Saturday, 28 December 2013

Galway and a Irish Love Song

Day 3 on the mini all Ireland tour was when the fun begins. Our tour guide Martin finally after dropping all the other piggyback tour guides that was tagging along he was finally free to break express himself fully :)

Have you ever heard a Irish Love Song ???

Galway. It was a party town in the middle of winter. Somewhat famous for the romance movie and song Galway Girl this place was actually crowded for there was a university nearby feeding the city vibe. That night our guide brought us to a one of a kind place for drinking / dancing and partying ….

It was a diner during the day , pub in the evenings and nightclub after 11pm … sounds normal … the building use to be a church. Blasphemy !!! Yep we were plastered, wasted, happy as f*ck that night …. Thou I barely remember all the details I did remember going out for a smoke break and boy it was freezing cold. Girls were dressed to kill … or rather barely dress for the weather … long story short … you don’t need to look up to catch an up skirt …. Just look down and you will naturally see a panty shot since the mini skirt is above the panties.

Galway was a crazy stop that’s for sure … we never saw daylight in Galway …. reach there  in the evening … got some food … party …. woke up early and back on the bus to Dingle …

Martin asked two question in the morning ride after a while when people started waking up in the bus …

Everyone had fun yesterday night ??
( Respond of a crazy bus passengers screaming whoo hooo … or something along that line )

Did anyone get Lucky ??
( Silence, small giggles, laughter and many eye balling exchanges … smile )
The Gang Touring All Ireland

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Northern Ireland is wicked cool …. Just ignore the terrorist and bombing and you’ll be fine

Graveyard Stone With Cool Markings
Now entering Free Derry ….

First stop was Derry or London Derry or Free Derry. We did stop at small sites along the way seeing a graveyard and a small town for lunch. That’s the thing about tours … you don’t get to choose … you just follow. Plus since the bus had almost all Australians with the exception of me from Malaysia and two girls from Canada …. I was practically on a party bus of GET DRUNK EVERY NIGHT TOUR.

I remember Derry as a the place we went to spend a night and got drunk. We went to a  pub where there were so many locals and I practically stood out. Locals just came up and started talking and one even grab me for a dance. I also got introduce to the one song that everyone somehow knows how to sing … or will know how to sing if you ever set foot in Ireland … Galway Girl … now downloaded and saved in my mp3 list.

Looking back I realized Derry was a solemn place … coming from a multiracial community back home Derry was a sad place to me.
Free Derry
Rope Bridge
Day two on the tour was Belfast … but along the way we visited the giant causeway seeing natural forms of hexagonal pillars from volcanic lava cooled rapidly by the sea forming basalt stone structures… there was of course a mythic story to it like a fairytale which I was still a bit hangover to read the full story off the post. The view in one word astonishing. One small thrill was crossing a small wobbly wooded rope bridge which had a huge drop to the ocean.

Belfast was late in the evening and almost all of us hop on the black cab taxi tour. The black cab taxi tour was one of the best of the trip. We had these cabs which took us around Belfast explaining to us how much the catholic and protestant there hate each other and built a wall to separate their community and that there was only 3% of mixed community. The black cabs was used during the old days as a hitman vehicle hence if you see one normally you go running …. But now they use it to ferry tourist who will shoot you down with photographs. Like Derry there was also amazing murals painted all over the city with the recent peace agreement on 1998.

The Monalisa of Belfast ... That Eye will follow you while you walk from left to right

The three old chaps taxi drivers that took us around and told us stories was a blast . One even started the tour guide with safety instructions …

“If I RUN ,…. YOU RUN !!”

We all came from peaceful place hence we did not thought much about it … it wasn’t until all the history and stories of the terrorism in Belfast and the reason behind it that we realized he was f*cking serious. 1998 is only quite recent if you think about it … still 1st generation …. They still hate each other I guess
The unforgettable was the dung poop joke.

“Stand off the grass! You want to keep that leg you héar me”
“Here in Belfast they mixed gunpowder into the dog food so becareful where you step .. Coz if you step on dog poop you might just loose a leg” 

* After two minutes* His partner says …

“Dun believe that bloke … he’s full of crap”

Belfast was a slow night still we did drink quite a bit. I for that one day retired early .. 1 am

My uncle’s quote when I met him a few weeks later back in England

“ I told you whatever you do, don’t go to Northern Ireland for its not safe …. and what do you do …. Go to bloody northern Ireland …. Well you are back and safe now at lease”

I told him it look pretty nice and safe while I was there …. He cited a bombing reported in the newspaper the day after I left Belfast …. Oh well ….

Monday, 16 December 2013

Tour Guided Traveling can be fun too while backpacking

My first experience of a minibus tour was way back in 2005 when I went to Scotland for a few days and ended up staying there for almost 10 days going on a Haggis Adventures… but that’s a story for another time …

Ireland had such a tour running around and if you are familiar with Contiki , or TopDeck then you would know it is not the usual Tour run company. So even on the first day itself in Ireland I  noticed the pamphlets and brochures along the hostel reception mainly Shamrocker Adventures

I was definitely becoming lazy for one … before seeing the brochures I was still cracking my head on which city to visit and how to get there … beautiful countryside country I had learned such as Scotland and Ireland cant be explored by public transportation … you need a car … or the next best thing … a minibus tour …. Now all I needed to do was sign up … and pay the fees of course …

The Hunt for the minibus tour Package Begins

After three days of searching I finally found a tour package. Always the trouble of not planning is that the timing will screw you up somehow. Yet if you did plan well one delay will screw you upside down. You choose

Paddywagon Tours
Well the first thing was radical travels partner Shamrocker had a full booking for the five days southern Ireland tour and I was left stranded with too many days in Dublin. By some wicked luck on Saturday I decided to book a three days tour next Friday only to find these people was not working.

Hence the hostel recommended  Paddywagon Tours which I did not knew exist. Their leaflet said max only 3 days but hola when I was about to book it over the counter at another place down the street grumbling about the short duration of the tour and how much time I had in Ireland … the lady plucked out a booklet from under the table with a whole list of tours available under Paddywagon with even a 10 days all Ireland tour.

Alas I settle for a 6 days all Ireland Tour and all gleeful to depart the next day 299 euro all inclusive except food.

So the generic itinerary  I got for the 6 Days was like the picture below following the red line

I’ll need few post to cover the entire trial and highlights

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Land of Guinness Stout - Dublin

Touchdown Dublin …. I was traveling again ….

So immigration looked at me as asked the most standard question of all …

Officer    : How long are you Staying in Ireland ?
Me     : About 2 weeks I think
Officer    : Why not more? You Should stay at lease a month or more .
Me     : speechless ……

This had never happen to me before at a immigration officer desk ….  I’ll think about it I told her and asked for a longer stamp date ... :)

First stop … nearest pub to try the Guinness Stout …

My First Guinness in Ireland ... with my Brunch

Now I had tried the black goody back in Asia in my home country Malaysia where they actually brew the stuff and I did’nt like it …. but since its been such a long time since I had it, the night before I flew from Bradford to Dublin I decided to go to a pub in Yorkshire with my cuz and order half a pint of Guinness to re-kindle the taste …. It still did’nt grow on me ….

So at the bar at 10 am in the morning …. I probably look like a alcoholic … oh well

Me         : I heard the Guinness here is different ?
Bartender    : Here ?
Me         : Ireland …. Better than other places … far far away
Bartender    : Taste better here … your first pint in Ireland ?
Me         : Yep. One pint then ….

I got the first hand look at a properly poured Guinness Stout …. Poured at a tilted angle ¾full of the way … left there for about 2 minutes for it to settle
( You had to really wait for your Guinness )
Continue back pouring but straight down …. And the last part I could not get … he must have hidden it from me … but make a flower pattern at the top head of the Guinness ….
( I later found out its was a shape as a four leaf clover … a Shamrock )

As for the taste … lets just say back home I would not have drank it every day every meal

It was definitely better in Ireland