9.8 – London V

Screenshot (36)Desirable things just out of reach are generally frustrating for one side or the other, or even both sides.

While lying limp in the teeth of depression, happiness is often visible in the lives of others, but there’s no hope to reach it for yourself. Thus the cycle.

On a clear day you can see the peak of Denali from certain spots in Anchorage, but reaching it is certainly another matter. (coming later)

In the village of Succotz, Belize, I was only miles from Tikal, one of the biggest Mayan ruins, but getting across the Guatamalan border wasn’t allowed at the time. (to be continued)

When standing in Dover Castle, or just outside on the white cliffs of Dover, England, if the channel is not shrouded in fog or mist, you can catch a glimpse of the French coast.

 

This was easily my favorite of the castles we toured. We saw others in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, but this one was more accessible for free roaming through the halls and passage-ways.

Two friends and I had planned a trip to Ireland, and one had to cancel.  Given the fact that these particular friends were female, this cancellation added a little awkwardness to the excursion, but we both knew if we didn’t take the opportunity we might never see it again.  It was a good trip. According to my journal I wrote my account of it afterwards, sitting on the steps of St. Martin in the Fields:

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I was quite a fan of this place just because, at the time, it was an active church that kept its furnishings very basic and kept its doors open 24-7 for homeless people to find shelter.  It stands majestically in Trafalgar Square, right beside the National Gallery, which houses Raphael, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh and at that time, Picasso. The National Gallery, obviously, is a world class art gallery with millions and millions of dollars of assets, next door to a church/homeless shelter.  I guess London moved beyond whatever zoning issues might have prohibited that.

Anyway, Wales and Ireland.  Kelly and I left Euston Station and rode the train to Holyhead, at the no

 

rthern coast of Wales. Such beauty. The cold waves of the Irish Sea slowly and persistently wearing away at the rocky coast left an impression.  At Holyhead we boarded a ship – the Stena Cambria had a very battered Union Jack on its mast, and it carried us faithfully across the dark sea to Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

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The chain came from the deck of the old ship.  For the first few hours we were there, any time I said the name of the town aloud, I received looks that silently screamed “stupid American!” Finally one sweet lady was gracious enough to correct me: “Dun Leery, dear.” How the Irish could get Leery from Laoghaire, I still don’t get, but I’m no linguist.  We took a train into Dublin and wandered around on a Friday morning, stopping for lunch at The Plough, which served the best Irish Stew I’ve ever had to this day. Makes sense, doesn’t it?  We took another train to Wicklow, deposited our luggage at a quaint little B&B and went out to explore.  What we found was the ruins of old “Black Castle” and just below it at the beach, the very spot where St. Patrick was said to have first set foot on Irish soil. Eureka!

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After a good night’s sleep and a hearty Irish breakfast (cornflakes and milk, ham and egg, and soda bread) we began our walk toward the train station. We rode the train from Wicklow to Bray, from which point we hiked the top of the cliffs along the Eastern Coast toward Enniskery. Although we discovered a few places where leprechauns surely lived, none were home.

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Enniskery is the home to Powerscourt Falls – the highest in Ireland, at 121 meters. It was magnificent, and I cannot find a picture. We ended up catching a bus from a village to the actual site of the falls, and then to our surprise, had to walk another 4 miles to the falls.

Having seen the falls, we began the long walk back. I had traded the duffel bag above for a backpack in a tiny shop by this point, and we became aware that twilight was approaching faster than we could hike.  We had to make the boat back to Wales, as we had too little money to spend another night, so I stuck out my thumb with the best celtic accent I could muster, and a nice couple from Killarney translated it and gave us a ride back to the train station. Even still, we missed the boat, but did find an affordable place to stay to catch the next morning’s ship.  After a soothing journey back to London, we were met at St. Margaret’s by students visiting for Spring Break from Mississippi.

Suddenly, we were the residents rather than the tourists, and felt sympathy for these who would try to cover the U.K. in four days. Impossible! Out of reach.

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