Why should it be easy, when it can be tough - North for the winter! Here are the part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 & part 7. Now winter is long over and we still keep wandering around the Windy islands. Let's see where part 8, will lead us... 😎😆
You can also fallow the trip in Polarsteps. Not to overload the post with pictures, most of the photos you can find at the end of it divided into galleries.
13 August 2023 – Limerick, Ireland
It wasn’t easy leaving Jerry… There are only a few people that I’ve connected with in that way and that connection lasts a lifetime. Even if I never speak to them again, they are there deep down, they have become a part of me.
And now Jerry is a part of me as well.
Roberto had grown extreme as I loaded up the camping gear that had been resting in Jerry’s basement for several months. Normally this is not a problem, however I now had clothes for two seasons + ones that are for work.
I had, for example, two pants and two t-shirts that were almost rubbish, but were coming into use for work – I wouldn’t risk getting bleach on the clothes I travel with. So they’d be in the luggage for a while yet, and all that along with the tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, etc.
I weighed it – 29 kg… Let’s not forget Carla as well… 🙈🙊🙉
I arrived at Melinda’s and the fluffy snow-white cat welcomed me with curiosity. After a brief chat we went out for a walk around, as she was going to be busy the next day, so at least I’d know where to go.
Well, it doesn’t exactly work like that for me – if I’ve seen it before, unless I’m seriously impressed by it, I’m not going back.
So the next morning, after a very flavorful coffee (Melinda had some special selection that I mixed with my normal coffee from the supermarket), I headed in a different direction and after a bit of a shower went back to make something to eat (I wouldn’t call it real cooking) and part with my year-old hair that was super annoying me lately.
Yes, Melinda cut it off! 60 € for hairdresser – damn, no!
15 August 2023 – Dingle, Ireland
Checking the transport options from Limerick to Dingle, it turned out I had to change 2 buses, travel 5 hours and pay +-25 euros. 🙈 I checked the weather forecast – sun, 18 degrees and here and there a cloud.
Admittedly I’m not in good condition for hitchhiking, but one day won’t do me any harm. Let’s go hitchhiking!
By 8:30am Melinda dropped me off at the edge of town and we parted ways wishing to see each other again. The place was about 2.5 km away, only with the two backpacks for me multiplied by 10…
My first hitchhiking trip in Ireland. I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t want to be late for the appointment with my future boss, but those 25 euros would have done me good for something else! Well, it is what it is. I was going to wait and come what may.
I didn’t have to wait much anyway. About 5 minutes after Melinda hid around the bend, a jeep pulled up next to me and a man in a military uniform got out to make room for Roberto.
We drove about 100 kilometers engrossed in interesting conversations and stories. In the end he even swerved a little out of his way to leave me at the best place to continue hitchhiking. “As a local, I know where commuters to Dingle would pass by, I’ll take you there.”
At parting I surreptitiously left a “Thank you” sticker on the seat, and he not at all surreptitiously handed me a mini badge of the Irish flag. Roberto now has a new jewel! 😁
The place was perfect indeed – under trees to protect me from a rain (But yes, of course it rained!!), a high surface (like a fence) where I left Roberto and a good stream of cars. This time I waited a full 10 minutes before continuing my journey. Managed even to have my oatcakes for breakfast! 🤣
No, I’m not mentioning names of the guys, just because I didn’t remember them… 🙈
So instead of taking two buses and arriving at 3pm, I arrived in Dingle with two cars at 11 before noon… Since that wasn’t the plan, Aedan wasn’t prepared to pick me up right away, so I sat at the bus stop with a boat for a roof (which I forgot to take a picture of) for about an hour until his mom came to pick me up.
A quick shopping and off to my new home for the next 3 weeks. At the checkout Isabelle told me that she would pay for the groceries as a welcome treat – a nice kind gesture!
We drove and chatted and I enjoyed the scenery that was running by the window. I was fascinated by all this beauty! And when we arrived and I saw the place where I would live and work, I completely lost my grammar…
I finally met my future boss. Aedan turned out to be a very nice and down-to-earth guy, calm, laid back with a sense of humor and understanding of life (I forgot to ask him if he had heard of mermaids, but somehow I’m convinced that he won’t rush off to America to look for them like one of my former employers…).
The work didn’t seem too much nor too complicated, so without any special instructions or requirements, I took the baton the next morning. In the meantime, I enjoyed the luxury of living alone in an entire apartment with a breathtaking view in a peaceful place with food provided.
"When you lose you don't know what you gain…"
15 August 2023 – Glean Fahan, Ireland
Aedan, my boss, turned out to be a really lovely guy. As was his whole family. Warm and down to earth people!
His wife Julie, carrying the little Cillian in her arms all day was complaining of back and shoulder pain and asked if there was anything I could do. The lady is thin and fine, I was sure she would want to shoot me in public the next day.
However, she appeared grinning ear to ear and asking me when I could give her another massage! My jaw dropped off! I said: you certainly don’t want me to touch you at all right now and she answered – oh no, it’s ok, I’m fine.
And it totally knocked me down… 🤣
As I’m only here for 3 weeks and I’m actually replacing the couple who have taken on the job for the whole season, it would be difficult to get a replacement for me, so I can have days off. Which for 3 weeks was no problem at all. The work was neither stressful nor hard and I could easily get 5-6 hours a day without a day off for that amount of time.
Basically starting at 10am, except I’m up early bird and 8-8:30 I take the baton. As I get the laundry from the day before sorted out, people start to come out and leave one by one. That way I don’t waste my mornings and have the whole afternoon to enjoy the view and do my own things.
The only downside was that there is no public transportation and I can’t go anywhere. Actually I can, but I’m too tired to walk for miles after work. That’s the only thing I miss about my day off…
One day, after chatting with some of the guests, I left them to get ready and went up to the second floor, starting with the 2 rooms already vacated there. I was alone on the floor and was slightly surprised when I heard approaching footsteps.
A smiling lady from Colorado (I hope I’m not mistaken about the state) appeared in the doorway – Rakel! No, it’s not a mistake, it’s not Rachel, it’s Rakel! She almost made me cry shyly handing me 20 euro note, “to help me on my adventure”. Such an incredibly kind gesture… 🙏🏻💖🙏🏻
26 August 2023 – Dunurlin, Ireland
One of the many pluses of this place was that I could invite guests. With Aedan’s permission, of course. Except my guests had to have a car to get here.
There were two people I really wanted to invite, unfortunately one didn’t have a vehicle, but the other immediately took the idea and within a week we were driving around together.
Well, she only managed to get away from Dublin for 2 days, but it’s still better than nothing. Although I don’t know – 5 hours driving one way for a couple of days/nights… 🙈🙉🙊
So together with Miska I finally managed to explore the surroundings and fell in love with this place even more…
PS: Oh, and those chocolates are AMAZING, although expensive! I asked Aedan to get me some, as I can’t go to the village and he did. And when I did try to pay, he just said: What for?! That’s a gift!
05 September 2023 – Castletownbere, Ireland
Second attempt to hitchhike in Ireland – successful!
After work on the last day of my engagement at Aedan’s, he loaded me into the modern Tesla (look what kind of things are happening to me! 🤣) and drove me to spend the night at his home, which was an hour and a half away, and about halfway to my next destination.
It was a kind and unexpected gesture, though I wasn’t that surprised – his whole family are such a wonderful people. And little Cillian “baked me breakfast” in the baby oven at the morning and we’re now friends forever!
This morning Aedan let me hitchhike, even though we were worried about the weather. He drove me to a petrol station at the end of town so I’d have a roof if it start to rain (as unlikely as that sounds for Ireland…) and instructed me where and how to get a lift if something happens and I ever needed to get back into town.
We promised to keep in touch and I would eventually return to his place. I’m sorely tempted… We’ll see…
To my surprise, the road I’d chosen wasn’t busy at all and I started to get worried when Sachindra from Sri Lanka pulled off and it turned out he was covering almost 2/3 of my route. I forgot about the selfie from so much talking…🤷🏻♀️
The Irish couple from the photo took the baton next and delivered me straight to the needed address.
My new boss has some health problems (which I was aware of) and was absent, so I was a bit up in the air for the first two days.
Coincidentally, I found myself completely alone in the whole house and had to explain to some of the guests that I knew less than them about the facility, having never even met my boss. We laughed a lot, but dealt with the situation with a friendly effort.
Two days later, my boss showed up and he fit perfectly with the image in my mind I had built up of him. He brought us for a quick stroll around the town so we know where are we situated. Took us even to an old sacred place – Derreenataggart Stone Circle. And together with his partner stayed for about a week until things got on track. Or so we thought…
My German roommate showed up, and we were going to share a room and a job. Or so we thought…
The girl arrived with very different expectations and was genuinely shocked when I explained to her that housekeeping is just a more polite name for a cleaner. Her attitude was to be a hostess – to chat with the guests and send them to their rooms (the boss does the reservations, the cleaners do the cleaning).
We had friction on these issues, but with good communication we were able to smooth out the problems 90%. We actually became friends during the first week. Even went for coffee (hot chocolate actually) and a walk. It was her idea and we had a really good time.
Well, the girl tried, no one can deny her! She even almost learned, but barely made it through the second week – something similar to my situation on Inishmore… And she slipped out one morning without saying a word to anyone…
12 September 2023 – Dinish Island, Cork, Ireland
Unlike in Dingle, my arrangement here was with 2 days off and weekly, instead of hourly, pay. The first two free days I didn’t feel much as the tension could have been cut with a knife – Hendrikje, Dennis (the boss), unscripted stuff (as a new system of work was being introduced and things were happening on the fly).
Luckily for me, at least one day was nice and sunny and I immediately went out for an ice cream walk around the city and harbour.
One of the evenings we had a trio of guests arriving late and we had to wait for them (one of the things Dennis was still working out how to work it out). They showed up at 7+ in the evening.
Three colorful ladies of enviable age and with sharp tongues. It was laughter and wine and laughter and… finally by 10pm we went to the rooms as in the morning they had to travel and I had to work (Hendrikje had vanished in the very beginning – she’s a normal being, we the crazy ones are different story).
The next morning, of course, we found ourselves again at breakfast, and good that it wasn’t too busy, so my colleague gave me a hand while I was engaged with the whole fun again.
We exchanged phone numbers and addresses, I noted down three California invitations and we parted again with laughter and hugs.
As a parting gift the ladies gave me a bottle with a message and a pair of socks. This second one surprised me a little, because new things are usually given as gifts. Not that I minded, not at all! I was really thankful! Was actually planning on going to the charity shop next day off to get a t-shirt and a pair of socks!
Anyway, I was a bit surprised, but my surprise evaporated as I unfolded the socks – the three lovely souls had used them as an excuse to hide a few bills in them…
Can’t say enough Thank you for people like those – genuine, open and supportive! Thank you crazy ladies! Hope to see you again! 🙏🏻💖🙏🏻
25 September 2023 – Dunboy Castle, Cork, Ireland
After Hendrikje left, I expected a lot of tension and busy work. Actually it turned out to be the opposite, which surprised me a lot and made me think again about the issue of people’s energy and its impact on the people and events around them. Especially when there is a collision of two completely oposite energies – then everything around is badly affected.
So I was actually doing very well. There was one incident, but it would have been the same even if it had been five of us – a false fire alarm in the middle of the night (while the boss is a 2 hour drive away and I have no idea where or what the house system is), then to top it off, drunk guests at 12:30 at night who kept me up until 3am. Because of the alarm incident I wanted to be able to hear in case it happened again, but by 3am I already gave up and put my earplugs in.
I barely made it through the next day and lucky for me I had the two days off after that. Dennis had come to give me a hand (and to investigate the alarm incident) and on his advice I added some Jameson to the last cup of tea (because they were at least a dozen cups during the day – for survival and to combat the headache after that night).
Sooooo… after 10 hours of soaking sleep, I was fresh as a radish, it was a great day and I headed to the castle. Well, there was no castle (a pile of rocks and a PVC knight figure), but the walk and the views were worth it.
The wild blackberries – too! 😜