The Girl That Wouldn't Leave
Dingle Travel Blog› entry 53 of 113 › view all entries
August 5th, 2008 – by: afredrix
Carlos from Spain and Fabien from France have been living and working in Cork for about a year. I was just one of many in the stream of couchsurfers that have claimed their air mattress, but I now hold the title for the longest stay. (I'll take this as a compliment to our compatibility rather than evidence that I don't know when to leave.) The guys were great, and I couldn't argue with Carlos' unyielding offers to cook dinner. Apparently that's the way they work, regardless of guests or not: Carlos is a good cook, so he does. Fabien can't cook, so he survives on Carlos' food.
It was the fruitless search for my next couch that postponed my departure. I didn't want to leave southern Ireland without seeing the famously beautiful County Kerry. There are couchsurfers dotted throughout the county's small coastal towns, but by the time I weeded out the unavailables, ones that haven't been on the site since they signed up in 2005 or the guy with the homemade multi-paneled tin shed for a house, I was left with about four people to choose from. And when those four didn't answer, I started to lose hope.
Carlos saved the day with the idea of a rental car and roadtrip, and when the weekend rolled around, we were off.
A couple hours later, we were off. Again. This time four people in the car, and freshly-baked cookies to boot. I knew it was a good idea to turn back for Darragh! We made it to the coastal town of Baltimore and parked our car by the cliff-top beacon. We set out on what I thought was an innocent poke about the hillside.
An hour or more later--after losing track of any or all cow paths we'd been using as guides, being forced to forge our own way through the prickly hills and valleys, before finally following a stream to freedom--we escaped the thistles and stumbled upon the country rode that would lead us to safety.
After a few hours and a couple pints at the Baltimore pubs, we had to make our way back to the car and our soon-to-be campsite. We opted for the smoother road route this time around, but without any flashlights, blindly stumbled our way up the pitch black path. The moon was nowhere to be seen, but the star-filled sky and a 5-second long shooting star kept our attention and noses in the air until we finally completed the 2-mile trek.
The top of the cliffs weren't exactly legal campgrounds, but at 2 in the morning, pitching the tent directly in front of our car would have to do. Trying to set up a tent with 50-mile-an-hour winds and 2 drunk boys is an adventure, let me tell you.
So that's how we slept. Four sleepingbag-wrapped cocoons, stuffed into a tent made for 2.5, watching the tent inhale and exhale around us, convinced that any moment the rain fly would take off and end up in New York by morning. But it didn't. I'm not sure how it survived (possibly the additional boulders Carlos threw on top of the stakes in the middle of the night) or how we hadn't all suffocated from the tent that was now collapsing at all angles and about 2-feet high.
The rest of our roadtrip was equally scenic, but far less entertaining to write about. We made a loop around the County of Kerry, driving through little coastal towns, beaches and windy mountain roads. Carlos, being the driver and most hungover, wasn't quite in the mood for a leisurely Sunday spin. So most of those those scenes whizzed by my window as we made our way to the peninsula town of Dingle. At this point, we started running out of time with the rental. So a coffee and jaunt to some less-than-exciting "ruins" were pretty much our Dingle experience. Having ogled the coasts and valleys, hiked the prickly hills and survived the dancing tent, it was time to head home. Back to Cork we went.
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