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The journey begins

sunny 28 °C

On a bus now from Frankfurt to Prague, with an hour's stopover a Mannheim.

I love that the scenery out the window has changed since March. Not just with regard to the place and climate and particular fauna, but also with regard to the seasons. In March the trees were bare and cobwebby with birds' nests, and the fields were brown and solemn green. In April the trees had fresh young leaves of a peculiarly light green, and the flowers had begun to bloom in profusion. Come may, the flowers had started to fall, but the trees matured. It's finally the end of July, and I see rolled bales of hay dotting flat yellow fields, and crops grown up in their straight rows. All of the trees are a dark thriving green.

I love that the weather has changed too! And this is more a personal preference because I think everyone knows my sensitivity to the cold :D in March I would be freezing in my 3 layers plus winter jacket. Then, I learned to walk quickly outside, both for warming up purposes but also to get back into a warm place sooner. At the end of April, the knob on my heater was turned for the last time. In may the end of 3 layers (the winter jacket was discarded in April). June signalled the gloriousness of single layers and shorts, but also reminded me of the existence of sweat. July has actually been much better, with less days above 30 degrees. Wearing shorts again is the best thing about summer!

On Sunday night I sort of finished packing at 2 am haha. Then, exhausted, I went to sleep, and continued packing in the morning. That entailed throwing a lot of things away, and just stuffing things into both bags. Checked out, will have to pay for the walls which I didn't clean (I forgot), and handed over the keys. But I got tricked, cos I thought I'd get to go in one last time, but she locked the toilet door from my side too so I couldn't even say goodbye! S helped me to bring my stuff down 3 storeys, bringing down my yellow suitcase was the WORST. And after just about managing to get it all the way to E's place in darmstadt, I regret ever thinking I could make it back home by mrt haha. Taxi here I come. Very worried that I've overshot my 23kg, E said she'd try to borrow a weighing scale from her neighbours. Had ice cream with E, then back to Frankfurt to sleep.

Also, I finished Joan yesterday. I lament the end of Joan, more literally than figuratively though. Mark Twain was a little too obsessive about how awesome Joan was, and ended up with a draggy trial section. He did win me over to his perspective that Joan was amazing. Apparently he wrote a fairly accurate account of her life. I think I'll read some non-fiction about her when I get back. Rather interesting.

But now I'm struggling over whether to start on the Neverending Story on my phone (which beguiles me with its fantasy pedigree, and also I really like children's books) or the more non-fictional Seabiscuit (which was there first). Okay, never mind, I've decided on the former since a charger is on hand. K bye

Posted by seaskimmer 04:48 Archived in Germany Tagged bus books weather frankfurt hamburg luggage darmstadt Comments (0)

Bus musings 2

sunny 15 °C

Ireland is an absolutely beautiful place. As we drive through the Irish countryside from Kinsale back to Cork, I can't help but love the green, which even as farmlandish land is already so much wilder and less kept than the Belgian and German countrysides. And as the setting sun bathes the uneven grass and spiderweb trees in gold, I can't help but love this land of green even more.

According to lonely planet, "Narrow winding streets lined with artsy little shops and a handsome harbour full of bobbing fishing boats and pleasure yachts make Kinsale one of Ireland's favourite mid sized towns; its superb foodie reputation is just another reason to visit. Its sheltered bay is guarded by a huge and engrossing fort, just outside the town at Summercove."

We spent a trying morning attempting to get a free brunch at the' feeding of the five thousand' city council event, one of the pre-St Paddy's Day activities, but E and I ended up separated from S and annoyed. We took the bus to Kinsale and managed to meet S there, walked around the pretty picture of a town, and spent an enchanted time walking part of the way to Charles Fort. We found a little path walking down to the bay, and sat on sedimentary rocks? Talked, had some scones, enjoyed the fabulous view across the bay. Saw a seal that bobbed around twice but refused to stay up long enough for a good photo.

Turned back about 40% into the walk to Charles Fort, had fish and chips dinner at Dinos. As we were eating by the bay, the bus to Cork came and we debated momentarily over whether to run for it or wait for the next bus in an hour. This quick discussion resulted in a frenzied picking up of the remaining fish and chips (E), the nabbing of the tartar sauce and Fanta orange (me) and the wrapping and throwing of the junk left over (S). We all ran across the road and then attempted to find our tickets. That done, we finished eating in the next 30s and settled down to enjoy the ride back.

Pretty glad we decided to come to Kinsale. I was right in thinking that the town would be kind of touristy like Bruges, but it totally makes up for that with the stunning views. The town itself is also somehow a little less pretentious and more local, relaxed seaside village. It's wonderful.

Tomorrow we might not to go to Dublin immediately. Technically the only things we really want to do/see there are Trinity College and a short bit of the parade. So depending on bus timing and price, we might stop for a few hours somewhere in the middle of Cork and Dublin. That would be really nice.

Posted by seaskimmer 16:40 Archived in Ireland Tagged travel bus ireland Comments (0)

Bus musings

overcast 10 °C

While Paris itself has a comprehensive metro and train system, the whole of Ireland has been made easy to travel by bus.

There are several operators but the cheapest we found was eireann, because it's not a direct 2 point bus but instead goes to many stops. As such, its service X8 got us from Dublin airport to Cork in 4 hours rather than 3, but I actually enjoyed the ride.

Ireland is really cold and damp, which means that the sky is permanently overcast and visibility is persistently poor. I like that though, sounds like the Ireland of the many books I've read! No wonder it's the setting of so many fantasy stories, that thick white mist looks like it hides so many secrets. (edit: misty and freezing in the mornings and nights only)

One of the places we went to en route was cahir castle. I didn't know that we would actually go there, so every time we followed a road sign pointing us to the castle, I cheered inside. We finally got there, and it looked older, more crumbly and more grim than gravensteen. I could totally imagine gruff Picts (or is that the Scots?) striding around in battle gear there. When the bus turned a corner around the castle, I could then see a river already rushing with spring snowmelt running alongside the castle wall. So. Cool.

It also surprises me how much the Irish language is represented here. I thought it would be like gaelic, which is hardly spoken or known, but I see Irish in lots of places, like road signs have both the Irish and English names.

If France is a graceful maiden dancing atop a hill, Ireland is a slim unruly Irish lad, looking over his shoulder as he disappears barefoot into the forest, green eyes full of mystery and mischief.

I think Ireland is one place I would come back to and spend a week to see the smaller places. If course, this is before really exploring even Cork and Dublin so perhaps spoken a little too soon. We shall see.

Posted by seaskimmer 17:07 Archived in Ireland Tagged travel bus green ireland faery Comments (0)

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