Mark & Gatya :: Greetings from Ireland!.....


Greetings from Ireland!.....


... and picking up from where we left off on our last trip in 2004... We had the van stored in a barn in Devon, miraculously it started up, and we're on the road again...

Now it's mid July and we've been a month in Ireland already - long enough to get a good taste of the 'craic' in a country with a rich, vibrant tradtion and a people who despite their fair share of suffering have maintained a heartful humanity and a spicy humour - very easy going and willing to engage in a bit 'o the blarney.

Ireland is full of crumbling ruins bearing testament to its colourful history, including many neolithic sites we both enjoy exploring - dolmens, passage tombs, beehive huts etc - some over 5000 years old, often in remote and wild places, or sometimes just in a sheep field next to a busy road...



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We made our way across the south of Ireland from Dublin, but it wasn't until we came to the west coast that we found the magic we were looking for in the landscape - wild hills, a rugged coastline, mists and mystery...

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We had a great introduction to Irish traditional music and pub culture the week we spent in Miltown Malbay on the Clare coast or the annual Willie Clancy festival. There must be 20 pubs in the village, all packed day and night with fiddlers, pipers, whistlers and other musicians and gallons of Guiness going down til the wee hours of the morning. There were old codgers playing along with youngsters, even in parked cars, kitchen and spilling onto the streets... amazing!

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Right now we're taking a break from travelling, parked up at a quiet and beautiful beach on the Dingle Peninsula on the far west coast, swimming in the Atlantic and enjoying what the locals say is the best summer since '95 (poor blighters!) - the water is certainly invigorating, and makes a passable substitute for a shower...

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This last week we've had a bit of a heat wave with the temperature in the low 20's! It finally feels like summer here. We've been exploring the coastline and foraging for mussels and periwinkles on the rocks at low tide - wonderful that we can find places so quiet in the main tourist season. The days are long in this northern summer, still light til 11, and a sense of timelessness pervades.


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Sunset, waves lapping in the bay, seagulls crying and time to say goodbye for now...

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Sending you much love

Mark and Gatya




Mark & Gatya :: Europe Trip 04



Hello friends!
(and special personal greeting to Sammy as requested)

Well, we’ve been 9 months on the road from Byron now (six of them in the van!) and it's time for the next instalment...

Remember back in February when we were heading out of Spain and down to Portugal?...
... the story continues...

We travelled slowly around the south and west coast, finding lots of very beautiful beaches and free camping places in the natural park away from the touristy areas of the Algarve, ate fish and collected wild mussels off the rocks, swam and enjoyed the warmer but windy weather and generally just had a lovely relaxing time.


Then meandered north and inland to places like Evora, where Mark discovered the delights of traditional convent-style Portuguese pastries....



and we spent a few magical misty nights parked up near 5000 year old dolmens and standing stone circles...


Did lots of walking in places like the really gorgeous Peneda Geres national park with its stunning scenery and medieval villages (and people)


and then we popped out the top and back into Spain, to Galicia and the treacherous Costa del Morte (coast of death) on the Atlantic.



More walking in the spectacular and practically deserted Picos de Europa national park (lots of snow still, in April)...



...beautiful, and spring always in the air.


Now we have just arrived back in France to Kiya's house in Bayonne, and it's great to be able to enjoy good conversation with a freind for a change - the lack of connection with other people over an extended period has probably been the most difficult aspect of this trip, or at least the most isolating. Many times we've met really beautiful and interesting people, but without a common language it's very difficult. That personal exchange is definitely something we are both missing now, and we're really beginning to look forward to being in Australia and England again and seeing our friends there. In the meantime we are doing really well together and are always amazed at how we manage in the tiny space we're living in.
One thing's for sure, we're certainly ready for a change from the Spanish diet...




Anyway it's all been a wonderful experience so far and now we're preparing for the last phase of our trip - not sure what that's going to be yet, perhaps more time in France, which we love, or to Ireland...
... to be continued...

love
Gatya and Mark




... Gatya & Mark having a rest
at Devakrishna & Meera's place
Allschwill - Switzerland



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