Published: July 5th 2012July 5th 2012
(PS from last night: after all that, there was a bus after all that doubt... so we made it to the bus station no problem. Yay. And the hostel agreed to hold onto our bags while we did the Causeway. Double yay!)
This morning we headed off to the northern coast of Northern Ireland! It was beyond pouring rain in Belfast so we were a little nervous about hiking all day... but thankfully the further we got out of the city, the nicer it got!
I tried napping on the bus but was unsuccessful... I watched all the small towns whizz by instead. I actually saw a lot of border collies at work in the fields, but all with cattle instead of sheep. I just kept thinking of the movie Babe. Aw.
We managed to make our connection to the Causeway Rambler since it was running late – our bus driver was crazy nuts, but in a good way. She did play by play of our dive – pointing out the main sights and telling us about the golf course/Irish Open. Of course, we could only pay attention to so much that she was saying because everything would go by so fast because of her speed. Oh my, we were certainly flying over those narrow hills..!!
In Bushmills, a bunch of people got on with dogs – they were all adorable. There was a Rottie and he kept trying to climb into his owner’s lap, and a puppy Shar-pei that was all wrinkles and nothing else. Our driver wouldn’t let dogs on until she pet them haha.
We then got the story about how the bus is no longer able to turn around in Bushmills Distillery because the American tour busses have taken over. No surprise there... so we drove out to some camp place to turn around, giving her ample more time to talk about how she hates driving near tractors because they hog the road, how we need to “breath-in” every time we come across a truck (narrow roads, one of us have to pull to the side) and such.
The locals on the bus were fun – they started teasing “are we there yet?” and started a game of “counting horses” or something like that... yelling out where’s the horse and stuff. Oh, and I Spy. They driver then randomly freaked about a bunch of pylons in the middle of the road haha.
When we got to the Causeway, we found our hostel no problem (like, 2min walk from the bus stop) only to find a note in the door saying: “Gone for a hike. Call if you need something.” ... awesome. Just awesome. We (thankfully!) didn’t have our big bags, but still had our shoulder bags... so we pondered for a bit and decided to walk up to the Causeway for lunch as we figured out a plan of attack.
(Fun fact: there are cows EVERYWHERE here... they literally surround our hostel and at night they parade them back to the barn or wherever they go... so there’s like a procession of cows going up a giant hill. It’s epic.)
(Another fun fact: no sidewalks on the super narrow highway street things. Good thing Em has a bright pink sweater and I have a neon checkered bag haha.)
Our lunch was actually really, really good! We both got sandwhiches and they came with a salad – but it was all the real deal. Best egg n’ spring onion salad sandwhich I can remember having. After that we ran back down to the hostel... still hiking... so we decided to just suck it up and go to the Causeway with our bags. Thankfully there were lockers we didn’t know about, so at least we got to drop our stuff off there.
The Causeway is really beautiful – and I thought it was really neat too because of the legend that goes with it. (Finn McCool the giant was fighting a Scottish giant and they threw a bunch of earth and rocks and stuff creating what you now see today. Ok. That’s the world’s worst story-telling of a great legend but the generator is going to shut off any minute so that’s what it’s going to stay at for now haha)
It’s cool because as you walk along the are little bits of legend that pop out – like the camel that Finn left behind, his giant boot and his grandma who’s climbing up the side of cliff. I love it haha. I love legends – they’re fascinating.
Anyway, Em and I climbed up some of the small cliff-hill things that don’t really have climbing paths but since everyone else was doing it we’re like let’s do this. The grass is the weirdest consistency... it’s kind of like walking on a sponge and trying not to sink as you climb. Then of course it’s just rock and mud. We discovered the best way to come down was on our butts, carefully shifting our ways down. We made it in one piece and the views were well worth it.
Further along the path is the actual Causeway – all these hexagonal rocks, all different heights. It looks really sharp. We puttered around there for a bit, climbing on some of the smaller ones and I had fun watching the kids try to climb too while their parents would be like OMG STOP. Haha. At least it wasn’t windy today – I can imagine how much more difficult everything would be with wind.
Em wanted to do the huge cliff climb, so she went off to do that while I went back to the first cove, climbed a bit up the hill and perched myself on a rock to read my book. Ah, nothing beats reading by the water. I got to sit and read for quite some time which was lovely – I’ve been looking forward to this.
We went back to the hostel around 5pm and that’s when some real fun began!! First of all they had no record of our registration... so I had to pull up the email and do all that crap. The guy was really nice about it... but a little.... spacey let’s say. He explained that if we need up and he’s gone, he’d leave a note on the door... we’re like yep, figured that out already.
The best though was the explanation of the electricity situation going on... they’re in the process of converting to a green hostel which means they’re running on a generator... but only at certain hours. So basically we only have power when he decides to run it. AWESOME. Also the shower isn’t connected to it so hot water is hit or miss too. And then he remembered (and two minutes later) forgot that he had to take a piece of ID as a deposit... I’m glad he forgot because I was not giving him my passport... totally going to lose it that way lol.
Back in our room, we laughed it all off for a bit and started charging ALL THE THINGS before it generator-out time. Sure enough, about 15min later everything went silent and we shrugged, time to go for another walk.
Our hostel guy gave us instructions that surprise, surprise... were not exactly correct. We wandered one way which brought us back to the main road (not what we wanted) and another that brought us to a fancy private residence. Oops. We were then surrounded by sheep and tried chatting with them/petting them but they were not impressed and left the fence. No love.
We FINALLY found the path we wanted... our original 2 mile (4 mile return) trek probably ended up being 6 when all was said and done haha. It was a nice walk to Bushmills though – a small itty bitty town. The only reason we really needed to go was to buy a drink and we grabbed some apples too. The walk brought us along the water for a bit (so lovely as the sun started to turn pink on the way back) and through a golf course (just used for the Irish Open). The golf course is odd because you literally walk right through it... I wonder how many people get beaned in the head by errant golf balls.
On the walk we also saw a ton of dogs (ah, all so cute!!) and said hi to everyone and their neighbour. I love how friendly people are out in the country – hello, hello all around :)