150925

The GPS indicates I cycled 234 km today.

I never have to worry about thinking that touring for four months makes me unique as I regularly meet people on a journey making mine but a brief jaunt. I met James at the hostel last night. Four years ago he retired, sold (or gave away) all of his possessions, and travels the world, ducking in and out of Europe based on Schengen time. He spends some of that time doing voluntourism with different organizations. 

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Tourist Information yesterday didn’t know a route out of town, but gave me several maps. As a base plan I just followed the highway until I left town, and then veered onto smaller, more scenic road. Tourist agencies use “more scenic” because “many hills” does not have the same ring to it. Fortunately I have energy again, even if I used most of it today. I crossed a number of long steep hills, but I had great views of the coastline. 

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Dunluce Caste partially fell into the sea in the 17th century, unsurprisingly causing the general abandonment of the property. They think a lot of their castle, as entry costs roughly $20. I wandered about the outside, but I’m not supporting that level of price-gouging. I learned from a fellow hostel resident a few days ago that the Giant’s Causeway costs money only if you choose the audio tour, although the signs hadn’t make that clear. A helpful tip, as the Giant’s Causeway has great scenery and I preferred to enjoy the day in silence.

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I wondered exactly where to find the hostel for tonight as they provided limited directions, but passed the hostel on the way to the Giant’s Causeway. Two girls from the hostel last night, Featherdawn and Sophie, hitched to the Giant’s Causeway today, and also stay here tonight. Another nice hostel, with a view of the northern coast from the sun room.

Tomorrow I cycle back through Bushmills city, and likely take the Bushmills Distillery tour. I took the Jameson Whiskey distillery tour on my first tour in Ireland, and the impacts of that visit stretch forward to today. On that tour, I cycled up to the distillery as two tour buses arrived. The tour consisted of myself and folks in their 70s and 80s. In talking with them, they all saved money all their lives, and were now living the dream of touring in Europe. During the tour, their walkers and wheelchair constantly caused them to either detour or not visit parts of the plant. I realized I didn’t want to save money my entire life, to then travel after a normal retirement age in a disabled state. The whiskey tasting afterwards? Unrelated.

After visiting Bushmills, I will cycle 15 km to the rail line, and ride the train to Belfast. I have a reservation for a hostel in Belfast for two nights, and will make reservations in Dublin for the last two nights. Hopefully the airport has a box for the bike, and I can spend the remainder of my time touring Dublin.

As to the GPS? In bicycle mode the GPS refuses to let me cycle on a highway. In this case the only path the GPS would provide required cycling all the way back to Donegal, because the bridge today counted as a highway, and the next bridge sat on the other side.

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