Yesterday, we left our hotel in Killarney at about 5:30 a.m., Ireland time. We didn’t get to see much of Killarney, other than to find a pharmacy so I could get some ibuprofen and a cane to calm my painful left knee. We did look in a few other shops and spied a restaurant close to where we were staying that looked good for later. We went back to the hotel and a few hours later returned to Kayne’s for supper, which was very, very good. I had a dish called country chicken, which had a piece of crispy oven – roasted chicken on top of a tasty risotto with wild mushrooms. Angel had a cheese tart with carmelized onions and a very tasty salad that was big enough that we shared it. Sorry, no pictures as I had left my phone back at the hotel. After walking all week in the quiet, peaceful countryside and seashores, we both found the frenetic pace of Killarney, on race day no less, to be a bit overwhelming.
We spent the night in Toronto last night, as we have a long layover.
It is a very stark contrast to the Irish countryside.
Several people have commented that they would like to walk the Dingle Way, like we did. Some have said they would like advice on how to go about it. Let me start with sharing some things we learned.
Me, on the way from Tralee to Camp. I am still smiling, because it hadn’t gotten rough yet!
1. Don’t start in Tralee. As we learned, most people start in Camp. Unless you just like leaping from boulder to boulder over pits of mud and sheep poop which can be knee deep, or deeper, which you will find out when you miss the next boulder. If that’s your thing, though, by all means, start in Tralee.
2. Pack light. I mean it. Take a light pack, with your lunch and a couple of normal sized bottles of water. You don’t need a 3 liter reservoir in your pack. You don’t need a water filter, either. Trust me, with all the sheep and cow poo dissolved in the water, even filtering it would not make it attractive. You aren’t hiking the Sahara.
3. Don’t walk every day. Plan your itinerary to spend a couple of days in some of the villages and towns. We decided that Annascaul deserved two days, Dingle 3 days, Dunquin 2 or 3 days, with a visit to the Blasket Islands a must. We didn’t get to see the islands, as we were walking every day. We also diverted, unintentionally, but fortuitously, off the Dingle Way when we walked through Ballyferriter. There was an awesome little museum there on the history of the Dingle Peninsula. Also, by walking every 2 to 3 days, instead of every day, you can rest your body and maybe not trash your knee, like I did. But don’t worry. It will get better.
4. Don’t listen to friends advice when they tell you the food was awful when they were there. We enjoyed everything we had, and we ate. All. The. Things. I even tried white pudding and black pudding. I didn’t care for them, but I am sure as white puddings and black puddings go, they were probably good, if you like that sort of thing.
5. Don’t be afraid to try new foods. See number 4.
6. Don’t go into this experience thinking everything is going to be like home in the U.S. It isn’t. It’s Ireland. It’s a foreign country. Just look at things like light switches on the outside of the bathroom, scalding hot food and room temperature bread as just Irish realities. Embrace them as part of the charm. Be as open to new experiences as well as new food.
7. If someone offers to make you tea, take it. It is a hallmark of hospitality. Acept it graciously. Because with tea comes cake or cookies or some kind of sweet bread, usually home made. Who would say no to that?
8. Talk to people. Ask them about the area they live in. Everyone has a story to tell. I would never have known that Kristin at Glenn Dearg had sold tickets on the Dun Chaoin ferry as a girl, while her father operated the ferry, if I hadn’t hung around the kitchen door, chatting with her husband, Tom.
9. Be present and really pay attention to what’s around you. Don’t miss a thing!
10. Respect the fact that you are a visitor in their country. Be courteous, polite, and try not to be loud or obnoxious. Surprise them that not all Americans are loud and bossy.
Finally, have fun! We complete our journey back to Kansas City today. I will see you when I get home!