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The Early Bird Gets The Worm!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 @ 04:19 pm from Ireland Ireland
Day 13

I woke up at 6:00 this morning in an effort to hike to the Cliffs of Moher so I could see them in the morning light and have breakfast with quite a view. Unfortunately the sun wasn't really playing nice and since there wasn't a cloud in the sky it was casting some pretty harsh shadows on the cliffs. The views were still incredible and there wasn't another soul out there. The freshness of the mornings always makes walking through nature so much nicer.

I made the 8km (plus a few extra) to the O'Brien's Tower - the highest point along the cliffs - and had the entire viewing spots and surrounding areas to myself. By now the sun had already been up for a few hours and the temperature and humidity was really starting to crank up. I stayed in the shade of the tower for a little while before starting my journey back.

On the way back I made sure to stop at some of the overviews and take in the views and sounds. I still had only seen 4 people in the 3 hours I'd been out hiking around so I could take my time watching the views without any interruptions. I made sure to take as many mental pictures as I could.

By the time it reached 10:00 it was getting to be uncomfortably hot. I was drenched in sweat and there isn't any shade on the exposed cliffs. I picked up my pace and by about 10:30 I finally started to see some more walkers making their way to the cliffs. I'm not quite sure any of them knew what kind of heat to expect but I'm glad I wasn't starting when they did.

I came back to the hotel where it was nice and cool and did a few hours of work and also made some changes to my blog (check out the Maps page. I added a new heatmap that shows where I've been staying each night). I also had a chance to do laundry for the first time! I was in desperate need of it and it felt great to have all of my clothes clean again.

Afterwards I changed and had the intentions of walking around a little bit but after about 10 minutes I decided I had enough of the sun and heat for the day and came back. I stopped in a local cheese/meat/wine/jam shop and sampled some of their treats and bought a bottle of cider that looked good. I'll crack it open tonight with dinner and see how it is.

I also bought my bus ticket to Galway so I'll be heading up there tomorrow. I'll stay there 3 nights then head to Dublin early Saturday morning so I can catch my flight to Edinburgh later in the day.

The Cliffs of Moher has been a great experience. Aside from the intense heat and sun, the views were amazing. I think I'd rather it be this way than cloudy and foggy though. It definitely let me see a lot more of the cliffs than most people get to experience in typical Irish weather.
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Cliffs from some rocks
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More Cliffs of Moher
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Who dat?
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O'Brien's Tower

Can It Get Any More Beautiful? The Cliffs of Moher

Monday, July 8, 2013 @ 09:43 pm from Ireland Ireland
Day 12

Today was a good day. It started off with a complimentary mini Irish breakfast that was included in my hotel cost. I took a couple croissants to snack on later as well. It was amazingly hot and humid here today so instead of sweating like crazy walking around Limerick I just relaxed in the hotel until I needed to leave for the bus station.

I stopped and got a few apples on my way to the station and was already starting to break a sweat. Not a cloud in the sky, 80% humidity and about 80 degrees. For a country that's been in the 60's and cloudy the entire time I've been here... this is hot!

The bus ride was going fine until the bus driver pulled over for a few minutes unexpectedly. He called in that there was some kind of issue with the gas pedal not working. He did a few things and we started moving again. About 5 minutes later we pulled over again and he said another bus is on the way and it should be there in about 10-15 minutes.

It was like sitting in an oven on the bus so most of us got off and waited outside in the shade where there was a nice breeze. I ended up talking to 4 sisters and their mom who were from Arizona and were finishing up a 4 week European trip. We agreed that dry heat is much better than heat and humidity.

The new bus came and we carried on. The hostel I'm staying at is in a tiny town called Doolin. The nearest grocery store is 3.5km away (more on that later). Doolin was the last stop so it was just me and a girl named Amy (also from the states) so we got checked into the hostel. I was looking forward to doing a hike along the cliffs so after putting my bags away I came out to ask about it. Amy was also looking to do the same hike so we set out together.

The hike started at the hostel and followed the coast for several miles up to the actual Cliffs of Moher visitor area. There were so many scenic viewpoints along the way it was amazing. The cliffs started gradually climbing and we had some good elevation gains. The highest cliffs we got to were somewhere around 700 feet worth of sheer drops above the ocean. We stopped at a spot where several other tourists were and took some photos hanging over the edge of the cliff.

By now it was around 5pm and the sun was still blazing down fiery doom from above. We set back and needed to get to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner. It took about an hour and a half to get back to the hostel and then we thought the grocery was just up the street (I remembered seeing it from the bus on the way in). Turns out it was 3.5km away and after hiking in the full sun for over 4 hours, that hike seemed to last forever.

Finally made it there and I got some food for dinner tonight, all three meals tomorrow and breakfast and lunch the following day. I made sure I wasn't going to need to do that hike again for any food. I also got an ice cream bar to help cool me down.

I got back to the hostel and ended up making some pasta and slamming a bunch of water. The wifi here is a bit spotty so it's taking forever to upload the photos from today. I desperately need to take a shower to get all the sweat and sunscreen off from the hike today and my clothes are in some major need of laundry. Fortunately they offer free laundry here so I'm going to take advantage of that sometime before I leave.

Everyone said to visit the Cliffs of Moher and all of the websites and travel blogs mentioned it as well. The photos and videos looked amazing but I have to say that being there and standing on the edge of a 700 foot drop into the ocean, you can't capture that kind of stuff on any medium except your memory.
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Cliffs of Moher
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Chillin' on the side of a cliff
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Cliffs of Moher
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Cliffs of Moher

Where I've been:

Good Evening… Planet Earth
All the countries I visited on this trip (in yellow).

What's this about?

Traveling is something I've loved doing for as long as I can remember. I've been lucky enough to travel out of the US a few times but never longer than 2 weeks at a time. I decided that I should go see the world and experience all it has to offer. I booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland to depart on June 26, 2013. After I get to Europe I'll let serendipity take hold and see where I end up. No schedules and no itinerary… just go with the flow. That's as close to a plan as I'm making.

Who am I?

My name's Brandon O'Brien and I'm a travelholic. Before this journey I've been to 11 countries and put over 17,500 miles on various motorcycle trips through the USA and Canada. I'm a self-employed web developer so I'm fortunate enough to be able to work anywhere there's an internet connection. That's what truly made this experience possible.


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