5. Wicklow in Autumn

wicklow, irelandRemember Braveheart? Well, this is where the movie was partly set, and mind you, only 5% of the movie was shot in the Highlands of Scotland, so don’t be fooled. The Wicklows display truly magnificent scenery, which we thoroughly enjoyed, in spite of the unreliable mood of the weather. We almost felt like walking into a dream, had our frozen limbs not reminded us that we were experiencing the real thing. Wicklow is quite a sight in autumn, and I could solemnly endure that evil cold again, just to smell that fresh from the rain air, just to see that explosive variety of leaves’ colours surrounding us, some holding on to their branches, some paving our way to the lake, some flying like crazy in the restless wind. I wondered how the landscape would transform itself in summer. Yet I was convinced that this was what I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out. So I froze and stared.

It was time for us to get back on the bus. When the driver opened the doors to let us in, a strong smell of alcohol rushing from the inside caused me to ask myself whether it was thoughtful for a bus driver to drink on duty! Especially since the roads that crossed those places needed the driving skills of an expert. But the poor man had not been drinking; he had prepared samples of genuine Jameson whiskey for us, tourists with petrified face expressions. The man surely knew how to cheer people up. We spent the following hours chattering, laughing, singing and blessing father Jameson. Happy times!

Still euphoric from the mixture of alcohol, exhaustion and happiness, we regain our hostel room. I was only to lie down for one hour that night, before saying good bye to Dublin, again. I did not mind being out in the streets alone at 3 a.m., only the noise of my luggage on the pavement following me. Nor did the pouring rain bother me much. When I’m happy, I’m untouchable, invulnerable to anything that might want to extract me from my high spirits. I waited for a bus, but I did not know where exactly it was supposed to stop and collect us for the airport. Someone called me and asked me if I wanted to share a taxi with him, explaining to me that we would pay more or less the same price as for the bus, but we would gain in comfort. I said yes, and the guy grabbed my luggage and forced it into the taxi trunk. He was going someplace sunny, I was merely going home. I might not have been fully awake: I do not normally accept a stranger’s proposal. But there I jumped in. Clearly, I was out of my regular system and I needed sleep. Problem solved as my Ryanair took off.

I’ve been to Ireland four times. It’s a difficult place to leave behind.

wicklow, ireland

4. Dddd Dublin!

Dublin, IrelandIn Dublin things just kept being fun (I should probably mention that when I am dead beat I find everything incredibly funny). Two wasted luggage-dragging mechanisms we were in those streets, Kim and I, our minds set on finding our hostel and a bed to rest on asap. Yet finding the address of the hostel turned out to be an intricate matter that we weren’t able to handle alone. So we found ourselves a Good Samaritan to put us on the right track.

The above-mentioned, a lady, was at first not quite sure of her directions. This ought to have alerted us a bit, had our brains not been atrophied because of the fatigue. Still, our direction-giver got motivated to do her best and eventually made sure we went her way. So we mounted a street with completely wrong numbers for a very wrong number of miles and for a disturbingly wrong amount of time until, having by then lost our ability to feel our arms and feet, we realized we had been walking the wrong lane. Up on the bloody hill, we started to panic at the idea that we now had to do all the way back. We also prayed, in the name of civilized behaviour, that the well-intentioned lady who had so gently steered us away from the right path did not cross our way.

But then there was the hostel and the nice concierge whom we had to bother every now and then because the card to our room would not work. There was the perspective of shorts nights in Dublin (aren’t they all so?), there was good food, wine and good chat. Next came “The Quays” (Dublin hosts one as well), and the laughing and the Bulmers, the singing and after all that, again, the difficulty to find our way back to the hostel. For different reasons than previously, though.

I think we did manage to wake everybody up this time, because the hall leading to our bunk beds was soooo long, and it was sooo dark inside and straight walking sooo complicated. I remember Kim having a hard time climbing on the top bed, so I think I had to push her. Anyways, we eventually found a place to fit in. We woke up with injected eyes way too early in the morning, yet all smiles: we were leaving for a one-day trip to the Wicklow Mountains.