Today we visited Blarney Castle and took a walk in the park. Should you ever go there and fancy parks as much as I do, the € 12 (adult admission) are worth it, plan in several hours to stroll through the well curated park.
So, after a long while without travelling, I finally made it out of Germany again, even if for only a short time. The official reason was to go to “Cork HospEx Camp 2014“, but I also did long to see my sister again, who lives in Cork, Ireland. 🙂
I started on Thursday at 8am by train to Düsseldorf airport, with only hand-luggage there was no check-in, just a bit of security (which I failed, as I unbuckled my belt but forgot about the pedometer attached to it, which only fell to the floor while I stepped through the metal detector, so I was in for a pat-down) so I could browse the book store and have some coffee. Had I known I would have more time, I would have drunk my coffee more slowly. The plane was delayed inbound about an hour, it started at around 11:30am German time. So I arrived in Dublin around 12:00pm instead of 11:30am, but my bus to Cork was at 12:25. I had to go wash my hands and buy a SIM card top-up in order to have internet with my Irish SIM card, so I ran past everyone leaving the plane, I think I even might also have skipped some people in the queue for the passport check, but finally made it at 12:20 to the Aircoach Express bus to cork, which left just as I sat down (I guess, it’s a good thing to book a seat, so they know whether they’d have to wait or not). But, I already felt relaxed at this point :-). The bus trip was quite fast and on time, so I did arrive at 4pm in Cork.
In Cork the first thing I got me was a Bus Eireann commuter ticket as I would stay in Blackpool, which is some kilometres from the centre. Then, after a nice sandwich and a coffee to go I took the Blarney bus to get to Blackpool to finally see my sister :-). We went for a coffee at Costa’s and then went shopping at Aldi in the Blackpool Retail Park nearby. After settling in a bit we went with her flatmates to walk the dog, which is an adorable Alaskan Malamute, it was a nice walk up to the hills surrounding Blackpool, I was able to capture some of the view and also some nice sunsets during the walk. In the evening we went to the cinema to watch “Divergent“, a really good movie.
On Friday I went to meet the other people from the hospitality communities (BeWelcome, CouchSurfing, …), we met at “Gael Taca” cafe, where someone from the cafe explained the basics of Irish (gaelic) language to us. Also Darren, a very active local couchsurfer gave an abstract of Irish history to us in a very good lecture. Later, around mid-day we set to go to a walking tour through Cork city, where Darren and Graham also were able to enlight us regarding the history of Cork. Later that evening there was a culture night in a private room of a pub that also sported a kitchen so we could make our own pizza. I was bringing Westphalian waffles, but for some reason they lacked the usual texture. May it be my inexperience in preparing large amounts of waffle batter or the waffle iron, we’ll never know, the waffles vanished very quickly anyway ;-). The evening was very nice with handmade food, music and, most important: good-spirited people.
On Saturday on mid-day there was a free-hugs event scheduled, I was late, but so has been nearly everyone else, due to the good evening before ;-). In the end the group came together at Graham’s place and later at the Courthouse, to go on different tours from there (bike tour, walking tour, …). I was on the walking tour lead by Donna, which had a bit more of an artsy focus than the tour before. We’ve been to a Gallery and to the UCC campus among others, also to a pub and later to the riverside of River Lee. From there I went home to Blackpool because my sister had invited friends to a nice evening with, guess it, pizza (very different taste from the evening before as we had greater control over the preparation). It’s been a nice evening but I went to bed early, as the days before have been a bit exhausting.
On Sunday there was a picnic on Patrick’s hill. I took the opportunity to test my orientation, coming not from city centre, but it all worked out, it was more difficult to get off at the correct bus stop, but in this respect I also have been lucky so it’s only been a very steep walk up some stairs to meet the others on top of a hill which was a bit more far off from the city centre I guess. The picnic was also filmed by a quadrocopter drone, in this video you can see some people in the beginning and end (the video is an impressive 16 minute air survey of Cork City). In the evening after the picnic we went to a pub, Sin E, to listen to some trad and say goodbye.
The last day on Monday was very uneventful, I had some time to spend in Cork City starting at 12 to Dublin airport and then got back to Düsseldorf around 8:30pm local time to arrive at home around 10pm.
I just can say “thank you!” to my sister for letting me stay the 5 days at her place, to the organizers of the HospEx Camp for making it happen and to everyone attending for being who they were.
Below are most of the pictures I took in Cork, see this album for all pictures (136) in full size with location data, and also some pictures taken on the inbound and outbound trip. Click on a picture to see a larger version / browse the gallery.