Thursday, November 26, 2009

Doing Bel-Fast!


1752 (local time)

Ill start this next blog where I left off... I was hung over, tired and just sick of sitting on a bus for 10 hours... But when I finally made it to Belfast it was a relief. I had hooked up a couch surfing host in Belfast called Killian, so this was my first destination. On arrival I dumped my bags, and was then told that himself and another couch surfer at the time were heading out to a salsa night and I was invited to come along... to be honest I would have loved to have just chilled out for a while, but I thought why not... So off we went, to salsa it up.

I was starving, so I got some lovely fish and chips and then headed into the pub. I really wasn’t in the mood for ripping it up on the salsa floor I was more in the mood for a chat, I ended up just chatting to a whole bunch of people and then we headed home. Even though I slept on the floor that night, it was still a good nights sleep. The next day we woke fairly early because one of the main couch surfing hosts in Belfast was taking a bunch of couch surfers on a walking tour of all the murals of Belfast.

Even though it was bucketing down with rain, and I was absolutely freezing to death because it was blowing a gale and everyone umbrellas were getting blown to bits it was extremely interesting and I'm glad that I did it.

That night I was planning on heading to a preppie club but instead I was taken to the girl that did the walking tour, as she was having a get together so that they could go to a funk night that was just down the road at the local pub.

On arrival was I little bit drunk a I had smashed all my beers and then was onto someone else’s cider, when we got there, no one was there so I sat at the bar drinking. By 11.30 there was still no body around so went exploring down stairs and listened to a rock band play for 20 minutes until I then headed back upstarts again to the funk night. When I got back upstairs the place had filled up and was starting to get good.

I was getting a bit sick of hanging with the local guys, so instead I started chatting to some girls, the night went on, beers were drunk, shots were had until eventually the funk band ended... I was still up for a party and so were a few others. One of the girls that I had been dancing with was heading too an Art Gallery where there were some live bands playing, I was in for that, so we all jumped in a cab, left half the dudes I was with back at the place and headed to the closest illegal bottle o. I was smashed already, but I was sure that I needed more beers, so we got some more drinks and headed to the art gallery. I had mixed feelings about this idea, but on my way up to the stairs they were playing a Ramones track, so I cracked open another beer and waited for the band to start up.

When they did I was rocking out, giving the band members drinks and telling them that Fosters was the shittest drink in history. So the singer pulled me out on stage and announced that I was Australian and everyone cheered, and then proceeded to dedicate a song to me! I was stoked!

Anyway, the rest of the night was history, my last photo was taken at 5.52am so it was a pretty late night.

The next morning, I went out to brunch with the girls from last night who were super cool and I ended up hanging out with one of them named Becky, for most of my time in Belfast. Who is an absolute legend of a chick! We had some good chat and funny times! ANYWAY!

That day I took really easy as I was nursing another hang over.

The next day it was again time to do something touristy (gah I'm so sick of it) so myself and an Australian girl called Wendy who was also couch surfing in the same house took a trip out to the Giant’s Causeway. It was really quite nice looking at all the beautiful scenery, but too be honest, I'm pretty sick and tired of doing all the touristy stuff that you ‘have to do’ whist in a city.

That night, went to a nice little pub with Becky where we listened to some awesome music and I ended up being given one of the DJ’s cd’s!

The next day I really wanted to head too Derry to look at some more murals and to get a bit more of an idea about the Catholics and the Protestants or the people fighting for a Republic and the peopled wanting Ireland to be a part of the United Kingdom .

Well, I saw some amazing murals and realised that the people in Derry were very angry with everything that has happened over the past 100 years but more importantly what occurred on the day of Bloody Sunday!

Wendy and I went to a museum that painted a pretty horrific picture about what occurred on that day... I'm glad I did it though, because otherwise I would have not known anything about it.

It was a really good day apart for the rain, as I came away with a lot more knowledge that I went there with.

Unfortunately this was my last day in the beautiful town of Belfast as the next day (today 25th) I was enduring a 10 hour slog of travelling from Belfast to Stranraer via Ferry and then from Stranraer to Iverness via several busses, so I can look for the Loch Ness.

That’s it for me!

But thanks to everyone that made my time in Ireland, The Republic and Northern Ireland a fantastic time!

Belfast Murals

The biggest Mural for the Protestants!

The International Murals!

My favorite Mural!

Some amazing stencil graffiti!

More amazing Graffiti! "Singing Songs of Freedom"

The big fence on the right goes around the most of the city, separating to two party's!
Also note the fence on the back yard of the house! This stops people throwing bottles at the house to hurt people!

Some more Mural's on the Protestants side!

A Memorial...

Night Out In Belfast!

Karina and Becky!

My French friend...

After 1 beer too many!

We got ridiculous!

The band that dedicated a song too me!

All the girls! Sarah, Becky and Karina!


Derry Mural's

Clearly a Protestant area!
Free Derry!
Amazing Murals!

More Murals!

A British Soldier smashing his way into a house!

Another one of my favorite murals!

Inside the 'Free Derry' Museum!

An amazing picture, taken on the day of Bloody Sunday!


Getting Smashed In Galway!


2000 (local time)

When I was in Cork, I asked Eoghen if he knew anyone in Galway that I could crash on their couch... fortunately he knew of a few dudes, so on arrival to Galway at least I had a place to stay... well I thought so anyway. What I didn’t realise is, that I was going to be staying in the local University owned flats. There were going to be some good party’s so I hoped. So when I got off the bus, it was pouring with rain, so heavy and I had no wet weather gear, so walking to the place was totally out of the question, busses had stopped a long time ago, so my only option was to fork out 9 Euro for a taxi to take me to the location.

When I finally arrived, I was greeted at the front door by two young girls, who were obviously a little unsure about what was happening and who I was but I was able to explain to them that I was planning to sleep on their couch, because I know Craig... Unfortunately Craig wasn’t home at the moment because he was coming home from Dublin from a University excursion, but not too worry, so I watch T.V with Craig’s house mates and tried convincing them that Home and Away wasn’t actually filmed in Australia and instead was filmed in California, America and they were American actors trying to put on an Aussie accent. Quite amusing for me really...

Eventually Craig arrived home, and after a couple of hours of chat, everyone went too bed whilst I slept on the couch. It wasn’t the best sleep that I've ever had, but I'm not complaining.

The next day, I had a bit of a sleep in and eventually got my act together and headed into town to check it all out, after wandering around for a while I went to a bus station and bought a ticket too Spiddle, which is a little down that is set next to the coast.

As soon as I had hopped on the bus, the skys opened up and it just poured down with rain... So obviously on arrival to Spiddle it was still raining so I thought, what would an Irishman do in this situation... Go To The Pub! So I found a nice little place that was close to the water, and sat in the pub drinking beers and listening to music for 2 hours until my bus picked me up. When the bus did arrived, I was a little bit drunk, which was good because I had a lovely sleep on the trip home.

That night, a few of the other boys in the house were planning a bit of a night so I was all geared up to do that... but in reality it all came down to how Ireland performed against French in the qualifying rounds of the world cup.

A week before, the French played Ireland in Ireland and won 1-0 to the French, so now it was Irelands turn to play the French in France.

So going into the game, the French had a 1-0 lead on the Irish, but that changed in the 36th minute where the legend known as Robby Keene slotted a perfect goal! The score was tied at 1-1.

There were plenty of scoring opportunities from both sides in the second half, but no goals were scored so it went to overtime.

I'm not too sure about what has been heard in Aus about this game, but what happened in overtime was truly a disappointing time in Soccer, the captain of French deliberately handed the ball onto his foot as he passed it too his team mate who scored the winning goal for the French. There was a massive uproar from the Irish team trying to convince the Ref that he handed the ball, but the Ref wanted nothing of it.

This event put a massive downer on the night, so we didn’t end up going out, I wasn’t too fussed as I was fairly tired.

The next day was an early start as I was heading out west again to a little town called Clifden where most of the people spoke Irish as opposed to English. I was here for 2.5 hours with no idea what to do, so I put my head phones in and just walked around the entire day, looking at all the different church’s and cathedrals, I then walked down to the local sailing club, that didn’t exist anymore and before I knew my time was up and I was heading back to Galway for Craig’s 20th birthday... it was going to be a big one.

Before I left, I bought a muffin and some pink candles for his birthday for a bit of a laugh, I was prepared.

On arrival, I stopped at the local super market and bought 4 litres of beers and some mince and spaghetti... Cooked a really nice meal for myself and then was straight away on the beers. It wasn’t long, until we were at one of the boys houses playing “Kings” which is a harsh drinking game... photos explain the story for the rest of the night really. All I know is that I got to bed by about 4ish and had to be up so I could catch the horrendously long bus to Belfast the next day.

I eventually woke, got all my stuff together and started the walk into town Belfast was my next destination. YOU BEAUTY!


The City Centre of Clifden

Another city shot!

A nice cathedral on top of the hill

Watch out cars are sometimes inclined to fall in!

The local pub!

The Messy Night In Galway

We got heaps of balloons and put them in Craig's room!

Fargos (Argos) about to Spew!



A smashed Craig with two polish birds i was chattin too!

I got Craig a kiss!

Craig passing out in his room!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Rippin In Cork!


1214 (local time)

“What’s the Craic?!” I have had a fantastic past 3 days! I've pretty much been doing something everyday!

I arrived in Cork via the train at Midnight, I was then meant to meet Eoghan at the bus station, so I stated walking with my bags, and all of a sudden the skys just opened up, and it was a torrential downpour! I hadn’t seen rain like that in many months, so it was good and exciting for the first 2 minutes, then I realised that I couldn’t walk to the bus station when it was this wet. So instead I gave Eoghan another rbell, to ask him if he could pick me up at St. Patricks Cathedral.

Once Eoghan and his brother picked me up, they took me too one of his mates houses, where we sat around, chatted about surfing and drank cider.

Once it got too, late Cian (Eoghan’s Brother) drove us home, where we all crashed out pretty early, because tomorrow we were going to go surfing!!!

I was fast asleep when I am woken up by Eoghan early in the morning, we slammed down some breakfast, loaded the surfboards onto the roof of the VW Golf and headed off to the coast. The first place we stopped at was huge, but it was too big to get out... the waves always look as if they were closing out! So we headed off to the next beach. On our way there, as we went down this hill, we were confronted with a bit of an issue, 30 blokes on big hourses blocked our way... I was quickly told be the boys that they were doing a hunt? So we drove past them very slowly not to scare the horses. What I did realise about all of them was that they all were drinking whiskey... I suppose to try and keep warm.

So we plugged into the GPS where we needed to go... unfortunately the GPS took us down some backward route but we eventually made it too the beach, and it was freezing! Eoghan was the first to man up and put on his wet wetsuit, I followed behind him, we grabbed the surfboards and headed down to the beach.

I had no idea how cold it was going to be, but I did know that the only way that I would keep warm was too keep paddling. Luckily Eoghan lent me a 6/5 mm Wetsuit and some super thick boots. The rest of the boys were wearing similar to me, but they had hoods on!

So I pretty much just ran into the water, jumped over the first big breaker and paddled like mad out the back.

I didn’t realise how big the waves were until I got out there. The faces on them were about 12 foot. I don't call myself a surfer at all... I think I have only been out half a dozen times with EB in waves that are only about 6 foot... But I couldn’t wimp out now! So I paddled around for a while until the current dragged me into the impact zone. A huge set was coming, I saw Eoghan drop in on one of them, and go straight over the falls! The wave was roaring, so I just duck dived under it and swam to the bottom, I went too late and was just churned and rinsed! I was under what felt like for ages! I was just bouncing around all over the place. When I finally came up for air, I looked around and saw another massive wave headed my way, so I took a huge breath and went under again... When I came up I got on my board and paddled to sure, there was no way, I wanted to take another beating like that again.

So I made it back, had a bit of a rest on shore and headed out again. Unfortunately it was the same deal, the waves were way too big, there was no way I was going to be able to catch any of them.

But I paddled out again, and once again got caught on the inside and was once again slammed... so same deal, had a rest on shore an headed back out.

When I finally made it out, I was hanging out with Rat (one of Eoghan’s mates) when I asked where Eoghan was, we looked to shore and saw Eoghan’s board in 2 pieces. So Rat and I hang out in the water trying to catch waves unfortunately the sea went all mushy!

So myself and Rat stumbled out of the water because of the shore break was so intense, on the way back up to the car I brushed past a ‘nettle tree’ I yelped in agony, I said to Rat that I brushed part that bush... he quickly explained to me that I need to get to a hospital ASAP!

I believed them, so I tried to hurry up and get back to the car... after 5 minutes of trying to get out of my wetsuit they all burst out laughing... it was obviously a joke that I didn’t realise, well 3 days in its still itching!

We eventually got back on the road obviously so tired after our surf, but as we were driving home we realised that there were an awful lot of puddles around, and a lot of people... So the boys and I drove around for 30 minutes going ‘puddling’. So we found the most amazing puddle, that nearly took up the entire road. The road was fantastic, long and straight, so the people couldn’t escape. So we drove along this road for a while until we found a family. As we drove past we gave them a friendly wave, then ducked up a drive way, quickly reversed, and silently followed them toward the puddle. When they got close enough, Eoghan jumped on the accelerator and sped towards them and the puddle, the man saw what was happening and looked at us with only fear in his eyes. We hit the puddle at top speed and sent a barrel of water heading their direction. They were drenched, we were in hysterics and now karma doesn’t like us too much...

When we got home, we unpacked the car and crashed out! We fell asleep for about an hour, and when we woke, it was beer o clock! So we met up with one of Eoghan’s mate called Dave had some beers and headed off into town.

We had an awesome night, with some funny stories that we told to each other the next day!

One of the reasons why I like Cork, is that I’d walk down the street and say “G’day” to a couple of girls, they would then surround me asking if I was Australian, I would then obviously say “yes” and then get numerous girls hugging and kissing me... Doesn’t get much better to be honest!

The next day was recovery day, but not for the Cian, Eoghan and Steve Show! We were planning on sneaking into the Blarney Castle. So we grabbed some gum boots and headed off.

We walked through forests and fields and eventually came to the Blarney Castle, we snuck under the barbed wire and got in.

The castle itself was beautiful, a lovely medieval castle, on entrance to the castle you have to walk up a long spiralling stair case, when we made it to the top the view was amazing, the colour of the trees were nothing less than stunning! So many beautiful colours.

After looking at all the beautiful colours it was our time to kiss the Blarney Stone, so you hang you sit down and hang onto some metal bars and lean back whilst hoping that you wernt going to fall to your death, you had to kiss a damp, moist rock... I'm hoping the reason why it was wet was because of the climate and not because hundreds of people a day slobber all over the rock... great place for swine flu.

That night we had a quite one, just a few beers and juggling balls... yep, I can now juggle (Christmas present anyone?)

By the 18th, it was time for me to leave... So I booked my place on the bus and just waited out the time. It wasn’t until Tony (father) came home and told Eoghan that he should take me to a little town 20 minutes south of Cork called Kinsale!

So we topped the car up with petrol, loaded one of the two dogs in the car and headed off. When we arrived, I put on some Gumboots and we started trecking off to find the old castle. It was fun being in the proper country side again. After 1.5 to 2 hours of walking around, it was beer o’ clock.

I knew I had to be on the bus at Cork Airport by 5.30pm and if I missed that needed to be at the Cork Bus Station in town by 6.

When we downed the beers, it was about 5pm, but Eoghan assured me that it would only take 10 minutes to get too the airport, but when I plugged it into the GPS it said our estimated time of arrival was 5.32pm and this GPS is never wrong.

So we had a mission on our hands... our job was to try and beat the GPS so we raced along the road, and when we hit the airport, I pretty much stood in front a bus to flag it down, he informed us that we had missed the bus, but if we are quick we would probably be able to catch it in town... Luckily we got to town a lot quicker than expected and we got into town 10 minutes before the bus was to leave. So we said our good byes and I thanked him for being such a legend and that anytime that he is in Melbourne that he is free to crash.

My next destination was the student party town of Galway. Be Prepared!