Galway. Out into the fresh air. I left Kim putting on her make-up and went to search the streets for some coffee to help us both brighten up and greet the morning. And a particularly inviting one it was, with all that bluish sky stretching above our heads to a far-away horizon. The sun loomed promising that day.
We finally made it to the bus, high-spirited and chirping. Kim threw herself merrily into her good old habit that I had grown accustomed to: that of casting her spell over the bus-driver. Only this time she drew the man’s attention to me. No danger other than spending a good time, though. I introduced myself and the day was bound to be a long, yet a fun one. What followed was that I became the centre of attention, the target not-to-be-missed by the Irishman’s mischievous remarks. He sang ‘Sylvia’s mother’ to me and served me a portion of that rude, proud-to-be-Irish ironic humour, which he melted in a hearty, honest smile, when he said to me that if I didn’t know Irish, then I knew nothing at all. That was when he heard Kim saying that I spoke four languages. He also encouraged the other travelers to go on doing dodgy things each time we made a halt in some unheard-of tiny village, and blame it on me. It was all very exciting and I started to blame it on the weather, because the sun turned into Irish myth and the ever-present rain was pouring down so densely, that we were all stuck on the bus. I have to say that most of the Irish bus-drivers acting as guides are human chatterboxes, so if one gets past the accent, one might actually get some beautiful stories.
Connemara spread out as magnificent as it could be on a very cloudy, cold and wet afternoon. Looking out every bus window that allowed my eyes to wander in that landscape, I was already cropping up a plan to come back by car one day and step out whenever I felt like. The bad weather conditions took nothing away from the greatness of that untamed beauty, or so it seemed to me, fascinated with the dramatic painting I was witnessing. This is how I was striving to keep it in mind, for this was no time to go out with a camera. We covered several sights: the Ross Errilly Friary, the Ashford Castle, passed through the village of Cong and Leenane to the Kylemore Abbey and back to Galway via Inagh Valley. Through it all, memories, laughter, music, tiredness and that bitter-sweet feeling that we were both losing and gaining something as our bus was cutting its trail.