as blood was gushing out my nose. He then accused me of doing cocaine to which I strongly said no of course not! I barged past him and almost ran to my tent, wondering what that was all about. Halfway down I realized I forgot to get water so I walked back up, hoping he wouldn’t see me out the window. Luckily the faucet was outside. I walked back to my tent, scared of what could’ve happened. I’m not sure what his deal was or why he picked on me out of all the other campers sitting there. 

A few more tents had joined mine, all set up next to the river and mountains and they all just looked so neat. I got in my sleeping bag and hoped it wouldn’t be too cold as I was getting up early to hike a good ways tomorrow. 

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Sheep Creep past the Wigwams

I woke up at 5:30am, maybe someone came in and flushed a toilet but it was hard to get back to sleep. I dozed until 7:30 when I heard voices. They were in another language and I wondered if it was time for me to get up. Then English came through, I think someone’s in there… The other one doesn’t work. Oh no, I’d picked the only shower stall that worked. I heard a knock on my door, hello? I tried to speak clearly hoping I didn’t sound like I just woke up, yes I’ll be right out! I hurriedly packed my stuff up, not really caring if they knew I’d slept there, just not wanting to upset anyone. I left my stuff in the bathroom and went to get my sopping wet tent. It was mostly clear outside and the sun was coming in and out of the clouds. I put my damp clothes back on and got all my gear together, putting all my wet tent pieces in a trash bag in my pack, put my large pack where I’d found it with my new destination on the tag and got the shuttle bus to take me back to where they’d picked me up. 
I picked up the trail immediately passing into cow pastures. I was passing through large green rolling hills. It started drizzling heavily and as I passed cow patties, I could see dirty streams forming from them. Ew, that’s what I was walking in. Around lunchtime the skies cleared a little, enough for me to be amazed at what I was walking through and by. I chose to take the path to town, where my map had said there’s food and other stuff. It was a long steep path down, probably about 30mins. I just wanted to charge my phone and eat a little snack. The tea room I was hoping to go to was closed. I wandered on until I found the youth hostel, but it was closed too. Where were all the shops or bar that were listed? I asked the post office and finally found the pub but it was closed too. It opened later on a Sunday. I was going to get a snack and sit somewhere! I found a best western hotel and went in, finding it way too fancy but sitting down and ordering a hot chocolate anyway. I charged my phone and used their wifi, slowly sipping my creamy cocoa and eating my own lunch. It rained off and on so I waited for a sunny spell to head back. 

The path meandered on the side of a hill, awkwardly descending and ascending around earth bumps. The trail was hardly there at times, just slight indentations in the grass or where chunks of earth had fallen away. I passed through a few sheep creeps, which were narrow tunnels dividing pastures. I guess sheep are claustrophobic? After I crested the hill and came down, I entered a huge pasture with tons of sheep. It was an educational and new pasturing process, meant to be greener and more efficient. After that was the really old pieces of a priory. It was now fully sunny and everything around me was just so green and alive that i just pranced along. I happened upon the wigwam campsites and thinking my campsite was just a few minutes past it, took my time shopping at their little mart and buying gifts. I found a few packets of Cadbury hot chocolate so I bought a few of those. I noticed on the short order menu listed egg roll, sausage roll and bacon roll. As I checked out, I asked the guy what a bacon roll was. It’s just bacon, on a buttered roll. Wow, why are these not a thing in America? We chatted about the differences I was finding as I trekked across Europe. He asked about the wifi code on credit cards. I laughed as I told him I had to contact several different companies to get a crest card with a normal chip in it. I passed all the wigwams, wishing I could stay in one. They didn’t do sharing here or any of the other places so I’d have to rent the whole thing for myself, between 35-55euro. 

The trail crossed the road and started going uphill again. I got confused, thinking my campsite was right after that one. Ahh, again my map said something like, after a little ways. The map/guides I had found were word based, not actual maps. They’d give directions by turn west after the schoolhouse or pass the bridge and after a little ways, arrive at a sheep creep. I found a plaque that said this piece of trail was taken care of by a school group. It was super nice, with proper drainage techniques, and steps in place to keep the dirt where it needed to stay. It was beautiful meandering through perfect trees lined by grass and ferns. I found a plaque detailing the story of the lost sword. Opposite this plaque was a sword in the stone! It was just a picture carved into the flat stone but it was still cool. 

I crossed an old iron smelting spot which still had nothing growing on it. I wasn’t sure what cleanup process it had gone through and so wasn’t sure how safe it was for me to walk across. I did anyway and soon came to a few signs announcing my campsite was near. I tried to go to reception but there was a sign saying closed, be back soon. I waited for 30 whole minutes, anxious to get my tent set up before the next rain. Two girls with heavy packs also approached and I’d told them how long I’d been waiting. They signed and flopped onto the nearest bench.

 Finally I called the number, hoping to remind someone they had a place to run. I could hear it ringing inside and a lady answered it. I simply said, I’ve been waiting outside for 30minutes. She said, oh! I forgot to take the sign off or unlock the door. I tried not to be annoyed as I paid and got my pack. I set up my tent as it sprinkled and just took the rest of my stuff to the inside kitchen area. They had a little more than the last place, with a water boiler and 2 burners. I used the 60second water boiler to boil water for my noodles. I sat on the floor and ate my noodles as there was no table and chairs. I wanted to check out the hostel part but it was locked with a different door code. It was warm and bug free inside so I just stayed there, journaling til sun down. A family of 4came in, parents and 2 daughters maybe 2 years apart. They cooked dinner and then made tea and played cards. They spoke French but really reminded me of my family. My parents would take my sister and me to the mountains to backpack and we loved it! 

As I would step outside to put stuff in my tent or go around to the bathroom the midges would get me. They were about the size of fleas but flew and attacked your face, biting any skin they could find. I brushed my teeth, went to the bathroom, and flew into my tent as fast as I could. I had to zip up my rainfly before zipping up the tent and some got in with me. I tried to kill them but couldn’t so I just layed down, hoping they wouldnt find my face or neck in the night. 

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First International Hitchhike

My clothes had dried somewhat but were still wet when I shoved them into my pack. Hopefully I’d have time to dry them later. I walked out of the hostel into a bright sunny blue sky day, filled with people strolling on the beach playing with their dogs. It looked like a completely different place than yesterday, no more frothy wave or angry skies. I was tempted to sit on the beach and relax but it was still too chilly to do that. As it were Sunday there were no buses running. The hostel owner and the lady at the post office who I’d asked for directions from said I should hitchhike to Dingle. It was 10km south ad mostly people were on that road just to go to Dingle. I started up it and it wasn’t 15minutes before a mom and daughter picked me up. They were headed to Dingle to shop then to drive the coastal scenic route. I’d called Rainbow hostel ad made a reservation for a bed or to tent. They said they were a 15minute walk from Dingle center but it took me 30. I set my large pack down in a tiny cupboard under the stairs. I was hoping it wouldn’t rain that evening so I could tent to save 7euro. You still get all the amenities, lounge, kitchen use, toilets, showed, except a bed and I was totally okay with that. Sometimes my sleeping bag and tent is way more comfy than any bed. 

I took off for Dinle center again, hoping to find affordable fresh fish n chips. I also wanted to find a nice sunny spot to write and soak up the warm rays. I wandered around, curiously looking in all the gift shops and comparing prices. I settled on a small shop that had fish n chips for 12.50euro. They only had room for maybe 12 to sit so I felt bad taking a 4person table. The fish was cod and it came with large house cut fries (chips) and peas. The fillet was about 14in long and extended over both ends of the oval plate. I tried not to eat all of my delicious fries while I waited for my fish to cool off. The fish was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! It was a meal well worth the price. 

I wandered around Dingle to find an art shop with a bakery on top. I was still too full to eat anything else, even chocolate, but I took advantage of their picnic tables in the sun. I wrote until the sun moved and it was chilly in the shade. I moved to a picnic table outside a music shop where a border collie sat and watched me for about 30 minutes. I’d seen him wandering and he wasn’t into being petted. As I left to go back to the Rainbow hostel, he followed me with his eyes. I bet he was waiting for his human to come home from work but he sure did make me miss my dog. I set up my tent in the front yard of the hostel, next to a few other tents. There was a guy tenting there or a month because he was working in town in the boats. I cooked pasta while making plans for the next few days. It would be a long day of traveling and switching buses to get to Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher. I found out that my best friends friend would be staying at the Doolin hostel, same place I’d just made a reservation. Oh, this was exciting, to be running into friendly Americans! I’d only just met Ashley for 5minutes but to be in the same place, same time with her two girlfriends she was traveling with was definitely organized by God. There were a group of Germans in the hostel who seemed to have just met playing a card game. I tried to join in but either they weren’t interested in being friendly or just didn’t want to explain the game in English. I hoped it was the latter as I watched another girl check into the hostel and, upon learning she spoke German, they invited her to play. I went out to my tent to get ready for bed trying so hard not to feel left out or out of place. It was maybe upper 50s/lower 60s out so it was the perfect temperature for sleeping outside.  

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