Wednesday, August 15, 2007

3 Day Weekend

In the weekend in the middle of the conference I took a bus halfway across Ireland to visit a Japanese friend of mine living in Galway. Dublin hadn't exactly felt Irish, particularly as everyone I met was from overseas, but Galway had a very Irish feel. Full of pubs and drunk people. Also the nice small lanes, churches, and country side, but mainly the pubs, which strangely all close at about 1 am.

From Galway we took a day trip out to the Aran Islands, which despite Ireland's almost perpetually damp and unappealing weather, have to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Fields divided by ancient stone walls, castles thousands of years old, and even a white sand beach. But best of all, it actually stopped raining for most of the afternoon and turned into quite a pleasant day.

We hired bikes as it was about 10kms to the main castle we wanted to visit, and there were a lot of things along the way that buses wouldn't have stopped at. Explored a couple of nice castles along the way and one very nice ruined church. Check my brand new mechanical pocket watch that I had brought in Japan, and seeing we had time, even stopped for a bit at the beach.

Finally got to the castle, and had a nice relaxing lunch lying in the sun on the side of a 100m cliff plunging into the Atlantic. This time checked the time on my cell phone, and was somewhat shocked. Turns out I had forgotten to wind my watch that morning, and it was actually about an hour later than I had thought. The next 30 minutes of my life involved a quick trip down a hill and an energetic bike ride back to the boat that was about to leave. Got there 4 minutes before it set sail.

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