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Uploading photos really doesn't work so I guess you have tough luck at least for now and don't ask me why one of the photos worked and the others didn't. I have no idea.

20th August 2013

Kayaking and Kinsale

I managed to get into a kayaking trip on very late notice. While the booking dead line had been two days earlier I just called them ad asked if they still got space and they had, telling me to meet them at six o'clock - that's different from Germany. So even if you miss the deadline just give them a call. Most of space isn't taken. After misplacing my wallet and having to nick some money from my emergency money I ran a little late and made my way to Kinsale. My host father told me there was a car park I should park on. I'm not sure whether I missed it but the only car park I found seemed to belong to hotel and I didn't dare to park there. You know for me who only drove the roads around my hometown that I knew by heart and very moderate traffic in Bandon and Carriglane Kinsale was a shock. I wouldn't have minded if it had been only busy traffic. I already knew that from my trip back to Sheep's Head to the petrol station but simultaneously the road was very narrow. Not because it was constructed this way but because people had parked their cars on at least one side of the road, making it impossible for me to stay at my side of the road as I went on. I didn't have much time to take a look around because of all the cars. I ended up in front of Lidl car park, which wouldn't have been that bad at all if this particular one had closed at 6 o'clock like most of them do here. But no it stayed open 'till 9 and so I had to make myself on the way finding a new one. Quite desperate I went back one the main road. You know there were some open spots at the side of the road but I didn't dare to try for one of them because I might hold the whole traffic and/or might not get in. Not to mention that I managed to stall the engine and not getting it on again until I realized I tried it in second gear – something that always happens to me when I'm stressed. I was already outside of Kinsale when I at last found a parking spot. Well it was about time because one of the roadsigns already told me that I was back on my way to Bandon. After checking a Bed and Breakfast that I could park there I made my way back to Kinsale, which one of the roadsigns told me lay 2km behind me. Well I'm pretty sure it wasn't 2 km because ten minutes later I managed to get into Kinsale. It was already 6.30 and I didn't expect the kayaking group would still be there when I arrived. But to not let my trip become completely fruitless I would try to find the outdoor Centre for the next time and wander around Kinsale to get to know the roads better. At 6.40 I made it to the Kinsale Outdoor Eduction Centre. It's rather obvious really. For me even more so since I came from the “wrong side” of town. When I went into there I was surprised to say everybody still standing. Nobody seemed to mind hat I was so late and after I payed we got our wetsuits and would change. You know I never wore a wetsuit before. Let's just say they are not that comfortable to try on but when you're past that they keep you very warm even if they feel wet when you try them on. There were other Aupairs there – one of the reasons why I participated and for a change there were a lot of Spanish girls and one from Sweden. Not that I mind getting to know German AuPairs. It's just I went out of the country to meet people from different countries and not staying in the usual crowd. On the shore then without much ado we started into the water and tried to paddle. It may look easy but it isn't. We had a hard time going straight and if you would mange just go in a general straight direction you were fine. One of the girls had especially a hard time and needed help from our guide Barry to be put in the right direction. I think he tied her to his own kayak. I was mostly fine but I would turn myself in circles after a few strokes with paddle, which happens when you put to much strength on one side and when I concentrated more on it it worked better. I also found out that for steering you would want to put you paddle far away from you in the water to steer faster. When we manged to get over to the other shore we were taught some technique how go straight the most effective way, to go backwards and how to steer better with the sweep – the technique I already figured out for the most part. We even saw two seals. They were so cute I never saw a real seal in my whole life an there were very close to us putting their heads out of the water now and then. Unfortunately there are no photos of everything since I didn't dare to bring my camera and if you would like to argue now I was in a boat and rather dry, let me just tell you that one of the girls flipped over with her kayak and got completely wet. We even had a little race and in the end it was the girl that had the most trouble in the beginning who won. On the way back I managed to be one the fastest. You know it's all about technique. The more you concentrated the faster you were and I liked going with the kayak. You would also have to get a feeling for a kayak it was of no used to paddle on the alternating sides if there was wind, a current or even just your unbalanced strength in the arms. But if you concentrated on where the kayak was going you could steer it pretty good. I don't think that we went kayaking for more than a kilometer but we had to learn the basic firsts so I guess it's okay. We went back on the boat to our starting point and from there I made my way back to the car which thankfully was still standing on the very remote parking lot. On the way back I managed to get lost. I wasn't really lost before just stressed out. I drove into a one way street from the wrong direction and managed to graze a side mirror of another car but nothing happened. I'm not sure whether it was my fault or his because he just wanted to drive out of his parking space and then there was the way back. I already mentioned I hated driving in the dark on Irish roads but it was a little bit better now – especially after I knew I was going into the right direction. When I was “home” I would even drive on a little further so I didn't have to use lower junction and have trouble getting up the hill. I had enough trouble with the car and driving for one night that I didn't want to have anymore. I can't tell you how glad I was when I arrived at the farm.


Rating: ****

Prize: 10€ (but I think I was a special offer)

28.8.13 18:56

Sheep's Head - or the walk that was far too long

Sorry for all the mess. I'm trying to get that with the photos right but apparently I can just upload them seperately. I try again and if it doesn't work then there are no photos for you I'm afraid


Alright the story of Sheep's Headway to early in the morning. I'm usually a morning person but seriously who let's a bus leave at 8 in the morning. I had to get up at 6 o'clock and I was already kind of late.

Let' say the weather was completely Irish. The sky was grey, it drizzled and there was a strong wind. In Germany they would have canceled the trip by now but you know in Ireland the weather might change throughout the day no matter how grim it looks in the morning. The other AuPair, who wanted to go with me canceled on me claiming she didn't want to catch a fever. I'm not sure where she's coming from but in Germany we had worse temperatures than that. Because funny enough even though it was very windy and drizzled it was not cold. Equipped with my warmest coat and even a cap (my ears hurt fast when it's windy) I made my way to Bishopstown and got really lucky in Hawks Road, where you could park for free. I even managed to find a proper parking spot - not the one in front of the closed down shop where it would be clear I don't live in the area. The bus for Cork was a little bit late. But I managed to get to Parnell's Place (the big bus station with buses leaving for the whole country) in time and even found the bus at once. I sat close to tried a group of people a little bit older than me, hoping I might get to know some new people. As soon s I at down however I found out that they were all speaking in Italian. What a shame. I seemed to be the only German. All in all we were like eight people – I was surprised we were so few.

Since I was very tired (I had been out the night before), I tried to get some sleep on the bus, that left 10 minutes after it was supposed to leave. That surprised me a lot because I'd expected it to wait a least for half an hour in the Irish fashion, I heard so much about. I guess were were just on the road to Clonakilty when I woke up to see the bus turning in the middle of the very narrow country road and fifteen minutes later we were back in Cork, where at least another 10 Italian people entered the bus, who were obviously late. And off we were again.

The bus ride took two and a half hours through beautiful landscapes I didn't see that much of (hence me sleeping).All in all it took us two and a half hours to get to Sheep's Head. I think it was not very considerate to have no toilet break throughout the whole time but I'm sure we would have if you'd asked it. Another German attitude: getting irritated about something but not having the guts to say something about it because you don't want to fall out of line. I woke up in time to see Sheep's Head, which was really beautiful. You know this is the Ireland you see on the post cards because I have to admit Ballinhassig looks not that different from in any rural area in Germany.

The roads were very narrow again and the ground fell steep right next to it. The only thing that prevented you from possibly driving over it was a half meter high wall that wouldn't stop the bus from falling down, I mused. Just as I told myself that the bus driver grew up on Irish roads and probably had driven this route a thousand times I heard a crash. It turned out that instead of passing the little wall we scraped it on one of the bridges. People panicked a little bit there but we were fine and went on.

The farther we went the more fog we had and I thought I might not be able to show you guys any photos. 

And so we started our walk through the hills. I met another girl from Bavaria then – the only other German on the trip. She seemed nice enough. We weren't going to be the best friends ever but it was nice to have somebody to talk to on such a long trip. We went to the lighthouse and at first I was very amused because there were a lot of signs for the lighthouse but there was no lighthouse to be found. It was so hidden I only saw it on the way back from our break there.   another sign  seriously where is it?

We had a break directly at the shore and you could see the ocean. The fog had lifted by now and a great view unfolded before our eyes. I even climbed down very far down something probably only stupid tourists would do but I was very careful because there's nothing I hate more than tourists who get themselves in dangerous situations because they want to take a photo of something and I didn't go down as far as some of them plus I think we were fairly safe because it was like 15 meters to the shore. It was my first day at the ocean and I don't know whether you've seen it but I where the waves crash into the rocks the water would have a totally different shade of blue. It was so beautiful.

And then we went on. We saw something very interesting between two narrow cliffs with only little current between them. There was something white and funny on the surface, which turned out to be salt.

It was a pity you couldn't always marvel at the beauty or take photos as much as you liked because you had to stay in the group.

And then we went on again and I can tell you that was no fun. In Germany walking mean having a leveled and fixed walking trail with a lot of signs in which way you have to go and how long it takes. In Ireland you have at some point not even a track and only a colored fence post every now and then to assure you you're still on the right direction. It was very wet and you kept slipping. After four hours my feet hurt and I wanted it to be over now. I think most of the people out of the group had the same thought. The only idea that kept me going the remaining two hours was the fact that every step would take me closer to the bus. Seriously we walked from the one shore over the peninsula to the other one. After like four hours of walking you can't even appreciate the landscape anymore, which was beautiful by the way.

The way home we were all tired and I managed to get out in Bishopstown instead of having to take the bus from Cork back there. I put some petrol into my car and then went back to the farm. I had to stop my car once because a whole village was out on the street. It turned out they played streetbowling on the only mainroad there was and continued doing so as I went on. So sad I didn't have time to put my camera out.

Sheep's Head Mountain Trip

Rating: **

Prize : 10€

- make sure it's well organized and not that long. Walking shoes are not a must but very helpful

- I wouldn't recommend such a big group (20 people) and preferably one, who speak a language you speak as well




27.8.13 20:44

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