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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Castlewellan

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 3 June 2018 | Views [228]

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today; not a cloud in the sky. I had the most difficult time sleeping due to another nuisance of a plant. Pennsylvania has poison ivy, yet Ireland has stinging nettles. During my miserable geocaching run yesterday I kept inadvertently wandering through fields of nettles, which give a stinging sensation and then an annoying itch. Waking up at 2 AM, my entire body was itching and I couldn't fall back asleep for a few hours. I expressed frustration but Heiko, having a keen interest in the edibility of wild plants, told me that nettles are very good to eat and that he'd make some with dinner this evening.

Heiko and Susan originally planned on making a three-hour drive to Donegal today to visit a friend but the trip was cancelled, though with weather like this, it was simply too gorgeous to do nothing. Castlewellan Forest Park is where we'd make a run for today. Eddie, their dog, is Eddie the beagle and is named after a British Olympian ski-jumper known as Eddie the "Eagle." Due to recent surgery, he's wearing a "lamp shade" on his head. They took him for a walk whilst I flew Juliett. Finally I have a good photo by her!

Until yesterday I kept getting a message saying "gimbal shaking error" and, with the help of YouTube, I fixed her yesterday. During my wander in Portaferry, some old cars I found interesting.

Modern cars are a blight when it comes to photographing castles and other sights that are centuries old; cars didn't exist in those days. It's only fitting that a ferry port is in Portaferry, so we took the car ferry across Strangford Lough to Strangford and then passed through Downpatrick to Castlewellan. By the way, "lough" in Ireland is "loch" in Scotland, and it's not the same pronunciation as "lock" but with a softer sound toward the back of the throat. Being a Sunday with gorgeous weather, Castlewellan Forest Park was chock-a-block. It seemed everyone had either their children or dogs (or both) with them today and everyone was out joyfully camping, fishing, walking, and kayaking. In places like Ireland and London, people cherish sunny days whereas in LA and Australia, people take them for granted. As I wandered round the lake of the same name as the park, I just couldn't keep my snap-happy finger off my camera.

It's hard to believe that Belfast and Dublin are both several degrees further north than St. John's, Newfoundland yet the climate is much warmer. The Gulf Stream moderates the climate, and Heiko said temperatures generally drop to only slightly below freezing in winter. With the large number of dogs out today, it's no surprise that another beagle looking just like Eddie would show up.

One thing I did differently today is that I didn't bother to see if there were any geocaches here, even though there likely are. I was focused on the beautiful scenery instead. Castlewellan Castle looks lovely across the lake.

Heiko would give me an idea for a brilliant photo of cattails.

Though the castle is beautiful, it's not possible to visit the interior.

Food is good after a long walk, so we called in at the onsite cafe for a late lunch. Though I wanted fish & chips, they were out of half of what's on the menu and they don't accept plastic, but I opted for a steak burger with chips. Across the lough back in Portaferry, we called in at the pub for my first pint of Guinness.

The DJ spilled Irish beer on his vinyl, and I said "you have a new Guinness record." That's part of my comedy routine. We opted to get lamb for dinner this evening. Initially I suggested picking up pumpkin, carrots, and other veggies and making Aunty Jo's recipe, Heiko suggested tomatoes and capsicum and making it Mediterranean-style. Heiko lived in Italy and Bulgaria for several years and enjoys the region's cooking and cuisine. Before dinner, I'd take Juliett to the sky and do a video of the property for Heiko: my first time doing a drone video for somebody. If I want to be a certified drone pilot, I must practice more often.

Med-style lamb with potatoes and blanched nettles infused with onions came out superb.

Heiko made some find of remark how at a place he dined at once, the waiter said "you must not like your food, because you didn't take a photo of it." You can't beat a home-cooked meal whilst travelling. Staying with Heiko and Susan has been a fabulous experience. Since they have a yurt in their backyard it has inspired me to consider Mongolia as a future adventure.

What a complete today it was today with drone-flying, walking, beautiful weather and scenery, and tasty food. With beautiful experiences like this, how can I ever quit travelling?

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