The Bushmills Monsoon

This actually might have been my favorite adventure after leaving Dublin. Go figure, we were still in Ireland! But that's just it: it was an adventure. After exploring Giant's Causeway, we came across a cliff walk. The entrance that we were at was closed, but we hopped over the fence and ventured on! It was lightly raining when we started off, but it didn't take long for the storm to start. It was a downpour from then on, and it did not let up at any point.

After a really long walk (many, many miles) in the pouring rain, we were soaked to the core. We made it to Bushmills, the town nearby. We popped into a little cafe for some lunch. Unfortunately they didn't have much to offer. And the place was pretty drafty, so we didn't get dry or warm really. But we had thawed out a little at least. We decided that we didn't want to walk several more miles in the pouring rain to get back to the hostel, so we set off to find the bus schedule.

Once we'd found a bus stop, we didn't want to leave it in case the bus was coming soon. So Xin Yun ran across the street to get a schedule. While Alec and I waited, we ducked under a doorway so we weren't getting any colder. A man walked out of an alley for a smoke break, and made light conversation about the horrible weather. He asked what we were doing under the doorway, so we explained the whole situation. He told us that when our friend came back, we should come into the pub that he was working in, and he'd call us a cab back to the hostel. When Xin Yun returned, he insisted. We followed him back to the pub. Everyone in there was so overwhelmingly kind. They took our jackets and fixed the electric fireplace so that we could warm up next to it. Everyone offered to buy us drinks. And while all of this happened, the man who had brought us called a cab. One old lady finally forced us to accept some drinks. She offered to bus us her favorite, which consisted of white lemonade and some kind of rum. It was actually really really yummy. She thanked us for "visiting her country", which she assured us had so much to offer. Then, the cab driver arrived, and we were trying to hurry and finish our drinks. He just say down alongside us at the bar and chatted with everyone, in absolutely no rush. Once we had finished our drinks, we all said goodbye and headed back to the hostel. We spent the rest of the night thawing out under lots and lots of layers after boiling hot showers.

The next day, we wanted to enjoy our last bit of time there with a hike. On the map that we had, the carrick-a-rope bridge was not a horrible distance away. So we hiked in the opposite direction along the cliff, only with perfect weather this time. We came across loads of cows, heart-shaped puddles, breathtaking views, and groups of foreign visitors out on hikes as well. We hiked so long that we came across a town. At this point, we didn't have a map with us, so we stopped at a house and asked for directions to the bridge. It was actually still really, really far away, and the rain was starting back up again. The guy was super friendly, but his accent was so thick that it was practically impossible to communicate. We were told that a "wee tram" was on its way in just a few minutes if we only waited across the street. We took the bus out to the bridge. Only it was something like 15 euros to just walk across the bridge and come back. Xin Yun still wanted to go, but Alec and I stayed at the cafe there for a slice of cake, or "pie fruit" as my receipt said.

The kindness only continued. We caught a bus back to the hostel because there was no way we could walk all the way back. Then, we had to catch a bus up to Londonderry. We had purchased a bus pass since we knew we'd be taking several busses that day. When we got on the bus to the station that would take us to Derry, however, the driver informed us that the pass wouldn't work for his route. We took out cash to pay him for the tickets, but he insisted that since we had paid for the passes, we take the trip for free. He was just the kindest bus driver ever.

The Derry hostel probably won weirdest hostel of the trip. There were 12 beds per room, stacked 3 high. We got stuck on the tops, which swayed with any movement. The showers were little rooms with doors, and they smelled so strange. The whole place was kind of like a maze.