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bill h's "Adventures in Europe"

Cliff-hiking, airbnb Gripes & The Spanish Armada

IRELAND | Tuesday, 30 August 2016 | Views [295]

Continuing my journey down the west coast of Ireland — think I’m getting jaded again — so much beautiful scenery the entire way — it reminds me of how I felt going to the art museums in Paris — one masterpiece after the other until none of them felt “special “ — something similar seems to be happening with the coastline.  

Locals along the way have expressed similar sentiments — they “live with it” and soon find themselves not appreciating the beauty around them — taking it for granted.  Have to admit — sometimes back in Colorado Springs I found myself feeling the same way about the Rockies.
 
Went to the cliffs of Moher a few days ago, walked along the cliff tops watching the blue sea crash into the cliffs below me in huge plumes of white spray and foam — felt like I was looking at a living postcard — just amazing.  
 
Went again yesterday to a section of the cliffs a little further south where the locals go (no tour buses and one one-hundredth of the crowds) — again, beautiful, but the “wonder” wasn’t there — and this was a much more “natural, wild” experience.  Have decided to take a break and head inland for a few days.
 
The recent cliff walk was actually enjoyable — you had to hike a mile up the landward side of the cliffs, climbing over rock stiles between the cow pastures until you reached the top of the cliff — then you followed a narrow trail along the edge of the cliffs — sometimes muddy but mostly grassy underfoot — frequently two to three feet from the edge — walking in wet grass and mud, it got a tad spooky at times knowing there wasn’t all that much room for error.  Unfortunately saw on this mornings news that they recovered a man’s body from below the cliffs the day I was there — crap happens….
 
Also paid a visit to a nearby beach called Spanish Point Bay — back in 1588, the Spanish Armada tried to invade England — in U/S history books they talk about the brave, outnumbered English fleet fighting courageously to repel the Spanish.  Once again, not exactly what happened — the Spanish admiral who was supposed to lead the invasion “kicked-off” a couple of weeks before the fleet was to sail — at which time, the King’s advisors picked another guy to take over who promptly wrote the King a letter saying that he was incompetent, had no clue how to invade a country and didn’t want to do it — they told him that they recognized that he was incompetent but that “God would lead him to victory!”  He sailed and by the time he reached the coast of England, his ships were leaking and over half his crew were hopelessly sick from scurvy and the other half were exhausted from having to fill-in.  Then, on top of that, they got slammed by a hurricane.  
 
Some of the ships that survived fled north, planning on sailing around Ireland back to Spain.  Apparently, one of the ships got caught in a fierce storm off the coast of Ireland (the Spanish just couldn’t catch a break) and shipwrecked at a place that came to be known as Spanish Point Bay.  Here the narrative gets a bit murky — one version has most of the crew drowning with a handful surviving and staying in Ireland, intermarrying — the other version has the Irish slaughtering the survivors (believable as the Irish didn’t get along with anyone at that time in history!)
 
Spent last night in Limerick and took a day off from sightseeing — went shopping at a local mall (remarkably like the malls in the USA) and bought an oversized umbrella — with all of the rain here you’d be amazed at how difficult it’s been trying to find one.  
 
Went for an early dinner at a “neighborhood” pub down the street — Collins Bar (authentic) — figured, it was four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, I’d have no problem getting something to eat — ended-up getting parking space number fifty out of fifty — the place was packed — ordered at the bar and joined a bunch of other people outside under a sunny sky — good food, can see why it was crowded!  
 
Tonight, I'm at a place out in the country and it’s more than a little strange — they hung a yellow plastic bucket on the gate so I could find the place.  Have been using airbnb on this “adventure” quite a bit and have realized you hit some “clunkers” — this my second in a row.  
 
Last one said they had internet — yep, there was the modem in a box on the windowsill when I walked-in — the host was in Spain — had to set it up myself and those of you who know me know I’m not what you’d call a “teckkie kind of guy”.  Fun, fun!
 
Today’s place has internet — the host explained to me that it works for about an hour a day — between midnight and four am — but they have internet.  They also list having television — yep, again — five channels — two in Gaelic — one news station on a repeating loop — and two game show channels — but they have tv!  
 
Adding to the strangeness is that I think my host may be a well-known (in Ireland) artist -- there are a number of museum exhibitions catalogues lying around and the artist's photo (from a few years ago) looks amazingly like my host and has the same name.

Oh well, I’m only here for two nights I’ve got four unopened (until an hour ago) bottles of wine and i-Tunes on my laptop. 

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