Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cycle Touring Day 15

I left Dublin with mixed emotions this morning. When I originally left, last August, and moved back to the UK, I knew that I would be back in Dublin on this mini UK and Ireland tour. I knew that it would only be a few months before I saw friends and family again and I knew that when I did come back, I would be doing so in an entirely different light. But as soon as the boat had left Dublin this morning, I found myself feeling a little emotional - not something I am known for!

I had a great week in Dublin. I got to see all the people I wanted to see and chatted with many of them more intensely than I probably had in the past. This time I also listened more. As much as my new adventure is about seeing, doing and telling, I also want to listen to and learn more about the people around me and about their lives. Being in Dublin as a visitor for the first time in 14 years, I tried to look upon it with a new perspective and not as just a city I used to commute through.

Leaving this morning, I knew that it would be at least a few years before I went back, if indeed I ever went back. That kind of made me feel a little odd. All week I had been saying goodbye to people but they had been happy goodbyes. Everyone had wished me well on my trip and often said they wished they could be doing it too. When your family and friends don't think you're mad to be doing what you're doing, it becomes easier to accept that maybe you're not so strange after all.

To those of them who are reading this, thank you all for a wonderful week and for meeting up with me, for hosting me and for feeding me so well. In many cases, I made better friends during my 12 years in Dublin than I did in the previous 24 years in England. I will always have a soft spot for Dublin and now think of it of as my home more than I currently do and possibly ever will do of England. I won't miss the quality of the roads though, that's for sure!

The glorious skies, under which I left Dublin, had returned when we docked in Holyhead but even the sun doesn't make me want to spend much time there, so after stocking up on food, I set of across Anglesey. My first destination, at which I also stopped for lunch, was the railway station at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch which I had missed out on seeing on Day 6 due to time constraints. As I had no deadline to be home this week, I literally could take all the time in the world to see and do what I wanted in the coming few days. I certainly did just that over the following few hours. The scenery in Wales is simply stunning and I wished I had my digital SLR and wide-angle lens with me to capture it better.

After lunch and once across the Menai Suspension Bridge over the Menai Strait the climbing began in earnest. Other than 30 minutes or so cycling through a valley, the rest of the day was pretty much spent pounding away on climbs. The views and the sun could not dampen my spirits though and I made sure I enjoyed the experience as much as my legs would let me. There was a real sting in the tail at the end of today in the shape of a big climb. After which, I ended the day a little earlier than I had originally intended upon seeing yet another big climb ahead of me which I thought I would leave that one until the following morning.

I camped for the night in a place called Dolgellau. The campsite was more expensive than the previous sites I had experienced but the facilities were certainly worth the extra few quid. Once again I was pretty much the only one there for the entire night which always makes for a good-as-can-generally-be-accepted-night's-sleep-in-a-tent.

Leaving Dublin for the possibly last time. To the left, in the distance, the Little Sugar Loaf and Great Sugar Loaf Mountains in the Wicklow Mountains and Poolbeg Lighthouse in the foreground.

Getting the shot of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch that I missed out on, on Day 6.

A strategically and aesthetically located viewpoint with views over the Menai Strait and Menai Suspension Bridge with Snowdonia in the background.

The beauty of travelling by bicycle is that one gets to enjoy more of the scenery more as it passes by at a more leisurely pace.

One could quite literally spend all day taking photographs of the stunning scenery throughout Wales. Due to weight restrictions, I could not carry my digital SLR with 10-20 wide-angle lens with me this time, but now that I have my trailer, I hope to make a much better stab at scenery shots in the future :)

1 comment:

  1. WOW wow and WOW!!!!! oh and bless you my friend, what an emotional time for you, you'll go back I'm sure, perhaps you could take me and two others though for a cracking weekend? xx