Sunday, May 23, 2010
Back in the saddle
The summer weather has arrived and life has returned to a place of sundresses and bare feet (if only temporarily). I have started on a few smaller cycle rides in the evening with Aisling, and yesterday we went on our first big ride. While my first ride in Feburary left me with a bit of a sour taste for cycling in Ireland, I have since recalibrated that view. Now the weather is sunny, the roads are mainly rolling hills that never get too difficult (at least compared to what we were used to in Vancouver), I know that I have to stay on the left side of the road, and I have discovered that most cars are in fact rather polite. I would now give Ireland two thumbs up for cycling. We were greeted by everyone we passed, and Ireland definitely ranks up there with Slovenia and Turkey for having friendly people.
Yesterday, we set out for Trim and took the direct route there in the morning, which was a 30km ride on more major roads. The traffic wasn't too bad, but I think our choice of time was related to that. In general the Irish are not early risers, and this would be even more true on a weekend (for example in Canada EVERYONE puts their children to bed at 7pm, making for an early wake up. Average bedtime in Ireland would probably be 8:30. I can just imagine the community health nurses clucking their tongue at that. And for the longest time I honestly believed that Nikolai would only get a full nights sleep if he was down by 7pm. Don't tell Sue Johnson, but he goes to bed at half eight every night now!).
Back to Trim, the primary reason for us to go to Trim was to explore the castle. This medievel castle is pretty well intact despite numerous seiges. It had quite the defenses, with numerous watch towers, and well fortified gates. You probably all have actually seen the castle, as it is where they filmed Braveheart. (It is an unfortunate side-effect of our trip, that Brad now wants to rewatch the movie. There goes another 3 hours of my life wasted.)
Trim has other sites of interest too, including a Monastary, many other historic buildings, a lovely walk on the river Dunboyne, and (mostly interesting for Brad) the site of Hamilton's childhood home.
We started by plopping our happy-go-lucky selves down in the shade of the castle for a picnic, then Nikolai peed on the castle (no disrepect meant by that, but he has a thing for peeing on walls, and now, much like a well trained cat, asks to go out whenever he has the need to go). The town of Trim itself left us with much to desire, well, mainly just one thing to desire... we wanted nothing more than to sit under an umbrella and sip cold drinks on an outdoor patio. I am quite aware that Ireland generally does not have the giant outdoor cafes that are found in much of mainland Europe, but most towns seem to have some outdoor seating. This was not to be found in any form in Trim. So some juice and icecream purchased at a Spar would have to suffice, and we found our selves again picnicing (and peeing) on the side of Trim castle.
For the return trip we followed our nose down some beautiful back roads, and found our way back home in just under 40km! A lovely day was had by all. FYI we also found out about the Heritage Ireland Pass. Free entrance to all Heritage Ireland Sites for a year! I wish we'd found out about this before our Easter tour!