Riva S. Vitale->Lugano->Lake Lugano->Zuirch->Dublin->Banbridge->Glaskar->Dublin
10:00am on Thursday June 6th marked our departure from the Villa and the beginning of leg 3. The structured and well thought out itinerary had come to a close and I had a week to get myself to Dublin and do something interesting, exciting, and fun in between.
I took a train to Lugano with four other participants under the hopeful assumption that we might be able to rent a sailboat for the afternoon. The morning looked cold, foggy, and not very hopeful but the crew of Kevin, Kat, Kelsey, and Angela stepped up and said they were in if it worked so off we went. Right around noon the weather cleared, the wind picked up, and after a conversation—mostly done through hand gestures—with a man who could only speak Italian we found ourselves sailing away from Lugano towards the Italian Cliffs on the far side. We hadn’t been asked to pay or even leave any type of collateral and without having a common language we had managed to gain the trust of the employee at the wharf. The afternoon was great and the crew dispite their claims to have little to no sailing experience did a great job of manning our 18’ Violeto and I got to relax on the front deck. The wind died a bit on the way back but we all managed to catch our connecting trains with a few minutes to spare.
A train to Zurich, a picnic on the banks of Lake Zurich with a thunderstorm over the alps in the distance, and an evening at the City Backpacker all followed our sailing excursion and on Friday morning I found myself doing the airport thing again with my bike to prep for a quick hop over to Dublin. From the Airport I took a bus to Banbridge, had an adventure to find some pounds, and jumped on the bike for 15 km with only an address to guide me to 17 Glaskar rd. where I was supposed to find my sister and her friend’s relatives.
Against the odds I made it and got a good view of back roads of Northern Ireland in the process. I was met at the door by Garrett, who laughed a bit at my appearance and then said he was expecting me and invited me in. I was put up in the “grannie” flat and had my own bathroom. This house which was connected to a 30,000 chicken operation and horse boarding farm was to be my home base until Tuesday.
I cleaned up helped cook the first of many wonderful meals and waited for my sister and the rest of the girls to return from their adventure to Belfast. It was great to catch up with Marybeth and the evening was spent outside over a great meal, good wine, and a bit of “buskin” music. The next day I did a quick 50 km ride, ate, and ate, and then went to a family gathering where we again ate and drank and ate and drank. We danced till the sun came up and took a taxi back home where I was employed to break into the house because we had forgotten the keys. Slumber consumed most of the next day but on Monday I got out again and did a 105 km ride that circumnavigated the Moore Mountains on the Eastern Coast. I saw the green castle, ran through a farmer’s field when my dirt road dead ended and hit 80km/hr on a downhill between Hilltown and Rathfrieland. I cleaned up and again we ate, drank, and danced in celebration of the wonderful time we had on the Fletcher’s Farm. The next morning I caught a bus to Dublin with Marybeth and Shannon.
The bike ride from the airport into Dublin was fun, not direct, and longer than expected but I got there eventually and settled into the hostel Killian for two nights. Night one was spent at a “Steeple Session” Listening to Mark Hayes and a Celtic Singer perform in a Unitarian Church. Night two was spent listing to a traditional Irish jam session at the Cobblestone pub away from the touristy part of town. At one point there were 4 fiddles, 2 Irish flutes, a Lyre, two banjos, a bagpipe of somekind, and an accordion playing together. It was great.
The trip home the next morning was relatively uneventful and when mom and dad met me in the airport I was excited to finally be home. I am quite a few steps closer on the never ending path to gain a global perspective and all the better for the steps that I’ve taken.
-To all those who helped in any capacity along my journey. Thank you for making it all possible.