Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

Horse Power
Though many prefer to rent a car, we choose to use public transportation. Whether we took the bus, cab or train, we like to travel much like the girl in my dream did. It’s the best way, to get to really know ordinary people, and experience the real flavour of a country. Sure, it limits some excursions and plans, yet it opens up so many others as well. Travelling by bus and train gives a person the chance to chat with other riders, possibly learn a bit of local history, find out where the ‘must see’ sights were. As it turned out, we were often treated to some pretty amusing company. These friendly strangers would point out historical ruins we might otherwise wonder about, and suggest things we should take in, if we had the chance. One time, I was seated beside a pleasant gentleman and we struck up a conversation. As the bus motored along, a ruin appeared in the distance. All that was left, of what must’ve been a stately home or castle-like structure was a crumbling tower. The gentleman gave my arm, a bit of a nudge, “See that ruin over there?”
“Yes,” nodding, I smiled. I wondered what history he was going to tell me. From the twinkle in his eyes, he was certainly about to relate something interesting. Maybe there was a story attached to the ruin, something wondrous and magical. I eagerly waited for him to go on.
“Have yeh ever heard of Bunratty Castle, yes?” he asked. His smile should’ve been a clue that he was about to have a bit of fun, yet I completely missed it.
“I have, it’s pretty impressive,” my smile urged him to continue.
“Well that,” he could barely contain his mirth, “is the ruin of another castle. The big brother is a ways up the road. This one was Bunmousy … Bunmousy Castle.”
I began to chuckle, because he’d completely led me along, and quite willingly, too. I’d been caught by the famous, Irish wit, and had to laugh. After all, it was pretty witty. We stopped off in Adare, a lovely village with many thatch cottages to admire, and a beautiful golf course that Tiger Woods was a part owner in. We found a lovely bed and breakfast to spend the night at. Run by a most congenial couple who took us under their wing, we were treated to a drive through the grounds of the golf course. Though it had been sold to American interests, it had been with the condition that the local folk could still enjoy the grounds. We were with locals, so were able to have a bit of a tour. It was rather amusing, as there was a guard at the gate, but he couldn’t stop very many from entering the golf course. The locals get to enjoy the grounds into perpetuity.
After spending the day meandering around the village and doing a bit of browsing through the shops, we were ready to fall into bed. Up early the next morning, we were anxious to catch the bus and carry on, yet our lovely hosts, I say hosts because despite the fact that we paid to stay with them, they went above and beyond making us comfortable, seemed to be making sure we couldn’t up and go as quickly as we wanted to. The evening before, the wife said that her husband would take a peek at the bus schedule when he went on his morning walk. Come morning, the husband said for us to wait for his wife. She had to run some errands and would give us a ride part of the way. As it turned out, she drove us all the way to our next destination, which was lovely. Part of a group of people who rescued dogs, we had a little, naughty puppy for company. We drove by the tower ruin, all that was left of a much larger building, and I related the story of how the man on the bus had joked that it was Bunmousy. Funnily enough, it was the ruin of the castle her family had descended from. Sweetpea and I both were amused as well as surprised by that. What were the odds of something like that? Life is full of interesting coincidences, and that was certainly one of them.
Sure, we could rent a car, yet if we did that, we’d miss out on so many great experiences and interactions. Taking the train is relaxing and comfortable. The only problem with it is, if you see something you want to check out, you can’t. Trains run on tracks and stop at designated spots. If you’re in Ireland and take the bus, it’s still pretty comfortable. Sure, there might be the odd driver here and there who needs an attitude adjustment, but that’s rare, as most were nothing but cheerful and helpful. If you see something and want to get off, you can. You don’t have to wait for the designated stop. As for cabs, well, they pretty well take you wherever you want to go, the same with your feet. For the most part, there aren’t any limitations. We’d learned so much on our travels around Ireland, like the fact that buses will fly on by if you don’t hold out your hand to stop them. Bus stop or not, they’ll carry right on by, if you don’t make it obvious that you want to ride. By that same token, they’ll let you off pretty well anywhere you want as well. It’s interesting, and surprisingly efficient. The things we saw from the windows of buses were often amazing, and some we were able to experience.
Standing at the bus stop, early on our last morning in Ireland, we learned why one of the bus drivers we’d had the misfortune of experiencing, had been so angry. He’d given us, the worst ride we’d ever experienced. The ride where I contemplated hijacking the bus and taking over, because he’d been that awful. He was angry, very angry, about his job.
Unfortunately for us on that last morning in Ireland, just like that, they were on strike. There were no buses running in Ireland as of that morning and we had to take a cab to the airport. We were ever so fortunate that the strike happened on our last day in Ireland. Any other time and we would’ve had no choice but to rent a car, or greatly restrict our travels to wherever the trains ran. It wouldn’t have been impossible, as there are a great many trains running, some are commuter trains, which stop at every tiny village, and some run between major cities. It would’ve been possible to do our travel by train, yet I imagine so much more crowded with the buses down. Yup, we were pretty lucky that trip. Mind you, I think we’re pretty lucky every time we travel. We meet the most interesting people, and get to have wonderful experiences. We were heading home, but were already looking forward to travelling again. It’s a bit of an addiction … travelling.

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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