I began my day chatting with Kathleen (the German woman from last night) over breakfast, and then back in the room we added the motorcyclist (who we will refer to as Franz, although I never caught his name) to the fray. In pondering my future route, Kathleen suggested I grab a train/bus to Dublin, and then play a more conventional tourist until I felt better. I sometimes have a hard time breaking out of cycle tourer mode, and I welcomed the suggestion.
That left only the decision of how to get from here to a transport hub. Clairemorris, Galway, and Westport all rest about 40 km from here, both close and far away. Kathleen suggested and discarded giving me a ride, as her small rental car doesn’t lend itself to moving a bike. At that point I had mostly decided to stay in Cong for the day, but Franz decided to continue to help. He approached the couple from the Netherlands who had a bike rack on their car about giving me a ride. They clearly had reservations about that plan, and it took me a while to untangle things with my plan of resting for the day.
Franz headed to Westport. Given the weather, Kathleen decided to abandon her plan of hiking today to visit friends. During that discussion we woke Bruno, our fourth roommate (at 10:00 am so I didn’t feel all that bad).
I then spent most of the morning and early afternoon hanging out with Bruno, while rains fell. Bruno started working at Ashford Castle last week, and uses the hostel as a base while straightening out his living situation. Bruno lived with his father in Westport before starting work in Cong, but originally hails from Argentina. He plans to travel the globe, working when necessary in high-end hotels to earn money. We spent much of the day talking about geo-politics and perceptions of the US and other countries before he finally had to head to work.
From Bruno I learned that Ashford Castle was a medieval castle that has been expanded and turned into a five star (and very expensive) luxury hotel and golf course, with only the grounds open to tourists. In a light rain I walked with him to work, which as he suspected meant I avoided the entrance fee to the grounds – very kind of him.
From there I cycled into Cong, picking up supplies and seeing what else I might have missed the day before. On the way back to the hostel I followed a sign to a cave, but a huge lock presented itself on the door to the cave, stopping myself and two other cyclists I met. They asked where I had started cycling, and did not expect an answer of “Istanbul”. They commented I’d cycled across Europe, and I had not thought of this trip that way, more by day and country.
After that I returned to the hostel, and after that long tiring day, I took a nap. While lying in bed I could feel my heart pounding, and took my pulse – 48. Given that my pulse normally falls in the 60-70 range, apparently cycling changed a few things.
I generally prepare a very basic fare when cycling, but tonight I stepped things up a bit (which for me means actually cooking beef and pasta sauce), which at least went better than last night. I had to throw some of it away; too much food!
Given the possible destinations, and weather-dependent, I plan to make the 40 km ride tomorrow to Westport, having confirmed availability at the hostel. I hope to cycle with the wind, and maintain any dry window I find. The morning forecast looks good, although the afternoon forecast for “widespread through the afternoon with a few turning heavy or possibly thundery” bears careful consideration. Bruno provided a lot of advice on how to get in and around Westport, and on the train from there to Dublin. He also mentioned the castle in Westport, reportedly one of the most beautiful historic houses in Ireland.
At this point almost everyone around me has a cold, so doom clearly approached one way or the other. Holiday season apparently runs directly into cold season in more ways than one.