15 July 2012
The burn I suffered last night left a nice red welt on my ankle, but you can hardly tell what with all the scrapes and scratches and nettle stings on my poor knees and calves.
Downhill 3 km into Doolin. Several nice-looking hostels there, and I'm kind of regretting not staying in one and taking my rest day there. Didn't know all the Galway hostels were full up when I set off for them this afternoon.
Today was my nightmare day. I cycled like I was trying to escape something. Thru the Burren, mottled with ancient rotting stone, grey and inhospitable despite a ragged shaggy blanket of wildflowers and grass. Cracked shell of a giant dying turtle sliding back into the sea. I only skirted its edges, but it certainly is the fascinating and unique landscape everyone says it is. That's why there were climbers all over the crumbling cobblestone cliffs, cars and tents jammed between craggy outcroppings. Sometimes naught but a dry stone wall and my wits kept me from tumbling into the sea.
Traffic on the coast road as far as Ballyvaghan heavy, but tolerable. The N67 from there thru Kinvarra to Kilcolgan had more bends and blind turns with high hedges, meaning I slowed and held back more traffic than usual, but I did my best. One thing I'll never understand is people who beep at you as they pass you (dude I'm following the rules of the road and being courteous as possible, like pulling into driveways on uphills, give me a break), or who risk life and limb in oncoming traffic to pass you (or to pass tractors, coaches, hillwalkers). We're all going somewhere important, aren't we? Unless we're talking ambulances or police, no single journey is more important than another. Relax a while and obey the rules that keep everyone safe. Even still I couldn't have held anyone back for more than two minutes.
Stopped for a lunch of peanut butter on rice cakes in Kinvarra, sitting by the sea watching the sailboats with my jacket on against the wind. Didn't stay long tho'. I felt pressed, hurried, like I was in the last leg of some kind of crazy endrance race. Had to keep my speed up. Make it to Galway. I mentally prepared myself to stay in the Snoozles hostel, which I've been in before. But when I got there, knackered and annoyed after being on the hard shoulder of the crazy busy fast N18 and N6 then contending with city traffic again in Galway (used to Dublin, but since forgot how everyone's got it out for you)... Full up. And so is every other Galway hostel and most B&Bs; it's the weekend, it's hen and stag party time. Rather than try and stay in a city full of drunks (besides, I've been to Galway before and am going back in August), I pushed on an extra 20 km to a campsite in Spiddal.
Over 100 km today in just over 6 hours in the saddle--that is, not including any time spent going 0 kph. Paid a fiver to have access to running water, electricity, proper toilets, and a hot shower while camping under a tree for the night. Campsite would be all right if it wasn't for the midges and the sour smell of gas in the "kitchen" area.
Tomorrow was supposed to be my rest day but no. Not camping. I'll push on to Clifden, find a nice hostel, and rest on Monday there. Do laundry. Etc.