So is it really May? Did 4 months just pass me by, because I didn’t feel them go? It won’t be long before September is here. However, I have great fear that my mini-Camino will pass me by and I’ll be wishing I was still there when I return home.
That was the case during the long Bank Holiday weekend. It was as close to a trip to the Camino – without leaving this country of mine..and it was great!! I met up with good friends who were on the same level as myself, we ate great Spanish cuisine and drank probably too much riojan wine. And lastly I walked and climbed through the hills of Limerick in Ireland. There were a few showers of rain or hail on Monday but they only made us stronger.
To start with, I met Nidarosa (from Somewhereslowly.com) and her friend in Dublin city on Saturday night. They had completed the final 110km of the Camino and they were still in Camino-mode. They discussed their week long trip with me as we ate tapas from the Salamanca Tapas restaurant. I would recommend eating there, the food is delicious. It was great to see Nidarosa again and meet another Camino friend! The night turned from young to old but we said our goodbyes until next time.
The previous week, I had arranged to meet J and C, 2 of my Irish Camino buddies that I met in 2013. The earliest train to Tipperary was at 9am so that meant an early start…not so good with a hazy head! I arrived and within the next hour I was making my way to the Ballyhoura mountains in the south west of Ireland. It is generally a biking trail park but there are a few walking trails. We climbed..and climbed..and climbed until we reached the summit of Ballyhoura. I couldn’t see much life underneath me, as you can see from the pictures below. It took us a good 2 hours to reach this far, and now for the descent…the dreaded part. It was all good though. It had been raining a little beforehand but nothing on that day. The conversation ranged from our favourite albergues, Camino angels to our love of ordering the first cerveza when walking has been complete. I also got a few tips for my upcoming Camino Finisterre. The walking this day was tough but I really enjoy walking with J & C and any ache I receive is paled into insignificance. We left Ballyhoura for an amazing pasta and a few pints in a typical Irish pub. When I mean “typical Irish pub”, when you order tea or lemonade, you are from the city!!
After a lie in the next morning, we decided to head out again for another hike. This time, we would take it a little easier and walk on flatter ground. The town of Bruff and the surrounds of Lough Gur were chosen. Back roads and country lanes can be safer than the hills, but you need to be on the watch out for any budding Lewis Hamilton in the Irish countryside. It was also a little longer at 13km also. This walk is as close as you are going to get to Galicia. It even had a smell of cow in the air.
The ups and downs,
The large stone walls,
The corner shop,
The eager greeting from a passerby,
The church bell ringing.
We arrived back at base (picture above is not base) and while we had some well earned pasta and red wine, we watched Jamie Nicol’s excellent Camino film on YouTube. A tear was shed and as my head nodded in agreement with Jamie, I thought about lucky I am. I enjoy being around friends, but being with Camino friends, that you cannot buy.
I arrived home in Dublin late on Monday night and was back in the real world on Tuesday. Hopefully the aches and pains will be a warning to me to get walking before September.