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Published: August 13th 2006
On Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos
I am in Ireland!! Just saying that makes me tired. What a long long long trip. We got up at 4 am in Quito and I arrived in Dublin about 1 am Ecuador time the next morning. Fortunately it was about 8:30 am when I got in so it was light and I had the whole day to explore and try to find a place to stay. Which unfortunately took me ages. I hadn't thought that every single hostel in all of Dublin would be booked. But they were, at least nearly. I was lucky I guess. I stopped in at a hostel that had been recommended to me by a guy I passed in the streets on his way to England. It was a lovely little spot and seemed to be quite popular, no vacancies. The guy at the front desk took pity on me and called around, 6-7 places, before he found a spot that had one bed available. He had mentioned also that I might just want to go ahead to Galway. I almost cried when he said that. Which I think he might have noticed... hence his phone calls. Anyway, the place I ended up
I had this little guy crawl onto my hand and he crawled up my shirt and hung out on my ear. How cool!
staying was, well it was a hostel. No clean sheats... not really any sheats even, at least there wasn't a top sheat. Everyone slept in their sleeping bags. Dad tried and tried to get me to take one of the small ones we had, but I didn't have room in my bag. Should have made room. I slept in my clothes. Eww. No soap in the bathroom and I couldn't tell you the last time it had been cleaned. At least it wasn't super dirty. Though I did forego a shower... Anyway!! I had a nice walk and covered a bit of territory. There was a bit of a festival going on in Marrion Square and I headed in that direction. There were three of four street performers, jugglers, acrobat types, etc. all doing there thing. That was pretty cool. I liked the square itself as well. Two or three blocks of garden/park in the middle of the city. What a funny place. Dublin is a beautiful city. Lots of stone buildings and all of the churches look like mini cathedrals. It's quite warm here as well. And its humid, more humid than Quito which I thought was pretty funny.
One of the little side streets in Dublin.
Today I'm heading to Galway. Got myself a bus ticket and will head out at 2. No hostels available there either. I haven't quite figured out what to do about that yet. I've called around and looked up places on the internet but everyting is booked! At least everything affordable. Haven't asked around at the proper hotels yet. If those are booked as well I will be getting another bus in Galway to... somewhere else. It is much harder to travel here than it was in Ecuador dang it!! Especially since the taxis are so bloody expensive. In Ecuador you didn't have to know where you were going... Just had to tell the driver to take you where you wanted. Going anywhere within a 20 min. walk was a dollar or two, and farther away it didn't get much more than 5 dollars. Here a 15-20 min walk is about 6-7 euros in a taxi. I did take one this morning to the bus station. That was really nice despite the cost because it was raining. Tomorrow at noon I meet my trail ride group at a hotel in Galway. I am so excited to ride!! And I'm also
Hobbit and I
My horsey and I on our first date
rather excited to have something planned for a week. Won't have to make any arrangements for food, lodging or transportation. Yay!! And I will have my Ireland travel book. I'm wishing I had brought it with me rather than sent it ahead, but oh well.
Our last few days in Ecuador were really nice. Instead of flying back to Guayaquil we went on back to Quito. We originally had wanted to fly in to Guyaquil so we could travel up the coast. We had sort of gotten our fill of beaches in the Galapagos though and we were going to be on a bus traveling most of the time anyway. It would have taken us 7-10 hours to get to Quito from Guyaquil and we only had 2 1/2 days to do it. Which isn't bad, but still not much time on the beach and a lot of time on the bus. From Quito we instead went to Mindo. Where I really really wanted to go anyway. It was a beautiful spot!! The cloud forest is amazing. It's hard to describe. Very much inbetween the jungle and the highlands. We saw loads of butterflys and humming birds. The humming
Wendy and Robin
Riding through the hills and through some very spiky bushes.
birds were especially incredible. All the hostels and hotels put out feeders and those little guys were buzzing all over the place. We saw at least 5-6 species and at one spot there were probably 30 or so birds vying for a spot at the feeders. I took too many pictures =)
Well I'm going to get some lunch and try and book myself a place to sleep. Wish me luck!!
Hello from Galway,
One week down! Yikes, it flew by!
Horseback riding was awesome. I was really surprised, I really didn't get that sore. The second day was by far the worst and after that I was pretty comfortable. The horses were all gorgeous and very well trained. I rode a flea-bitten gray Connemara pony named Hobbit. Flea bitten apparently is the official color for what I thought was a dapple gray. Otherwhise known as a white horse with little brown spots. He was wonderful! It was very relaxing riding him as he wasn't inclined to run and was very capable of finding his own path through the bogs. Riding through the bogland was pretty intense! The ground flexed under the horses hooves
Swimming with the Horses
This was so so so much fun! And even though it doesn't show it in this picture, they did actually swim.
and it looked like they were going to break through every step. It was also very rocky and all the horses had to pick their way around the stones very carefully. It was of course a beautiful landscape to ride through. Stone fences and stone cottages everywhere. Ireland is a very tidy place and everything seemed to be just in the right spot. A little different after Ecuador where it seemed everything was competing for life. Ireland is quite tame!
The group I rode with was lovely. Rather big though. It was hard to get to know everyone as there about 23 of us. I spent a lot of time with a woman from Mass. named Wendy, my roommate for the trip Sabine (Germany) and a woman named Dana from Oregon as well as her niece Jenna and mom, Mary Jane. Very nice crew! The B+B's we stayed at were gorgeous and the food was fantastic. We ate at a castle hotel two nights in a row... Wow. We had a bread and butter, a starer (I had crab crepes one night), then we had a little sorbet, then we had our entre, then we had desert. It was
We rode over a mountain on our last day and had a gorgeous view of the beach.
My favorite part was the beach day... We got to canter up and down this gorgeous white sand beach. Willie (our guide) took us up and down the sand dunes and up onto the grassy hills above, then back down to the sand. And we got to swim the horses. I have never had such a good time riding. What an experience!
Well... I have got to run. This place is closing.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Aran Islands and then I'm going to go to Doolin. I will write more when I have a chance!
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