All trip I’ve woken up at about 6:30 am, but gone back to sleep until around 7:30 am. With rain in the forecast for early afternoon, I had a long way to go, and a short time to get there, so this morning when I woke I started moving in the cold morning air. I hung the tent up to dry in the sun, but did not have the patience today to wait for it to dry, and I rolled out by 8. The first 45 km were, effectively, flat, and I made great time.
As I started to search for a place to eat lunch, I encountered a McDonald’s, which solved two problems at once. I also hoped to use their Wi-Fi, but failed. I’ve mentioned previously that much of the Wi-Fi in Europe now requires activation with a text message. Given that I can’t get a text message until have Wi-Fi … Some of the restaurants (including McDonald’s) sometimes have an option buried deep within their site to activate the Wi-Fi without a text message, but not so today.
After lunch I turned towards the Wicklow Mountains. A long day of climbing after that, but with grades averaging only about 5%; whenever I needed a lower gear I still had one to reach for. However, as the day progressed the sky began to cloud up, and temperatures dropped. Approaching Rathdrum, rain began to fall with intent. Dashing forward, I pulled into a covered walkway mere moments before the sky opened up. I opened an e-book on my phone, and settled in to wait.
Within a half hour the rain tapered off. A woman sharing my refuge told me the rain was done. She pointed out the direction of the wind and the clearing skies in that direction. We both ventured forth. I stopped at the next intersection to check the GPS, and she, walking down the sidewalk, called out to me that I was going the wrong way and pointed me in the right direction.
Only 2 km from Glendalough, the rain caught me again. Another 30 minute wait in an opportune bus stop, yet I still arrived in Glendalough by 2:30 pm, 79 km from where I started in the morning. At least some of the earlier shorter distances I now blame on Wales.
As I checked into the hostel, the sky opened up again, and rained for the next couple of hours. Once the skies cleared, I left to explore the surrounding area. Glendalough is a hiker mecca, and the Glendalough International Hostel lives up to its name. This is clearly a core destination just outside of Dublin. People are here from all over the world.
I returned to Trinity Church, a ruin nearby I had passed on the rush to the hostel. I also explored the nearby ruins of an old monastic village, including one of Ireland’s round towers, where monks would seek refuge.
From there I cycled up into the valley and the upper lake, hiking further in to explore an old mining village and waterfall at the head of the valley.
Returning to the hostel I met Bill Weir, which was a lot like meeting a mythical character. Bill’s been touring Europe, Asia, and the US constantly for decades. You can read about his travels at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/billweir . I’ve met other cyclists who’ve spoken of meeting him.
From here I have no plan. I’m a day of cycling out of Dublin, with three days before I need to head to Dublin! I’m tempted to take a rest day here tomorrow and hike the surrounding area. But then I’m still two days ahead of schedule with the same problem, and I’m convinced I can come up with a better plan with three days than two.