We’re talkin’, you and me/We’re hopin’ this trip won’t do us in.*
Saturday, May 25th, was a quick (2.5 hour) train ride to Cork and then a taxi to our hotel at Littleisland. First thing our cab driver asked us when we got in the cab was if we were in town for the Rod Stewart concert that night. Well, that certainly explained why I’d had such a hard time getting hotel reservations back in December when I was putting the finishing touches on this trip.
Sunday, at noon, we met up with the rest of the Wilderness Travel group in the lobby of a downtown hotel. There are fourteen of us plus three guides: Con, Killian, and Ann. Transportation logistics are: One van to haul all of our baggage and a sixteen passenger “people mover” for shifting us from one starting point to the next. The set up worked brilliantly for getting us out of the town and out to Ballylickey and the Seaview Hotel, which will be our base for two days.
During our drive, Con provided a commentary on some of the forces, physical, religious and political, that have shaped this beautiful island. He is very much a man of this place with a love and respect and understanding of it that will greatly enhance our experience this coming week.
We had lunch at a very nice local eatery and had an introduction to some of the food products (cheeses, bread, meats) that have made west Cork a slow food haven. Everything was so flavorful and good. This is going to be a very enriching (and enlarging, I’m afraid) tour.
After checking in to the hotel, we put on our hiking gear and headed out for our introductory hike. Because it was a beautiful, sunny day, Con took us out onto the Sheep’s Head Peninsula. We walked with Killian, while Con drove the van to the terminus of the hike. Or, at least, that was the plan.
We did walk with Killian and the walk was magnificent with Bantry Bay to the north of the peninsula and Dunmanus Bay on the south. Lots of wind, sun, greens and blues. Some ups and downs and lots of stiles to negotiate. We had one hiccup when Killian misread the map once (or maybe twice) and we had to retrace our steps for a bit (maybe more than a bit but I won’t get into that level of detail here). As a result of this miscalculation, instead of us meeting Con at what was supposed to be the terminus, Con drove up to collect us on the path. Still, a great warm up walk.
Back to hotel for showers and pre-dinner visiting and slide presentation. Then a sumptuous dinner featuring wonderful local fish, meats and veg at the hotel dining room and bed.
This is going to be a great trip.
*Apologies to Fats Domino