10th May 2013
I got out of Ennis easily, yay for me – is it a wee bit sad when one of the highlights of my day is finding my way out of a town of only about 26,000 people? It probably is but I’ll take any victory I can when it comes to navigating at the moment. The things you don’t think about – oh yeah, I’ll get a car in Ireland, buy an ordinance map book and off we go. That’s alright for getting between places, it’s when I have to find a street address in the towns and get back out again that the trouble sets in – and you can bet your bottom dollar that’s when I won’t be able to get internet, grrrrr.
According to google it was only about 45 minutes to The Cliffs of Moher visitor centre, however I took a couple of hours with my habit of being tempted to go the long way. It reminds me of the Twelve Apostles in Victoria, there’s a massive car park on one side of the road and visitor centre on the other with paths to the best viewing spots along the cliffs. Because I had to be in Doolin for my boat trip at 12, I sort of rushed around the visitor centre, and I have to admit, most times the geographical and scientific history is fairly low on the interest scale for me. Another reason I don’t spend much time in the visitor centres is that I can neither afford to buy, or have enough room to carry, souvenirs of everywhere I visit. Then I hot-footed it up to the cliffs – and almost got blown away – it was amazingly windy out in the open, you actually had to bend into the wind going up and got blown down on the way back.
The cliffs themselves reminded me of the cliffs along the Nullabor at home but there the land all around is dusty and mostly brown. Here, they really are a spectacular sight, and everything around is just so green; it’s just like you expect Ireland to be. So, acting like a real tourist, I took my photos, oohed and aahed, then rushed back to the car and took off for Doolin.
You are not going to believe this next bit, I kid you not. Using my exceptional navigational and time management skills, I arrived at the harbour with fifteen minutes to spare, (yay me again), waltzed over to the correct tour company office and presented myself for the 12 o’clock boat tour. The girl just looked at me blankly and said, “but, there’s no tide”. Mmmmm, sorry that doesn’t compute with me, what do you mean? She then told me that they need a certain height tide to be able to get the boats in and out – and today was NOT one of those days. I just stood there with my mouth open, I could not believe this was happening AGAIN. She said she was most amazed that I had been able to book online through their website for that time and that I could go on their 3 o’clock one, if the wind died down and they were able to go. Swear word, swear word, swear word – I was so looking forward to seeing the cliffs from the sea, and I haven’t kept count, but this must be about the fifth place I have gone to that hasn’t been open or running since I arrived in Ireland. She said the way the weather was she doubted if they would even go out later so I asked her to arrange a refund and left for Galway.
Even though I missed out on my boat trip, I did have a good day. I always find something along the way to make up for the disappointing parts; some brightly painted doors, a ruin, nice people or just the amazing scenery. I drove through an area called the Burren, roughly meaning rocky place, which was quite spectacular too, although very different to the cliffs.
I was so confident about finding my way through Galway, had my directions all sorted, I’d find it no trouble – nah, not to be, I’m f’n positive there’s a f’n curse on me, fair dinkum, I’m positive!!! I did get to Galway and through the city okay, followed my directions to Salthills fine; it’s a suburb the other side of the city. Then do you think I could find a street called Ocean Wave, Salthills? It seemed it was off the esplanade somewhere, I drove along the esplanade and back through the high street three or four times, I stopped and tried searching google maps again, I drove around the correct area again – twice, and still couldn’t find this bloody Ocean Wave street. Then all of a sudden I saw The White House, the place I was trying to find; still no sign of a street sign saying Ocean Wave, but I had arrived!!!
My room is tiny but cute, with a big skylight over the bed; and you have to admire the ingenuousness of some people – the bathroom is no more than 2 foot wide and probably 6 foot long with a sloping roof over the toilet end. Sarah and I stayed in a place in Mykonos with the smallest shower I’ve even seen; where you wouldn’t be game to bend over if you dropped your soap for fear of ending up with a tap injury. Well this one doesn’t even have room for taps, being less than two of my feet square – it has a thing set into the wall with the controls. And tonight I get to sleep under the stars – except it’s still raining, but with the cover drawn back on the skylight I can always pretend the stars are out.