12 July 2012
Slept in today, then got up, stretched, read a bit. I could sit in that house for weeks, months, just reading. Played a little tin whistle outside until Mickey got up. We talked for a little while, had tea, then I asked permission to pick up the alto sax and play a bit. It's an old, but good, horn. Nice tone quality. Every note playable except G#/Ab, which had a sticky key. Lovely stuff. I haven't touched a sax in ages; started realising how much I miss it.
Mickey seems like the kind of person my cousin Howard would enjoy. I don't know why I was thinking that but I was.
Neighbourman with the fields and sheep came over for a spell. Kerry accent, weatherbeaten face that shines with kindness. Bit shy seeming but warms up quickly. I'm finding so much generosity this trip... Makes me so happy. Gives me hope for the human race and all, etc etc
We chatted and enjoyed each other's company until about two o'clock. I didn't quite *want* to leave yet but it was a glorious sunny day, warm and ripe with birdsong. Perfect for cycling. Since I was running a touch late tho', Neighbourman threw my bike into the back of his van and took me down the road about 10 km, saving me a big hill and about an hour of cycling. Rather than take the main Ring of Kerry road back into Killarney, I took a detour (recommended by Mickey & co last night) thru the Black Valley and Dunloe Gap. There was hardly any traffic as far as the Black Valley hostel, just a few cars and locals on bikes. The views of the valley from the gap in, and again the gap out, were spectacular. I can't begin to describe the glory of this landscape, gleaming in the sun, rising ever toward Heaven. I tried to film some of my descents; we'll see if it turns out at all. Only two scary spots: once when my pedal caught a rock and I almost came off the bike, and another when I got razzed by a blue car with a spoiler going a bit too fast around a blind curve. No harm done tho'. I'm feeling more comfortable at speed, getting used to the braking power of the bike and the handling down hills, so that it doesn't scare me as much to fly downhill.
Once I reached the gap of Dunloe, there was lots of traffic--cars, horses, jaunting cars (i.e. horse-drawn carts), hillwalkers. I hate cars with a passion on roads like that but the rest I don't mind. The views from the winding road by the rivers, across lakes, thru the mountains... Ahh. So clear why it attracts the world to come see it.
Today was only a 40 km day, but definitely the best 40 km so far. (and the first day I didn't get rained on at all!) Pedalled quickly into Killarney the last 12ish kms on the main road. Traffic in Killarney is always terrible. So glad I'm on my bike. So glad I'm free.
Caught the 20.24 train from Killarney to Tralee to come see Mickey's sister. I intended to catch the 18.24 but was about fifteen minutes too late for it, so I bought some food instead. Ate another whole gluten-free cake in the train station. Later bought some smoked salmon as well. I have a craving for some fresh, hot chips for some reason, but I don't think I could find anywhere that makes them without gluten cross-contamination. :(
When I got into Tralee, I sat with Mickey's sister, Marie, and some of her friends and had drinks outside a cute little pub near enough to the train station. Irish way is to bring you a new drink before you're quite done with the one you've got. Had a decent amount of cider. We moved inside as the sun set and sat by a nice real wood fire and talked and talked. There was a guy there who was closer to my age and kept telling me I was beautiful. You know you're with good people when drink makes them friendlier.
Stayed up until about one before coming home with Marie and collapsing. Marie put me in her own bed, and took the couch, before I could even protest. BK fit in the lift so she's here in the room with me. Lovely place this. But of course that's mostly due to the person who lives here.
I have to promise myself I will see these folks again one more time before I leave this country so I won't get sad about moving on with my journey. Making new friends is a wonderful thing, but leaving new friends is most assuredly not. That's the nature of the game tho', I s'pose. You travel, you lose people. And that's that.