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30 days around Ireland week 1

On Friday August 2nd we took the train from Maastricht to Cherbourg. We had a couple of transfers. Loading and unloading our luggage over and over again, a train station without any elevator or escalator, way too small spaces or even no space in the train for our bicycles, fellow travelers with suitcases with which they knocked over our bicycles. We encountered all of this.

The transfer in Paris was a pleasant change. We had plenty of time to cycle from Paris Nord to Paris St Lazare. So we couldn’t skip a visit to the Eiffel Tower.

In the evening we were warmly welcomed in Cherbourg by Nathalie and Guillaume. We contacted them on Warmshowers. A genuine cycling family with umpteen bicycles in the barn, a son who wants to be a cook, a daughter who wants to go in the circus and another son who wants to cycle around the world on a 1-wheeler. Guillaume arranged a new bicycle for his test ride on Saturday. Together (we of course without our luggage) we cycled a beautiful route along the coast. The second largest lighthouse in France as climax of the tour. We could stay 2 nights with this family until we took the boat to Rosslare on Sunday August 4th.

Upon arrival in Rosslare, we immediately started cycling towards Waterford. After 87 km we didn't want to spend the night in busy Waterford itself, so we cycled a bit further. We rang the door bell at an old man’s house, called Dennis, and asked if we could pitch our tent in his garden for one night. His wife recently passed away so he was planning to visit his son that evening. Our unexpected visit was fine with him. There was a water tap at the back of the house. We could just go on and do what we needed to do, he said. Lying in our tent and almost asleep, a car drove up the driveway. Dennis's daughter came to check us out. She did not know Dennis had given us permission to camp in his garden and asked what we were doing. With his head outside the tent Ben explained how one thing led to another. She was reassured. Fortunately, Dennis was taken good care of by his children.

On the 2nd day Ben had an "egg" on his knee. It hurt so much he could only cycle with one leg. In Kilmoganny we went to a doctor to get anti-inflammatory drugs. Fortunately, the pain was gone quite quickly. Our 2nd night was in a garden again. This time at Liam and Patricia’s. We were invited into their house for a cup of tea and cookies. We were allowed to charge our phones, Garmin and power banks with our SKROSS. Dennis could tell hundreds of stories and also loved our story and plans. In the morning we were again surprised by a cup of tea and we were able to set off again with new energy.

Every day we stopped for necessary rest and especially food breaks. The Clif Bars were delicious. While cycling we ate the Clif Bloks. Especially when there was another steep track on our path, such Clif Blok was very tasty. The blok is softer than a winegum and has a nice ginger flavor we both love.

The Wicklow Mountains were beautiful. Check it out on our Youtube channel. We were very fortunate with the weather and the traffic. When we arrived in Dublin, we couldn't find a Warmshowers’ address. Ringing door bells in such a big city was not a good idea. So we took the train to Portadown very late. Portadown, however, was a very tiny village with no place to sleep. The last train already left, so traveling on to Belfast wasn’t an option either. Sleeping at the station wasn’t possible because it would be closed down. The station staff did everything they could to help us. A bus driver came by late and overheard our story. He offered to take us and our bicycles and luggage in his double decker. He was able to adjust his route slightly so that he could drop us off at a hotel in Amagh. We were very happy that we had a place to spend the night!

It was raining the next day. In the evening we searched for houses with a garage to sleep there for one night. We surprised Terry with our question. His garage was packed with all kinds of things. After asking his wife, he showed us the garage. We told Terry that if we were allowed to put some things aside, our mattress would certainly fit. When we finished preparing everything for the night, Terry, Lisa, Ava and Rachel offered us tea, delicious brownies and a home-made banana cake. What a nice surprise! There was even soup and some bread. We told them our story and plans and soon we started talking about each other's experiences and activities. Click here to read about our 2nd week in Ireland.



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