After a somewhat bumpy ride over the sea, Jennine and I arrived on Inis Mor, one of the Aran Islands off the coast of Conamara. Rory was waiting for us and we all went to a tiny restaurant to have lunch before our epic bike ride. I chose the fish and chips because my stomach was desperate for it. After our quick bite, Jennine and I head over to a bike rental place and asked the man for two of his finest two-wheelers. The charge for the day is 10euro, but he requires a 10euro deposit as well. I was about to hand him a twenty to cover my own bike, and he said, “I feel terrible charging two beautiful girls full price.” He gave the bikes each for 5euro. What a deal! Then we were off!
I began the trip singing “Bicycle Race” by Queen, “Bicycle” by Hey Ocean, and “Bicycles are Red Hot” by TV on the Radio. My friends didn’t like it so much. I stopped singing upon their request, but also because I realized I can’t bicycle and sing at the same time. It’s not easy, especially when biking up hill after hill, against the wind, with rain spraying sideways into your face.
The view was beautiful and there is something so refreshing about the smell of the sea. As we biked along the path, with the water on one side, beautiful green pastures on the other, and the lovely aroma of burning turf in the air, I felt a spark of inspiration! I can understand why so many painters and poets have come to the west of Ireland to create— it is impossible to not feel inspired. There were donkeys and cows in the yards of the houses. I saw a sheep on a leash! We took lots of ridiculous photos, even in-action-selfies, which is probably the most dangerous thing I have attempted this whole trip, if I am being completely honest.
We were on our way back to the ferry dock. I didn’t realize that the ‘uphill both ways’ thing is physically possible, but it turns out on Inis Mor, it is! I was exhausted by the time we clambered onto the boat. My stomach let me know that it was having rough time with the fish and chips and I appreciated the warning. The wind picked up and I started to get anxious about the rocky ride back to the mainland. I decided to go to sleep and sleep through whatever motion sickness I was about to experience. It worked! I slept the whole time! I sat two rows ahead of Rory and Jennine so we could all have window seats. I woke up just as we were pulling up to the dock.
I looked behind me to find Rory and Jennine and they were nowhere to be found. I looked at the front of the boat, and then to the back, but I couldn’t spot them. Then the woman next to me said, “they came looking for you, and then said you’d figure it out…. Will you figure it out?” I smiled and nodded. She was so sweet. Then you know what? I figured it out! I stood up and saw the two of them standing by the door to race off as soon as we were able. We decided that it was imperative we sit at the front of the second floor of the double decker bus, and the only way we would be able to make it is if we RAN out of the ferry and to the bus. We did this. The bus arrived and the three of us ran like crazy people to the door. I hurdled over suitcases and children in what felt like slow motion. I am sure the people around me thought, “that girl should be in the olympics”. FOR sure. We made it! We sat at the very front of the bus and looked out the beautiful window at the beautiful countryside. That is, until the bus filled up with sweaty post-bicycling-bodies and the windows all fogged up.