I have had a full and colorful week since I last wrote, visiting families in Ireland and now in Exeter, UK. It is wonderful to stay with families when they like each other. I enjoy the dynamics of visiting with the different members, seeing how they interact and live, sharing meals and activities with them.
I traveled from Wales to Ireland via train and ferry. The train to ferry connection at Holyhead was wonderful. You just walked off train into the ferry terminal where they checked me in, checked my big suitcase and then bussed all the walk-on passengers right into the ferry where we got off and went up the stairs to the lounges. There were multiple huge lounges, restaurants, bars and games. The crossing was so smooth that I was able to just take my ginger capsules for motion sickness, ate some soup at a window table, read my book, looking out the window periodically to see where we were going. It is only about 3.5 hours across to Dublin.
My only anxiety was that Ireland uses Euros and I had spent all my Euros in France, thinking I was not going to need them anymore in England. I realized I probably needed Euros to pay for a bus from the ferry terminal to downtown Dublin. In the small town of Conwy, Wales where I was staying, I went the day before to the POST to change some money into Euros and they said it would be better for me to do it on the ferry. However, there were no ATM’s or money changers at the ferry terminal nor on the ship. Then I worried about it the whole way. I thought about asking another passenger to exchange some money for me but didn’t do it. I asked when I bought food for Euro change, but they wouldn’t give me Euro change. Change had to match the currency paid. When I got off the ship, the bus driver to town took Pounds or Euros. So no problem after all. I was dropped off at a train station. I carried my bags up the stairs and found an ATM to get Euros before I took my next bus, but it gave me a 50 Euro note – so I had to buy some food to get some change, but there was a line. Then they couldn’t change a fifty at food booth. The passenger behind me and in a hurry offered to change the 50 for me! Finally I had 3 Euros for the bus! Actually the bus fare is 2.70, but they do not give change in Ireland. The next morning I had the 3 Euro for the bus back to the train station. But how to get change for the tram ride to the rail station I needed for going to Killarney? Fortunately the tram had a automatic ticket machine at the tram stop that I could use my credit card for! So it all worked out ok in the end. I could have saved myself a lot of worrying. It was certainly nice traveling between countries that all used the Euro, I had not had these binds on my travels.
I really enjoyed this Spiritual Tourism banner in the St. Anne church in Killarney:
From Killarney I took the bus to Dingle. It is a gorgeous seaside town with surfing, sailing, fishing and spectacular green grasses and brilliant colors of flowers. This is what the hedges along the road looked like in the Dingle area, as colorful as anything as I have seen except Hawaii.
The latest Star Wars movie was filmed off the coast here on the Skellig Island, where Luke is found at the end of the last one. Sleeping man island off the coast is nearby.
I stayed with Kate and her family. She owns the health food store in Dingle and is friends with Helen because she is originally from Birmingham. She generously had agreed to put me up and even showed me around on her day off. Kate, her aunt Mar, son Tiger and I all drove along the coast seeing the beehive stone houses, standing stones and castle.
It was also high tourist season in Dingle and the place was packed with cars and tourists. Fortunately Kate lived in a nearby village so we were mostly out of the traffic, except in taking the kids to sailing camp and picking them up. The days were very long now, but Kate said in the winter when the days are short, no tourists and it is colder and rainier it can be hard on the mood.
Kate picked the straw weed traditionally used for Brigit’s crosses and gave to me so I could make an authentic Irish version.
I went from Dingle to Sneem on the ring of Kerry, where I was met by a friend, Pam, who is a fellow homeopath I met on Alonissos in Greece studying. She took me home to the family artist community she lives and works with. They have a series of houses connected to an art gallery out on an acre in the countryside. An amazing view of the bay in the distance. Right now there are seven family members living on the property and doing some amazing painting and prints.
They have been there over 30 years. The work of greeting people in the gallery was shared, with bells and speakers notifying everyone in their houses to what was happening in their Brushwood Gallery, http://www.brushwoodstudios.com/. They have their work areas, print making machine all incorporated into the houses. The meals and people flowed back and forth between the houses very easily. Great conversations over meals. It was lovely to be a part of for a few days. These are a few pictures I took with my phone in the gallery, but please go to their website to see their work. http://www.brushwoodstudios.com/
Pam and I walked on the Kerry trail into the town of Sneem.
The town very small with brightly painted buildings around a square, a small river running through it. Interesting shops and restaurants as you would expect in a artist, tourist town. Pam introduced me to everyone and negotiated a great deal on an Irish sweater I had shipped to Ashland. Should be there mid-September. I will be glad for a souvenir and warm sweater this winter I am sure, but it is nice not to have to carry it around for month.
Jo-Anne, Pam’s sister-in-law, generously volunteered to drive me the two hours to Kerry airport to fly back to the UK. The time flew as we discussed everything under the sun. She was going to a movie in town before driving back. I appreciated the Irish generosity and beauty of the land in my week there and am so glad I decided to go at the last moment.
Now I am in Exeter staying with a new friend I met in Inverness, Scotland at lunch when I first arrived on this trip, Lori. We have been in communication regularly since we met and she invited me to visit her and her family in Exeter and see the Devon and Cornwall region. I arrived yesterday and am taking a day off to write, pay bills, blog etc. before I start seeing the area. Lori has some great brochures on hikes from train stations along the coast that I am excited to do and are easy to access. There is also the Southwest Coast Path that I could do parts of. Lori and her husband Stewart are both hikers, travelers and interested in good quality food so it is lovely to be here with them. It is lovely to have dinner and conversation with them and their son in the evening. So generous of them to house and feed me so I can explore this lovely region.
It is hard to believe, I am winding down on my travels – my flight back to Los Angeles from Heathrow is August 22nd. I will spend a week in Tennessee visiting family before heading to Ashland, Oregon. I feel ready to start figuring out where I want to live next, the community, the living space and the land incorporating all I have learned from my travels.