Day 119 - 121: Farewell Scotland & Hello Ireland
Day 119 - 121: Farewell Scotland & Hello Ireland
With a spontaneous change of plans on Thursday because of a lovely talk with my new host in Northern Ireland, my stay in Glasgow got shortened by one day and one night. This meant that I organized a whole day in Glasgow to visit the two parks I wanted to see before leaving: Queen's Park and Rouken Glen Park.
It seemed to be easy since GoogleMaps told me to take bus 38 from a specific bus stop only 15 minutes away. Turns out there are multiple different private bus companies in the city, some of them with the same numbers but all of them varying their bus stop locations due to construction sites and street alterations. Four locals and three bus drivers later I was on a bus 57 and on my way to Queen's Park, a triumph against the odds, which turned out to be very nice. There was even a little area with trees and paths between them reminding me of trails in Aarau, only a lot shorter, and additionally I got to make a lovely connection with a Glasgowegian woman named Francis and her dog Max.
Another local and another bus driver later I even figured out which bus would get me to Rouken Glen Park and it indeed was the number 38. Rouken Glen turned out to be the most splendid of all the parks I visited so far. The outstanding Glen Trail is best described as an escape to a river- byway along a mountainside with lots of green, stones, trees, moss and interconnected paths. We spend nearly four hours there, including some lunch from a cafe situated near a small lake with three islands in it.
I achieved what was the goal when we came home, Marjorie could not keep her eyes open and I knew that our early departure in the morning, with only half an hour for her needs, would suffice.
Said and done, we left the hotel at 7:30, had a direct train to Stranraer and a taxi lift to Cairnryan where the Stena Line ferry port was. At 11:30, just before lunchtime, I entered the terminal building, expecting someone to be there that I could ask to safekeep my backpack so that I was able to have a nice walk along the coastline with Marjorie. I pictured a small cafe where I could have a coffee, maybe even lunch.
Turns out there literally was nothing there except the waiting area and three vending machines with no vegan food and the coffee machine broken. Also it is against the law for someone else to safekeep your luggage and for you to just leave it behind. This meant that Marjorie and I had three hours in front of us, bound to "Uwe", our backpack, at the Stena Line grounds with nothing else than a long stripe of two meter width of grass outlining the area.
Ten degrees Celsius was not much, but I wanted Marjorie to have fresh air and at least some kind of nature before our two hour ferry ride, plus she had been asleep for most of our nearly three hour train ride with the result that she was wide awake now. All that said and a long waiting time cut short, we were outside for the most part, I did an outdoor online course catch up, Marjorie had a "search the food" game to keep her mind occupated, and at 3:30 in the afternoon the ship left the port in Cairnryan and entered the sea through Loch Ryan.
It is mandatory to put your dog in a kennel while on the ship, so I was assured over the phone buying the ticket that the kennels were on the passenger deck and I could stay with Marjorie the whole time. Upon our arrival on board though the staff directed us to the car deck when I was asking for the dog kennels, which would mean I had to lock Marjorie up down there and leave her alone as passengers are not allowed on the car deck during the passage across the ocean. My heart ached thinking about it and although I did not want to cause a scene of any kind, I simply was not able to leave her down there, especially because I know that the majority of car alarms go off during a ferry ride creating a most fearsome environment.
The nice man at the main entrance pointed out that he needed to talk to someone if there was a possibility for us to stay outside on the promenade deck instead and told us to wait there for his return. Luckily the captain himself agreed to have Marjorie on the promenade deck if we would stay out there for the entire ride, to which I happily agreed.
Long story cut short we finally arrived in the harbour of Belfast and were expected by our host Stewart. Not only had he been kind enough in assisting me beforehand with my troubles concerning getting from Scotland to Northern Ireland, he also arranged it so that he could get us from the port in Belfast himself and made a detour in order for me to buy food for Marjorie. Finally at 7:30 in the evening we arrived at our new home for the next two months, Tullyquilly House in Rathfriland. Needless to say that after a day without food in my system and a lot of being outside with low temperatures, Marjorie and I were cold, tired and hungry. After a delicious self-made leek and potatoe soup, it was time to recharge with a warm bed and a good night's sleep.
Sunday started out with bright sunshine and Stewart kindly taking me along with him to Tollymore Forest Park. While he went for a run and afterwards a swim in the nearby ocean, Marjorie and I enjoyed ourselves running along the Shimna River with the most amazing bit of nature, a park out of a dream.
All woods and paths criscrossing, huge stones, enchanted meadows, waterfalls and magical stone bridges from the 19th century and older. Apparently this park served Game of Thrones for several different settings, "The WIlding Camp", "Kingsroad" or "The Haunted Forest north of the Wall" to name a few.
We met up again at the harbour of Newcastle later, after walking through the park, alongside a short concrete bit, through Newcastle and directly to the beach.
Because of the weather forecast it was best to have some work done in the afternoon and have only half a day of work on Monday in exchange for the half of Sunday. First I was shown around the house and gardens, barns and the sites I would be working on. Afterwards I drove a motorised lawn mower for the first time ever and got the grass clippings to the compost area. There was not enough time to weed and cover all of the raised beds with the clippings, so instead I covered them up with reusable plastic bags to keep the rain from messing up the grass.
Another delicious dinner and a very warm, delightful phonecall with my dearest friend in Switzerland, rounded up the first full day here in Northern Ireland.
I am looking forward to this next two months, expecting a different kind of secludedness, an inner journey if you will. Focusing on a quieter day to day life, focusing on my yoga and meditation practices, different and challenging new skillsets to achieve, rural and green areas to discover, a very kind and gentle new personality to get to know.
Tired as I am now I will go to sleep sending all of you, beloved souls, love and light