Through Prayer and Hardship

17 06 2013

Other than the weather, yesterday and today were very different.  Yesterday we circled the Ring of Kerry.  The views were spectacular, but sharing “our” space with the many other busloads of tourists was, for us, a strange and not entirely comfortable experience.image

We did see Skellig Michael, or at least an interpretative display of the Skelligs.  These are two very small islands just off the west coast of Ireland.  In about 400 AD they were inhabited by a group of monks wanting to be closer to God.  They felt they could do this through prayer and hardship.  They certainly got the hardship.  Between the ocean and my fear of heights, I’m not keen to even visit either of these islands.

Last night, before bed, we had a short service in our guest house for whomever wanted to attend.  Sharing communion with our fellow travelers was a special experience.

Today we went back to “off-the-beaten track” sites.

Narrow roads on a bike are one thing, but for a coach, even a small one, they are a real challenge. Owen negotiates them with with skill and style.

Narrow roads on a bike are one thing, but for a coach, even a small one, they are a real challenge. Owen negotiates them with skill and style.

A high holy cross sharing space in a cow pasture, round towers and monasteries abandoned years ago. We also returned to the Burren and revisited some of the landscape we cycled through 2 weeks ago.  I’m glad we had the cycling experience, the landscape was much more dramatic from a bicycle.

Sharing historical sites with the cows.

Sharing historical sites with the cows.

Tonight we are in Kilfenora, at, of all things, a hostel.  When this place showed up in the itinerary, we looked up the hostel in Kilfenora.  Their web page describes the place as having a variety of rooms, dorms, couples, families.  After my Camino experience, I vowed to never stay in a hostel again. My assumption was that we would be getting the more private rooms.  I was wrong.  This has been a Spiritour fail. Particularly since we know, there is a town with reasonably priced accommodation only ten minutes away.

We are booked here for two nights.  If it’s a really bad night, we will be moving to a hotel tomorrow.

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3 responses

30 06 2013
Sara

Hi Jocelyn, I am really enjoying catching up on your blog now that we are back and things are settling into normal for me. It’s great to get a sense of a fellow-traveller’s experiences, and you really have a skill for capturing a lot in a few words. I feel should pipe in here re the hostel (mis-)experience: it really was not Spiritours choice, but mine, (I wanted to allow for people to stay late at the ceili without having to worry about getting to another town to sleep after bus driver’s hours). In retrospect and having a better sense of our travel mates, it was *my* fail, and a learning experience! I am grateful for the good-sportiness (I think I just made up a word) of the gang! Sara

30 06 2013
beyonddonnybrook

Hi Sara,

Thank you for your comments, I’m surprised you’re still reading the blog; I’m also surprised by the number of people who read and appreciated it while we were travelling. It seems it was worthwhile trying to find good internet access.

As for the hostel, I’m unwilling to put the “blame” on you, even if you’re trying hard to blame yourself. It may have been your initial suggestion, but Spirit Tours, their counterpart in Ireland, and even the Kilfenora hostel, should have asked more questions and made other suggestions. Offering couples their own room, would have made the hostel an OK option for all of the couples on the trip, offering an “upgrade” option at a slighter higher cost would have satisfied those who weren’t couples but didn’t want a hostel (there were B&B’s in the village), even offering a shuttle service to the next nearest town would have been an option. Those are things professional tour companies should have asked about and offered, things they are responsible for checking out. Without sounding too “_itchy” about it, those are details we pay the tour company for. Did anyone from the tour company visit the hostel and check out the accommodation?

Anyway it all worked out in the end, it was another experience and I’ve learned I still don’t like hostels (where did they find such lumpy mattresses anyway?)

I’m looking forward to our next reunion, whenever that may be,

Hugs,

Jocelyn

30 06 2013
Sara

Haha, I give up!! (sort of …)

PS I don’t prefer hostels either … ssshhh.

PPS Reading your blog is one good way to revisit and re-savour some of our journey. I have already had several inquiries about a reunion (believe it or not … Stockholm Syndrome, my husband Richard says … ) … I’m thinking sometime in the Fall after Matthew (aka the Pilgrimator, again acc. to Richard!) gets back from Europe, and when you and Ken can see clear to a trip out our way. Maybe Ruth could come up too from Mass., all things being well etc. Give Ken a pinch for me. xxx

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