Tuesday 27 June 2023

Retirement trip - Day 34

 Left Glengarriff in drizzly weather with a clear plan - I would ride the Ring of Beara in the morning and the Ring of Kerry in the afternoon. These are routes around peninsulas on the west coast and are famed for their scenery.

I started round the Ring of Beara and took a side road to see the unique cable car that connects Dursey Island to the mainland. I had seen a YouTube video about this which mentioned tht it would be closed for a year for maintenance. At the end of the road there was a sign saying the cable car was closed to the public and was only running for testing. When I arrived the cable car office was locked up and nothing was moving.

At this point my still camera completely stopped working and I think it's not dead. I took a couple of photos on my phone, but as it adds a yellow cast to the pictures I have to convert them to black and white.

I was speaking to some people there and the locals seemed to think that the cable car would be running that afternoon. There were people queuing at the island side, so it looks like they thought the same thing.

I carried on round the Beara peninsula and passed through some beautiful villages and spectacular scenery - sadly the rain was getting heavier and visibility was poor at parts.

The road on the north side of the peninsula was much narrower and winding with poor visibility, so speed was down to crawling at some points. I realised the ride was taking much longer than expected and that a ride round the Ring of Kerry wouldn't be possible in the time I had. Looking for something else to fill the day, I decided to ride over the Healy Pass. This was a very good road, but the heavy rain made visibility a bit difficult.

See, it's not all riding around in glorious sunshine!

 I had taken other videos but they were so poor due to poor visibility, rain on lens, etc that I couldn't use it.

The pass took me back to Glengarriff and I actually rode past the place I had stayed. The rain wasn't getting any better, so I rode n to my destination for tonight, the small town of Killorglin, Co Kerry. The place i was staying said I couldn't book in until 18:00, so I rode fairly gently and stopped at a cafe for about an hour to use up time.

One of the reasons I'm in Ireland is to go to concerts tomorrow night and Friday night. I'd bought the tickets through Ticketmaster ages ago and today got an e-mail from them saying they had changed the way you can show your tickets. You can now only use a 'live' system on your phone and they won't accept a screenshot. You also have to download a new version of Ticketmaster's Irish app for it to work. I tried downloading the new Ticketmaster Ireland app but as I've got a British phone I got a 'not available in your country' message. Ticketmaster UK couldn't find my tickets as they are at a venue outside the UK, so I had to spend ages loading and reloading apps to get it to work. I then had to download the Google Wallet app to store the tickets. All in, this took me 3 hours, but I think I got it to work. Nice of them to do this the day before a concert!

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Monday 26 June 2023

Retirement trip - Days 32 and 33

Day 32 

A fairly short ride from Saint-Malo to Chebourg on lovely sunny, warm country roads. I had almost run out of clean clothes so stopped at a coin operated launderette and gave everything I wasn't wearing a wash and dry. Cherbourg was a bit difficult to navigate due to a lot of roadworks and blocked streets, but I made it to my destination, the ferry terminal.

At the terminal there was the usual lengthy wait to get through all of the ticketing and passport checks. At least here motorcyclists are directed to wait at a proper waiting room with seats, vending machines, toilets, and a very welcome (and free) water cooler. I got into conversation with a Croatian rider who lives in Ireland and was returning from a two month trip to Croatia and Serbia via France and Italy.

I have travelled by Irish Ferries before and know how extortionate their charge for Internet use was (other ferry companies are free), so no report tonight.

So there will be an overnight sea border crossing and a return to riding on the left hand side of the road.

Approximate map.

Day 33

Had a really good sleep in my cabin, but nearly died when I saw the price of a cup of coffee and a croissant for breakfast! Always take your own food when travelling by ferry!

Ireland coming into view.

Berthing at Dublin Port

Ferry arrived at Dublin Port and did that amusing thing of rotating round and backing into the jetty, (so vehicles can drive straight off). Clearing passport control went fairly quickly, and it was out into the streets of Dublin. Unfortunately, the route out is through the city centre, so I took me over an hour to clear the city, and it started pouring with rain!  I used a short amount of motorway to get away, then it was back onto my usual habit of taking back roads. The rain was off and on all afternoon, so I didn't stop and take any photos. Had the weather been good, one place I would of stopped and photoed is the Rock of Cashel, it looks really impressive.

Pic stolen from Wikipedia

I carried on on increasingly beautiful scenery until I arrived at my destination for tonight, the very pretty town of Glengarriff, Co, Cork.

One thing I like about Ireland is how people paint their houses bold colours

I've got some plans for tomorrow, but they will depend on the weather.

Update: This is a map of today's journey from Dublin to Glengarriff, not my plans for tomorrow. Sorry for any confusion.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Retirement trip - Day 31

 I left Les Sables-d'Olonne and headed a short distance out of town to Musée Auto de Vendée. I hadn't heard of this museum before, I just drove past it yesterday and decided to visit this morning. It has a very good collection of very early cars plus a good selection of 50s and 60s cars, the vast majority being French built so unfamiliar to me. The older cars are particularly well restored, something which must be a mammoth task as parts must be unavailable. In addition to the cars there are a few motorbikes, some carts and bicycles, toys and household items. Entry was 16 Euros and it is well worth visiting if you are in the area. Website.

The day was very hot and sunny and I saw 34C at one point, making this the joint hottest day of the trip so far. Most of today's ride wasn't very interesting, just through flat agricultural land with the occasional village. I stopped at one of my favourite French towns, the seaside resort of Dinard. I've visited it at least twice before and it's truly exquisite. It was very popular in the late 19th century with wealthy British visitors, but started to go out of fashion by the 1930s. I really like the town and would consider coming here for a holiday.

The town has a British Film Festival each September, and there's a statue of Alfred Hitchcock, being attacked by birds, on the promenade. Website.

I particularly like The Gallic Hotel. It's in a narrow street near the beach so hard to photograph. Sadly, it wasn't very successful as a hotel and the French Government took it over as a military hospital during WW2. Later it was occupied by the German Army, and after the war it was sold off as individual apartments. It was declared a 'historic monument' by the French government to protect it, but as the building has 75 co-owners it has been difficult to coordinate its preservation. However, it is possible to rent some of the apartments, although they are understandably not cheap!

I rode on to my destination for tonight, Saint Malo. I had a problem with my booking as Booking.com sent me a message yesterday saying the bank card I had booked with had been declined!  They asked me to rebook using a different card, but I only have one. I contacted the hotel in English and French saying I didn't know why it had been declined, but would sort it out when I arrived. I checked the card was working by buying food in a supermarket, petrol in a service station and took out cash from an ATM at a bank. When I arrived at the hotel my card worked in their card reader, so I've no idea what the problem was. 

Friday 23 June 2023

Retirement trip - Day 30

 Left a rather misty Bordeaux and headed northwards up the coast. The misty soon went and it became a hot sunny day with temperatures reach 32C. Today's route was mostly through flat farmland, so not really all that much to see.

I've mentioned before 'hotel room laundry', where you wash and dry your clothes in your hotel room. I've found that it usually takes two nights of being hung up before clothes are dry, so are put in a plastic bag in the luggage when I'm riding if still damp. Today I put some in a mesh bag and strapped it to the back of the saddle. My theory was that the warm air swirling around it would help dry the clothes, or at least unless it rained the clothes wouldn't get any wetter.

Each time I stopped, I turned the bag over so both sides would dry. It worked a bit, some of the clothes were almost dry, whereas others have had to be hung up in the hotel room again. 

On my trip I stopped at the attractive town of Rochefort (didn't he sing 'Cuddly Toy'?)*

It remained a very hot sunny day as I arrived in my destination for tonight, the very nice seaside town of Les Sables-d'Olonne.

Approximate map.

* No that was Roachford!