So, yet again, this is blogged the day after. I chose to get lots of sleep instead of staying up late blogging while Tim talked to his girlfriend. There’s this strange feeling in the back of my throat and I’m not entirely sure what it is. I could be getting sick, or my allergies could be acting up. Either way, sleep felt like a good call.
Yesterday dawned at the usual time and upon exiting our room to seek breakfast I found that breakfast looked quite tasty. It was in fact quite good, this time though I finally decided that instant coffee just would not do and proceeded to get some tea. Good call. While we were eating breakfast and discussing our plans to head out to the Cliffs of Moher (well worth it if it’s sunny according to our Israeli roommate Yo-Tom) a Canadian girl started talking to us. It turned out that her friends and her were planning on catching the same 2 hour bus ride to the cliffs. She was very nice (as most Canadians are) and so we joined our team with hers and had friends for our trip. Yo-Tom also came on the bus ride. He seemed like he needed a friend and had previously invited us to do things with him, but he wasn’t much of a talker and I didn’t try real hard to get him to be a part of things either…Sigh. It’s got to suck being all the way in Ireland from Israel and not be able to make friends easily.
The bus ride was incredible. The Irish countryside which the day before had seemed all wet and unfortunate was suddenly gloriously sunny and great. The green fields were very very green and the barnyard animals seemed quite chipper out and about in the hilly, stone-walled places that they were in. As we drew near to where the cliffs are we passed through these hills that seemed to be made of square-ish stones. Really big ones. The grass made half-hearted attempts to cover the hills, and the result was this green-grey patchy business that stood boldly forth for many miles. There were rock walls that obviously were made by taking rocks from the hills and stacking them and they were enormously long. I though of it as the Irish equivalent of shoveling the walk that’s covered in snow…except that some unfortunate Irish boy spend his entire childhood building this wall to keep the sheep from wandering onto big rocky cliffs.
As we rode there Tim got somewhat car-sick and so the road there was not his most favorite of times. I on the other hand had a very pleasant time talking to the Canadian girls who came with us. They mentioned that the cliffs we were going to see were the “cliffs of Insanity” from the princess bride. That was a cool fact. I think there’s only one Canadian person that I haven’t enjoyed being around. So thus far the country has set a high bar. I was reminded of my friend Deanna in talking to them. Deanna is getting married soon to her fiancé Steve. They’re both Canadian and I hope I get invited to the wedding.
Eventually we got to the cliffs. It’s very hard to express how incredible it was to see these things. They apparently stretch 8km on the West Coast of Ireland and really give a man an idea of his mortality. They’re HUGE. Biggest cliffs I’ve ever been on that stretch many hundreds of feet down to a rock-filled greenish sea. A wall had been built to keep idiots from careening to their doom. There was also a sign that showed someone falling off the cliff with a line through it. I took it to be saying, “Don’t be a chump.” We explored the part of the cliff that had a little tower on it, but as Rick Steves had mentioned that one has to pay to go up the tower we decided to pass. I got some seriously great pictures. No doubt that Char Beck or Kile Peterson could snag better shots…but they weren’t here…So I took the si pies (sick pics).
As we walked on it was evident that some people had got really close to the cliffs and we weren’t sure of how that was done. Upon closer inspection there was a memorial to the people who died on the cliffs and a sign that said “private property” that one had to bypass to get on to the well-trodden path…lots of other people were out there so we went too. It was great. There was this place where you could lay on your stomach and look straight down into the crashing blue-green waves or if you looked out you could see the clouds stretching on forever over the Atlantic ocean. One of the Canadian girls we were with got very nervous about our looking over the edge and wanting to throw rocks over as well. No harm came of it, but she was probably right. We could have fallen to our doom. Didn’t happen though, and as a result we got some really cool pictures and memories. Only one of the Canadian girls (named Andy…dunno what that’s short for or if her parents named her Andrew…) was bold enough to go where Tim and I went. I was impressed, especially in the context of her worrier friend. Throwing rocks off the side was well worth it. I wish the rocks were bigger though…
On our way out (we really only had about an hour and a half before the bus left—the next bus exited at six…about 5 hours in the future) we got ice cream cones. Tim had been really craving ice cream almost the whole trip and had failed to get it when I bought it in Scotland. He got it this time. Way to go Tim. On the way back all of us fell asleep, while I think that I was the only one to have drooled on myself. Oh well.
We got back and bid the Canadian girls farewell and went looking for dinner at the grocery store, we chose to cook again, and this time I did some minor reflection on my diet and realized I need to start eating more fruits and vegetables. With that in mind I got some salad fixings and we had a full course meal complete with a tomato, spinach, and pepper salad. Big win.
After this we took some time to sit around and do things. I ended up going to mass at St.Nicholas’ Cathedral in Galway. I was really glad to have gone, especially since this last Sunday was the first Sunday here that I hadn’t been to church. Mass was a real treat, though the Irish catholics say everything so fast and the liturgy is just a hair different. I couldn’t keep up for the most part, whereas in US Catholic Mass I find myself being able to participate in about 90% of the mass through my Lutheran roots. Anyway, they were celebrating the feast of the Archangels and the homily was talking about the Angels that make up the heavenly host and that we walk alongside them in relationship with God. That was comforting. It’s nice to remember that I’m not without backup out here in lands unexplored by me.
When it came time for communion I went up expecting to receive a blessing from the officiant because I’m not Catholic. I don’t pretend to be anymore to trick them into giving me communion, but rather I cross my arms and get blessed instead. I think every Christian ought to receive communion, but I don’t see that it makes much sense to have to lie in action to participate in the Lord’s Supper. So, I went for the blessing, but the person giving us the elements (bread and wine) wasn’t a priest so he didn’t know what it meant. Instead of blessing me, he thought it meant that I wanted him to feed me communion. Which he did. So…well…I guess the Lord thought I needed communion too.
I walked through the Cathedral before leaving and looked at the stained glass and the murals. It was a beautiful building and the art that adorned the inside was totally different than anything that I’d yet seen in a Catholic Church. Dunno exactly how to convey that aside from saying that the glass seemed like more of a new-age interpretation of stained-glass art work. It was still great, but it was as though they wanted the old tradition to come out of new ideas of expression. An admirable move and tastefully done. They still had the standard things though. The crucifix, stations of the cross, etc…I liked it lots.
I went back to the hostel and blogged a bit and looked for couchsurfing options. It’ll work out just fine. I’m confident in the Lord on that one at least for today, if I can do that, if I can receive the daily bread that I need from the Lord then that will do. After I got done with the computer time Tim and I headed out to the live music pub again, but I didn’t find it as fun as last night. After awhile we headed back to the hostel and I went to bed.
It was a full and exciting day. Apparently the Canadian girls might be in Spain when I get there, it’d be nice to have friends there already…But I guess that either way the Lord will provide me with friends wherever I go. He has thus far. No reason to expect anything different.