I am going to attempt to at least blog out a bit of the thoughts that have roamed my mind these last several days. My Ireland trip has become a type of tryptich, with the final frame still to come. There were supposed to be two acts: the first venturing with Nan and Peggy (Nan's eldest sis) and the second with Paul and 15 students for a study abroad trip.
A phone call Wednesday evening from Paul added a third act to the trip. The first leg of their flight was canceled due to weather in Chicago (not the Iceland ash cloud which I had been following), and due to the number in the group, they could not be rebooked until Sunday (for arrival Monday).
So I found myself faced with four days solo. For the first day I was in a bit of a state, exhausted by the previous day's news, and overwhelmed by the vast options. After I made the choice to simply stay on where I was (Dun Laoghaire), away from the crowds and tourists of Dublin, I could breathe a bit. I did not want to travel far afield due to cost and fear of being marooned by the travel gods and not being here when the students arrived. I also wanted a bit of what I did not get with the first act (unscheduled days and opportunities for a bit of Camp Amy).
Day one was spent in a bit of a stupor since I had slept little due to the news and Nan's early departure. I had a nice breakfast out, finding a whole new part of the town, got a new room at the hotel with a beautiful view of the harbor and a tub, and wandered town a bit more. Found a restaurant a bit away from town with a lovely waiter who poured a perfect Guinness and called me sweetie every time he came by my table.
Day two I found my rhythm. Rather than research the heck out of my possibilities, I simply set out in the morning, after a light breakfast, to walk south. My mantra became with the sea to my left, and I let that be my guide. I did not have a map, nor a plan, except to walk. When I hit a town, I thought why not continue, and did that for four hours. Along the way I successfully gave people directions, timed a stop for a bite with a need to pee, and found myself eventually in Bray. Walking along the promenade, a gentleman pointed out a trail leading up Bray Head. When I told him I had walked from Dun Laoghaire, he said "go softly." Too exhausted, I walked to the end of the promenade and slowly made my way to the DART station for a train back.
Day three I decided that walking suited my solo mood and set off to wanderHowth cliff walk. For miles my only companions were the chatter of birds, some of the most spectacular windswept coast (makes me want to reread Banville's The Sea), and a sense that I did not need maps, plans, or company with the sea to my left. After three hours, I again felt a serene exhaustion.
As for day four, undetermined.