Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

More than a Rhyme in Time

I’m a bit of a history buff. I suppose that’s why Europe is so fascinating to me. As much as I love the wilds of Canada, and how it’s relatively easy to escape to be away from humanity, I could endlessly explore the countries of Europe. Not only does it make me appreciate how tough people were back then, all the trials and tribulations they had to go through, but learning about history, also makes me grateful that I live in this day and age. The resilience of humanity always amazes me. No matter how hard times became, humans managed to survive, not just survive, but thrive without the benefits of modern science and medicines. What would kill back then is eradicated, curable or manageable now. Besides that, I wouldn’t have done well, if I’d been born in the past. I’m too vocal, too determined to do what I want, and not told what to do. A woman like me wouldn’t have done well in the past.
After Kilkenny, we ended up in Limerick, where King John’s Castle is located. As hugely formidable and impressive as it is, it’s not my favourite sort of castle. I suppose it’s too organized, too laid out for a tourist to view, with no chance to wander at will. We took in a bit of a film about the history of the castle. We learned that it had a bit of a tragic past, and that some men weren’t as brave as others. In this case, the draw bridge was drawn up, leaving many men outside, trapped during an attack where they all met their ends. Leaving the castle somewhat lost in our thoughts, we were still contemplating how sad it was, how awful to be left to die because someone else, someone in power was willing to sacrifice them to save himself. It was while we were quietly sitting on the bus leaving Limerick that we saw an incredible sight. Well, to people who are horse fanatics, to me and my crazy imagination and dreams, it was an incredible sight. There behind a tall set of what would be called apartment buildings in Canada, were a couple of either Gypsy or Traveller caravans … the horse drawn sort. If we hadn’t been on a major highway on a bus heading out of town, we surely would’ve made our way to those buildings. We would’ve loved to see a real, in-use caravan. It would’ve been truly amazing, especially as the dream had a horse caravan in it. Oh … to be able to see the real thing.
From Limerick, (oh how I love the Irish names), we were headed for Dingle. Yup, a lovely village on the water, named Dingle. Of course, on the way, we stopped in other villages, ones that held their own appeal and charm. There was always something to see, horses in pastures, one tied to a telephone pole in a carpark, medieval ruins, all sorts of things to file away for future, possible trips. We had barely begun this trip, and I was already looking forward to visiting Ireland again. I was beginning to understand that there was no way I was going to learn everything I needed to, in one trip. There was so much going by outside that bus window that I wanted to go to, so much to see and do. Still, we were looking forward to Dingle. I had done some research and knew there was going to be the opportunity to ride along the beach. It sounded like fun, and fun was what we wanted to have.
It was a bit of a drive from Limerick to Dingle, by bus. We were thankful that we were travelling and not walking around, as it was pouring rain. What we didn’t like, was our driver. While waiting to leave the bus station, we’d noticed a few drivers having a heated discussion. We didn’t have any idea what it was about then, but would learn much later what was going on. We learned what had made him so angry that day, on the last day of our stay in Ireland. That’s a story for another time though. Anyway, our driver was one of the men arguing until it was time to go. He abruptly left the small group, stalked over then got in and took his seat, and away we went. To say, he was driving angry was an understatement. In the pouring rain, on a two lane highway with long drop-offs on the one side, he propelled that bus along. Whenever he had to pick someone up, he tormented the gears and came to hard, abrupt stops. Getting going again wasn’t any better. That bus bucked and jumped, like a bronc trying to unseat its rider. For as much as I love seeing new things and going places, I’m not a great traveller. I tend to get motion sick, really quite badly, as a matter of fact. I’m pretty good if I’m driving, quite horrible as a passenger. My little sweetpea is much the same. The longer we were on that bus, the worse we felt. It got so bad, I was contemplating telling him to stop the dang bus so I could drive. I had a class one license. It wasn’t like I couldn’t drive the bus, and I surely wouldn’t do so with all the hopping and jerking, this one was being put through. Our driver was tormenting the bus and all the passengers as well. By the time we arrived in Dingle, we were ready to kiss the ground in relief. That was the only horrible ride we’ve ever suffered while travelling, and I surely hope, it never happens again.
Well, we were finally in Dingle. Grateful for making it in one piece, we decided to find a bed and breakfast, book in and leave our bags behind. We needed to walk around and recover from the horrible bus ride. It was too late in the day to go riding, so we decided to check into a bed and breakfast and call it a day. We went for a bit of a walk, before returning to the bed and breakfast for the night. Before settling in, we tried to call the stables in Ventry, a small village just a few miles away, before we settled in for the night. This proved a whole lot harder to do, than we could ever have imagined. We simply couldn’t figure out, how to use the phone book. Nothing seemed to make sense. We knew the name of the owner of the stables, but that didn’t help at all. Nothing seemed to be in any sort of order. As it turned out, the phone book went by the person’s first name, not last like back home. The proprietor of the bed and breakfast had to show us how to use it, even then it wasn’t easy. Thankfully, she was very gracious and made the call for us. They were all booked up for the next day, but we could ride the day after, which was just fine with us. We would explore the village of Dingle instead, then go the few miles further to Ventry. It wasn’t a bad thing, to have time to browse and meander about the village. In the morning, we left our bags behind then walked into the village to see what there was to see. The village was full of quaint, little shops. The walk had been pleasant, sunny and warm. We decided to browse a bit then walk the village to see what there was to see.
Irish weather is a funny thing indeed. We were barely in a shop, looking at the odds and ends meant to tempt us, when sweetpea caught my attention and nodded towards the open door. It was pouring out. Not just drizzling or gently raining, but coming down in buckets! Wow, we’d been lucky to miss that. Apparently, we’d stepped into the shop at just the right time. A few minutes later, the rain stopped as abruptly as it started. Off we went to the next shop. This was the way the next hour went. As we moved from shop to shop, the rain seemed to wait for us to be safely inside before dumping a deluge down, once again. Funnily enough, when we left the shops to explore the rest of the village, it stopped raining entirely. The day remained bright and sunny.
We saw so many interesting things, like a row of homes, built over a stream. The stream entered at one end of the colourful houses, and came out way down at the other end of them. I’m not sure about this, but my guess is that they were built that way, so that all the homes had easy access to the water. When we’d seen about all there was to see, we returned to the bed and breakfast, collected our backpacks then took a cab up to Ventry. We were going to find someplace to stay then go riding first thing in the morning.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB