Filed under: English
The damp map was spread before us on the table. Our hands clutched mugs of hot tea. Outside, the rain was pouring.
When we’d walked in the pub, a row of eyes had fixated on me. My shaved head, my bright rain jacket, my biking tan, my weird shoes. Alex quickly ran to the bathroom while I ordered, ignoring the drunken stares of the six men sitting at the bar.
-Could I have two cups of tea please?
The bartender shook his head.
-Sorry, I don’t have tea.
-Do you have anything warm then?
I gestured towards the door and the grey sky.
-I have some instant coffee if you’d like.
I pouted in disgust.
-Well, we have teabags with us, if you could heat up some water for us we’d be grand.
-Sure, why not. I’ll put on the kettle for yous.
I let myself down on a bench nearby and slowly removed my rainjacket, spreading it across a chair to let it dry.
When Alex came back from the bathroom, the tea was ready. We took the map out and stared at it.
-Should we avoid the ring of Kerry then? I said. I don’t like those National roads, they’re too full of cars. And people keep telling us that the ring of Beara is just as nice but less touristy.
-Sounds good to me. What about this lighthouse right here? Maybe we could camp there?
Outside, the rain. Inside, wood paneling and Guinness ads. And us. Tracing roads with our fingers. Settling for a destination for the night.
As we were leaving, a man at the bar stopped me.
-Where are you from?
-How do you like Ireland?
-Ah, it’s fantastic. Apart from just now, the weather has been brilliant since we got here 3 weeks ago. Biking is easy, the hills aren’t too bad and the landscape is ever changing and so gorgeous.
-Oh yes the rain. I’m afraid to go home it’s so bad.
I looked outside. The rain was falling heavily. « Afraid? » I thought. Alcool sure gives one strange emotions.
That night, we camped by the road, in the driveway of an abandoned house. Around our tent, thorny blackberry bushes were threatening us. The next morning, we gathered a bagfull of ripe berries and biked to the nearest town. Sitting on a bench by the beach, we cooked some oats. The sun was out. Clouds were scattered all over the blue sky.