A Travellerspoint blog

May 2015

The van saga

Why is English bureaucracy such a nightmare!

semi-overcast 19 °C

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We arrived back in Bristol and started van hunting. It turned out finding the van was not the hard part. We tracked down a great van up north being sold by two guys who recently did a very similar trip around Europe. It was set up brilliantly for us. Long beds, lots of storage, captain's chairs that spin around, two burner hob, sink with working tap....everything we could want.

Next came the drama that is English Bureacracy and some other minor hiccups. I'll be brief because this was dull as dishwater to do and I imagine worse to read:
1 Insurance (let's just say just because you can buy a car in the UK does not necessarily mean you can easily insure it, 47 calls and two false starts later... including two 5 hour round trips to the van, we got our insurance sorted.... I hate insurers!!)

2 UK Licence (this is the insurer's fault [plus it technically would have been illegal to drive on my Oz licence once we got back from the continent], anyway, there are no DVLA offices and everything is done by post. That's right folks three week's with my passport and licence...that is all my photo ID, in the hands of the English bureaucrats.... so scary!).... Weirdly enough it's totally legal to drive in the UK without these while all this documentation is with the DVLA... or at least that's what I was told by the post office worker, cause again, they don't have a DVLA office where you can check!!

3 Here's my top tip for new van owners: you should always learn where your lights are as soon as you buy a new van. Otherwise you can accidently switch your lights on without realising and therefore not turn them off when you leave the van to its own devices for 2 days. However, the upside is after pulling out and testing both the leisure and main batteries turned out they were shot anyway, so it was maybe a blessing in disguise... a very stressful, time consuming, worry inducing, blessing in disguise.

Now for the main event. Presenting Bessie our lovely, most reliable, absolutely glorious, van. Dad these photos are for you....
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Driving Bessie in the Lake's District

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Here she is again!

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Bessie at Loch Ness

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Bessie chilling on the Isle of Skye

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Bessie watching the sunset in the Curraing

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Bessie driving at St Andrew's (get it... driving)

Posted by Addy21 11:35 Archived in England Tagged van Comments (0)

Final night in Dublin

Music and fun

overcast 14 °C

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We had one final day in Dublin and went to a service at St Patrick's to see the church without paying and listen to the choir. We then headed into Temple Bar and went to the famous Temple Bar to have a few drinks and listen to some more live music.
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We had a great night. The music was great and the beer very tasty. It was a great final night to cap off Ireland.

Posted by Addy21 10:30 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Belfast

The North

overcast 14 °C

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We made our way to Belfast via Dublin and spent our first evening pretty quietly.
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The next day we had organised a day trip out to the Giant's Causeway which also included stops at a rope bridge over the ocean, a castle and a whiskey distillery.
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The rope bridge was at a beautiful spot but was £5 just to walk across so we skipped that and just walked around the cliffs and took in the scenery.
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The Giant's Causeway was amazing, it really doesn't look like it can be natural. It's all hexagonal blocks that look like a path leading to the sea. It's very cool.
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Belfast itself was interesting. We checked out some very cool undercover markets and got ourselves some typical Belfast snacks, then wandered over to the streets best known for the murals. There weren't as many as we were expecting but the interesting thing was how up to date they were. There were a few referencing "The Troubles" but many more talking about current conflicts around the world. It was quite cool.
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The next day we made our way back down to Dublin for the last couple of days before heading back to Bristol.

Posted by Addy21 09:32 Archived in Ireland Tagged belfast giant's_causeway Comments (0)

St Paddy's Day

Galway

overcast 14 °C

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We arrived in Galway and took it easy for a day.
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The next day we organised a day trip out to The Burren where we saw a brilliant Neolithic Dolmen and the Cliffs of Moher. The trip out included a stop at a cute little castle. Then we made our way out through the Burren. It's an amazing landscape rocky and stark but beautiful. The Dolmen was actually a pretty brilliant sight. Set on a massive rock plateau cut through by water erosion the three massive slabs used to build this thing were impressive.
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The Cliffs are truly spectacular. We walked as far as we could one way and back the other as far as we could get before our time was up. It wasn't enough time to really absorb and appreciate the beauty.
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The next day was St Patrick's Day. We loaded up on food and headed out onto the streets to see the parade. It was cute, mainly schools and local associations, apparently the money is all spent in Dublin, but it was fun to watch anyway. Then we decided to check out some of the local bars. We spent our day with a few of the other backpackers in our hostel and checked out a few pubs and knocked back a few pints. Fish and chips for dinner was a nice treat as was the Irish Coffee half way through.
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The next day was pretty quiet and we had a bit of a wander around Galway and got ourselves organised to head off to Belfast.

Posted by Addy21 08:31 Archived in Ireland Tagged galway cliffs_of_moher the_burren st_patrick's_day Comments (0)

Why I love the Irish

Walking the Kerry Way - Killarney, Cahersiveen, Waterville, Caherdaniel, Sneem, Kenmare

rain 14 °C

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We arrived in Killarney and spent the afternoon planning our next hike around a section of the Kerry Way.
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The next day we got a bus to Cahersiveen to start out. Our original plan to hike over the mountain to Waterville was dashed by the difficulty and the fact that the weather had been a bit on and off making the way incredibly boggy. We settled for walking around the road instead.
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We arrived in Waterville with time to spare and took a stroll around the village. It was a really pretty spot. We spent a night in a nice B&B and set off the next morning for our next leg.
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We made our way along the much more interesting walking track from Waterville. Unfortunately we made a wrong turn and ended up walking miles out of our way before turning back. We struggled to find the right path and ended up knocking on a local's door who very helpfully let us cut through her back paddock to get back to the path. After that it was quite a quick and beautiful walk. It's just amazing how green Ireland is. I've never seen anything to compare to it. The only hiccup was when some sheep herded together and started following at Matt's heals (we think because he had plastic bags attached to his bag and the noise was something they associated with food).
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Caherdaniel was a cute and tiny town that we almost walked right through assuming it was not a stop but just a collection of houses. We found a hostel but there was no one inside. Matt asked at a couple of the local pubs and very helpful chap called the owner (who was in Killarney shopping for her daughter's upcoming wedding) who told us to just let ourselves in (yes the hostel was completely unlocked) and make ourselves at home until she got back around 8pm. We did exactly that and made endless cups of tea and cooked up a great feed before settling in to watch some TV when she arrived to show us our room and generally give us the run down.
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The next morning we headed towards Sneem. If the path wasn't so clearly marked we would have been sure we'd missed it somewhere as the first section we were literally walking up a creek bed (at least a path that had virtually turned into a creek).
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Our shoes were soaked through in minutes and thanks to the wet and windy day, the rest of us was decidedly damp by the time we arrived in Sneem. We met some very cute little horses that also decided to follow Matt in the hope of some food.
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We struggled to find a place to stay and had a very nice young gentleman offer for us to stay in his shed. We declined as it looked a little dusty and cold and only had a single bed and spent a bit more than we would have liked on a very nice B&B down the road.
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After a brilliant breakfast we set off for the longest day of our trek and headed for Kenmare. It was another wet and not very pleasant day, the boggy ground had our feet soaked again pretty quickly despite our best efforts. By the end of the day I must say I was well and truly ready for a nice warm and comfortable bed. We were wet and muddy when we finally made our way down into Kenmare and the walk was losing a bit of its appeal in some ways. There's nothing like a gorgeous hot shower and warm B&B room to make you feel better though. We'd found a room in a nice pub and had a very chilled out evening watching TV after we'd soaked the mud out of us.
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The next day was the final walk to Kilarney which was going to be another long day. We started out well but not far in I was really feeling it. Matt encouraged me along but I was really not looking forward to the full day even though in many ways it was much easier than some of the other sections. We ran into a woman not far out of Kenmare who was running from the car park near some falls along the route (not too far out of Killarney) who very helpfully told us it wasn't that far or difficult. I struggled though, I'm not sure I was entirely well. We were finally getting close to the carpark when the woman ran back past us. We asked her how much farther and after assuring us it wasn't that far she offered us a lift the rest of the way. We gratefully accepted and were even more grateful when we realised just how much further it still was to Killarney.
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We made it to the hostel a lot earlier than expected, had a shower and then lay about and watched movies for the afternoon. It was great.
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The hike had been amazingly beautiful but I was glad it was over. The last time I was in Ireland I had remarked how lovely the people were, always friendly and helpful, and after this hike it was just reinforced tenfold. You've got to love the Irish.

After a lovely night's rest we hopped a bus to Galway.

Posted by Addy21 05:58 Archived in Ireland Tagged hike kerry_way Comments (0)

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