Published: July 12th 2009July 12th 2009
One of the best things I've even eaten
This weekend has been amazing. Yesterday Laura, Josh, Ally, and I went to the Aran Islands (specifically Dun Aonghasa) by bus and then by a very bumpy ferry to see the cliffs there. The weather was terrible, and I'm an idiot and didn't want to take up precious backpack room to pack a rain jacket OR real shoes for the weekend so I wore a zip-up sweater and flip flops. Sometimes I wonder about my intelligence honestly. It took us two hours to get there which included a kinda gross bus that I got carsick on, then a rocking ferry in the Atlantic ocean which I got seasick in. We went to one of the three restaurants on the island to get a late lunch, but by the time we all sat down and looked at the menu we all realized we were STARVING and ordered a lot of food to all share. We pretty much destroyed the mussel pasta starter we ordered, and the seafood chowder, and the Caesar salad, then sat contently while we waited for our main courses... then we destroyed the two stone fired pizza's we ordered (something that had a lot of meat and roasted tomatoes
... but hilarious
on it, and another that had chicken, spinach, and sweet chili sauce). It was by far the best meal we had all had since getting to Ireland, and some of the best food in general we'd had for a long time! It was funny looking at eat other across the table when we were all done because it seemed that we were all happier than we'd been in a long time. It's times like that that I realize how amazing food can be in adding to the overall happiness of a person. We wanted to order a dessert to share as well, but realized that we really did not have a lot of time to actually go SEE the cliffs (what we'd gone there for) in order to make it back to the ferry in time to make it home.
There had been tour vans everywhere to take you to the cliffs when we had gotten off the ferry initially, but by the time we headed outside to the rain to find a van, there were none in sight. Luckily, we shortly were accosted by an overzealous tour guide in a broken down van who told us that he'd
view as we got higher
Pictures really can't do justice to how pretty the countryside was
be able to get us there and back in time for the ferry. We hopped in nervously, but soon became entertained by the man who kept referring to Ally as "woman," and who drove frighteningly far too fast and turned around to talk to us and explain the island far more often than preferred. Needless to say it was extremely fun, but the four of us kept giving each other nervous glances about how strange he was, and how we were worried we'd be alive by the time we actually made it to the cliffs. Fifteen minutes later we were dropped off, a bit rattled by the crazy drive/tour guide, but still happy from our lunch and cheeks hurting from laughing at the tour guides antics. It took about 15 minutes in the pouring rain to get to the top of the hill where the cliffs are, passing sheep and cows the entire way. It really wasn't till the very top that we realized how worth the trip was. It was so windy that I got an idea of what it would feel like to be in a hurricane, with the rain drops stinging my face and body as they
slammed into me. It was even hard to take a breath when you were facing into the wind. Oh, but dear lord was it beautiful. Even with the rain, wind, cold, and clouds that made visibility fairly difficult, I was completely dumbfounded by the beauty of the area. You could look out and see all of the island, and then if you were gutsy you could lean over the edge (noting my ridiculous choice in dress I was probably less gusty and more just dumb), careful to not get blown away by the wind and see the giant waves crushing into the rock walls hundreds of yards below. There wasn't any kind of barricade to stop you from falling in, so it definitely gave me a huge adrenaline rush. It was originally constructed as a circular fort for religious ceremonies rather than military protection, but after hundreds of years of erosion it is much more like a semi-circle. It was insane though, because a little further from the cliff itself if you jumped up, the wind would literally make you fly a few feet forward. After many, many pictures, we ran back down to where we were to meet our
My sweater almost flew off!
tour guide to take us back, all of us still quite high from what we had just seen/experienced. Our guide could tell how excited we were and continued to entertain us on the way back, dropping us off next to the ferry to take us home. Unfortunately the quest back was a bit of a downer, being the extreme winds we'd experienced on the cliffs had in fact traveled down to the ocean and made for an even more treacherous return. I closed my eyes, sang a song to myself and fell asleep for a bit, only to wake up to the employees of the ferry passing out mass amounts of sick bags to all those in the completely full ferry who were getting seasick. I had never witnessed so many people throwing up at one time. People were dropping like flies! I was less sick, and more just nervous about the few times the boat was completely covered in sea water. It had been a good day! I didn't really want to die... even if it would have been on a high note!
When we finally got back to Galway, we all peeled off our soaking wet clothes
(it honestly felt like I had jumped into the ocean itself in all of my clothes, I don't think I've ever been so wet or cold) and hopped into the hostel showers to dry to thaw. I then spent about 30 minutes blow drying my only pair of jeans so we could go get dinner. Ally and I had spent about forty five minutes on the trip over talking about how much we wanted mexican food, so we were determined to find something resembling mexican food in town. Luckily, we had seen a cafe-type restaurant during our walk the night before that advertised tacos, burritos, and "gringo food" so we headed there. We each got a burrito, and shared an order of chips and salsa that seemed more like nachos, all prepared by a Polish women who couldn't speak much english. whatever, Ally and I were happy with our "mexican" food!
This morning everyone headed to the cliffs of Moore (north of Galway, the most famous of the cliffs of Ireland which mark the highest elevation in Europe, but I decided to head home a bit earlier than them, and save myself some money. Don't get me wrong, I
I'm glad I took the time to wander a bit by myself
wanted to go, and it was a nicer day than yesterday, but I still didn't want to run the risk of getting soaked again. Most importantly though, I decided that I would just wait till Sarah and Colin got here at the end of the Summer because after seeing how awesome the mini cliffs were, I want to share the big ones with them! So, just a heads up guys, we're going there whether you like it or not!!! :o) They all left about 930 to catch the bus to get there, so I got up, packed, left the hostel and explored the less touristy areas of the city that I had spent the majority of my time at. There was actually sun out, so I got an espresso and sat outside of a cafe to people watch and soak in the beauty of the city. I went past the Spanish Arch in the city, and read a bit about the Spanish occupancy of the city during the 1500's. Sat and watched locals fish on the river Corrib, their biggest waterway into the city, and saw someone catch some kind of fish. I then went to Galway Cathedral, one of
the prettiest cathedrals I've even seen (which was kinda surprising in my head because it's really not that old... usually newer churches aren't as pretty in my imagination I guess) and attended Sunday mass before heading back to the train where I napped most of the way home.
I can't wait for next weekend to explore somewhere else with Theresa and Cassandra when they come visit!
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