I hate starting the day cycling into the rain. When camping it means packing a wet tent, but even from a hostel the day starts wet, and if/when the day goes downhill, I have no one but myself to blame. Even if I’m only cycling to a train or a bus, I have to deal with wet gear on the bus or train.
Rain hammered my window this morning, but as I packed the rain ceased, the sun came out, and the sky turned a cerulean blue. The forecast shifted from thunder and hail to scattered showers with a 30-40 kph direct tailwind. More than once this trip I’ve unnecessarily ducked non-existent rain. I left for the 8:47 bus, and cycled past the bus station for the 67 km ride to Derry. I feel much better today; energy levels feel back to normal.
10 km outside of town I passed a sign showing 78 km to Derry.
I saw my first Ireland rainbow for thus tour. I stopped to take a phone, and then remembered the cause of rainbows: sun and rain. I can tell when the rain will start: The sky greys over, the temperature drops significantly, a few drops of rain fall. Sometimes I can see the rain on the hill nearby. Most of the day, blue skies and sun surrounded me; when that changed I knew to hide. Rain fell four times on my ride to Derry, twice with serious intent. Dashing for shelter, I ducked the rain every time, taking advantage of: an abandoned farm building; a burnt out gas station; a gas station; and a bus stop.
A steep downward hill preceded my descent into Derry, and only at the last moment did I narrowly avoid the brambles reaching out at head level, successfully not veering into traffic, losing an eye, nor ripping my rain gear. As I cycled into town, it began to rain. I passed Tourist Information as the hostel displayed on my map. I arrived at the location for the hostel, and the building had a For Sale sign. Not good. I had pre-reserved the hostel, so I ducked under a tree and checked the confirmation email for the address. While at the right place on the GPS, the address in the email differed. Fortunately the hostel moved only around the corner, so a short ride later I checked in. The owners eclectically decorated the interior. One regret from the trip is not taking a photo of every place I stayed, if only to remind me as my memories fade.
I walked to city center, and the medieval walls of Derry. As a walled city, buildings crowd into each other inside the walls. To gain more space, three department stores are built into the hill, three stories on one side, and one story on the other. While in town I visited Tourist Information, leaving with the usual stack of information, including information on Giants’ Causeway, potential cycle routes, and a nearby castle falling into the sea.
Tomorrow’s forecast calls for no rain, not even passing showers, and a tailwind to the Giant’s Causeway, so I’m looking forward to the ride, and might have the patience to trade time for traffic. I made a reservation at the hostel just outside the entrance to the park, so everything should be all set.
After that only four nights remain. From the Giant’s Causeway I have a two day ride to Belfast, and a three+ day ride to Dublin. I debated visiting Giants’ Causeway, and then riding directly on to a train station to spend the night in Belfast, but instead decided to take my time. Trading cycling time for time in Belfast, Tourist Information provided train schedule information from nearby to Belfast; a train lets me spend most of the day in Belfast, instead of two days of cycling and no time in the city. If I find enough of interest, I’ll spend another day in Belfast before heading to Dublin.