Ireland! Day Six! Beaches, sand, dunes and sea!

After the excitingness and rain of Belfast we wanted to relax a bit. What is more relaxing than a walk on the beach? That’s right, nothing.

We passed Castlerock already after our horrible horrific walk from bellarena to magilligan point and I desperately wanted to go back there. I said pretty please and could convince Doro and Valentina to go there.

We hopped on the train, and more importantly hopped of the train in Castlerock and in front of a cloudy sky we saw an ice cream vendor.

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We longed more for beaches than for ice cream so I pushed the ladies in the direction of the relaxing woooooosh sound produced by several mole of water hitting elongated stretches of sand. 

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Doro.

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Although it wasn’t freezing it also wasn’t exactly warm. The chilling wind made us be glad for our windstopping jackets. But those guys did not really care.

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It’s hard to tell from the small tumblr image, but they actually wear only swimming shorts and strut into the water like the men they are. Strong Irish men probably laughing at the German sissies hiding in their rain coats.

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I fell in love with this place. The sound of the waves hitting the beach, the sky, the dunes, everything just made me smile. Like a little honey pie horse, as we tend to say in Prussian.

And it’s Doro again.

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Valentina had to take her shoes of because reasons.

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The partly blue sky changed to a rather grey colour complete with rainy bits and other forms of water falling from above. Did I mention we had raincoats? And more importantly, I had my new raincoat. The water was forming little spheres on my coat and I just shook myself like a dog and the water was gone, I was dry again. I only showed this a few dozen times to Doro. I think she appreciated it.

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Who is the handsome fella? Did he fall out of a vogue cover shoot? Or was it GQ? I don’t know, but the trail of girls following his footsteps made him really look important

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Into the dunes!

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We climbed some minor dunes, feeling completely immersed into the spiky green grass and the sand and then we reached the top. To the right was the sea and to the left – of course – a golf course. They are the cancer of the region, there is hardly a strip of land without golfers. I think they are quite easy to grow in these harsh conditions, with a lot of rain and hardly any sun. The sign warns from the dangers of being hit in the head repeatedly with a golf ball, a faith happening to those dreaded who enter the lands of the golf.

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Flowers!

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As the sun switched back on, I allowed the girls to have some ice. I am a gentle and loving master. And the ice cream was especially good. Made from happy cow’s udder secretion. And the waffle was covered in chocolaty chocolate.

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This is actually a Presbyterian church.

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Keep calm and be original.

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Om nom nom, house was eaten.

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How more Irish can a cottage get?

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We came to see these bungalows overlooking the area. They looked so nice and cozy, facing the sea.

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But then we continued and we found that they are actually part of huge settlement of bungalows. They have wheels underneath so they can easily be moved elsewhere. Not so lovely any more.

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My homage to Hiroshi Sugimoto.

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This little library/dome/bishop’s porn stash is on all of the postcards.

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I just love the Irish weather for this. You see Malin’s head on the other side in the light.

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Any postcard company who wants to pay a bazillion pounds for this? Thanks.

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I also like to live dangerously.

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Everyone went away. Again. I had to do the selfies all by myself.

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There they are, far ahead, about to cross the valley of kind of harmless effort.

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The shallow lake of mediocrity.

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This castle’s ruins are quite ruinesque. This is a word now.

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The ruins were open to everyone, also to the rain, as the roof was partied away.

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And that’s it already. Just a million pictures of the beach and the skies and the beach and the dunes and the beach. We went back to Castlerock and took the train home.

I really really really love this place. It’s so calm and relaxing and beautiful. I will return!

Ireland! Day Three!

Oh it’s posts galore today!

We got to Ireland through Amsterdam, looked at Derry by day and by night, and now for the next day!

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Lovely day, isn’t it?

We started our day with rain and grey skies. But what to expect when you go to the country of the big rain.

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So what we wanted to do was to got to Bellarena (red circle in fig. 1) by train and the get to the beach on the west side of this kind of horn and then go up to the top and back again on the other beach on the east up to Castlerock (blue circle in fig. 1). The trip looked nice in the guide and on the map. A nice walk at two beaches, maybe four hours in total.

I should really take a class in map reading.

We ended up taking the way indicated in red in fig. 1 below. Doesn’t look so bad. It were 8.4 km.

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Bellarena train station. Nice weather, great start!

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Idyllic little settlements along the way. We did wonder how to get to the beach, but the locals just send us along the way and we just hoped for the best.

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The landscape was amazing, everywhere small groups of sheep and cattle. We prepared for a rainy day and had to put away all the rain clothes for the moment.

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Cow!

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The weather changed quickly that day. Soon we had to change from warm and dry anti-rain coating to yay-the-sun-is-so-warm non-coating every ten minutes. The next one is from Doro I think.

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And sun it is again! At some point the walkway was gone and we just kept on walking next to the motorway. We still felt hopeful for a nice day although we kind of really liked to see a beach soon.

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The grass is always greener on the Irish side. The color is not messed up, it was the most amazingly green lawn we’ve ever seen. And it went on for miles (maybe one or so)! We later found out that the Irish people are famous for farming lawn, rolling it up and selling it to the world’s golf courses and fancy gardens.

They stared at us for ages and started to run as soon as we approached the fence.

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Then it got beautiful. The farms of cows and grass changed to a military firing range on both sides. The sun also went away again and everything was dark and moist. Still no beach in sight.

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But hey, a firing range is not that bad. We instantly started to miss it when the next thing came up.

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That’s right. A prison. Endless miles of a grey wall to the right. And no chance of getting picked up as hitchhikers. We already were beyond the point of no return where we would have walked a longer way back than we expected to keep on. So we continued and chose this lovely spot near the prison’s visitors center to have our lunch. Great times!

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And then it went worse.

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Heavy rain from the side made us wet to the bone in a matter of seconds. At least our backpacks were rainproof. And doros jacket. Mine not so much.

In the distance you can already see bits of the ferry, marking Magilligan Point where both beaches were supposed to meet. And the beach on left looked nice, but wet and inaccessible due to steep rocks. Thank you, travel guide!

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Lovely. At least the belly kept me warm. Or it would have, if it wouldn’t have been the camera being protected by my unprotective leaky rain jacket. Luckily the 5Dmk2 is waterproofed. I wish I was a 5Dmk2. (taken from doros mobile obviously).

Look how much fun I have!

We wouldn’t have guessed that without the sign.

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We finally arrived at the ferry station and went to a restaurant there to dry and warm up. We had a nice cup of tea and desperately asked for the way to Castlerock. We spent the last 2 and a half hours marching all the way from Bellarena. The waitress was impressed. But she informed us, that the way to Castlerock is even longer. Yay.

But luckily I asked loud enough to also impress a guy and his wife at the table next to us.

“Oi give ya a lift.”

From there our day brightened. We finished our tea, our driver finished his meal and then he drove us to Castlerock. He gave us a tour of the area, told us in his lovely Irish accent about the landscape.

“Luffly bitches we ‘ave ‘ere. Only foive star bitches on the island. And beautiful legs up on the cliff”

He was talking about beaches and lakes by the way.

He then showed us what Castlerock has to offer and then let us out at the train station.

The sky was lovely and we were just so happy to be away from the motorway.

I fell in love with the village quite instantly. The dunes, the beach, the sea, I was just overwhelmed. I didn’t even care anymore about my hurting feet and my wet clothes.

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What would I give to live in one of the houses facing the beach in Castlerock.

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What better place to walk the dog?

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Yum.

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I apologize for the HDR-ness.

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We then took the train in the evening back to Derry. We had both blisters on the feet and were quite exhausted but I was so happy about the evening at the beach that I didn’t care that much. So we enjoyed the short train ride home and fell into our beds.