Monday, April 18, 2011

Playing Chicken with a Horse Drawn Carriage

Probably not one of the smartest things I've ever done. I'm not usually a daredevil, but I'm also not indecisive... but to be honest this really wasn't that terrifying. So don't fret!
We spent all of today on one of the Aran (pronounced like Aaron or Erin) islands. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, again. We have been so blessed to have such fantastic weather. This trip to the west coast would not be nearly as fun if it was raining the whole time. On the island, we were given bikes and the freedom to explore! So exciting! So we took off down the roads to see the rest of the island.
In some ways, it is very traditional. All the natives speak Gaelic as their first language and English as their second and live more simply than the mainland. But it is also very commercialized... mostly because tourists want to see the traditional Ireland. So on our biking adventure, we had to compete for pavement space with small cars and horse drawn carriages. Most of the time it was fine and we could all weave around each other, but in some spots the road became very very very thin. It was at one of these points that a horse and I had a face off. Audrey and I were following closely behind one carriage and looking for a chance to get around it. We came down a hill and were in the perfect spot when another one started to approach from the other direction. Audrey quickly zoomed around the carriage and made it fairly easily. Now I was left with a dilemma- wait for it to pass and get stuck again way behind Audrey or go for it. This is about where my brain stopped thinking and adrenaline and reflexes took over. I quickly pedaled around the carriage in front of me and managed to just get in front of it before colliding with the other carriage moving towards me. Whew! That was close.
We made it to the far side of the island and sat down for lunch... after climbing another large hill to a ring fort. After lunch and once Kyle had arrived, we were permitted to look over the edge of the cliff in the fort. At first, it felt stupid that we had to wait for him, after all, we're not five. Then he told us if we wanted to go to the edge we had to crawl and we could only stick our heads over... Turns out, I'm glad for those rules too! This cliff edge was a sheer drop straight down to the ocean and boulders below. Yikes! I am not a fan of heights so I didn't spend too long admiring the view.
The rest of the afternoon we explored some more and found a geological phenomenon they call "The Wormhole." It looks like a perfectly rectangular swimming pool in the middle of some rocks close to the edge of the island. It was actually pretty cool. Then we went and saw seals chillin out in the ocean, catching some fish. After admiring them for a bit, we quickly pedaled back to the harbor to make the 5:00 ferry. If you miss that ferry, too bad! You are stuck on the island all night! Needless to say, we were highly motivated to make it back in time.

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