Getting to the Start

by sedona maniak

I've just completed my first cruise, a trip with my wife, Therese, and my father, Bob, to Ireland, Iceland, Northern Ireland, and a bit of GB. We stopped in Southhampton, England; Port George, Guernsey; Waterford, Cobh (Cork) and Dublin, Ireland; Reykjavik and Akureyri, Iceland; and Belfast, Northern Ireland. We kissed the Blarney stone, viewed the Waterford Charter Roll of 1373 and saw Viking remnants all over that town. We found traditional music and excellent food in Dublin at Doheny and Nesbitt (and BEAMISH!). There were castles and churches and cathedrals: we quickly understood AFC (another fucking castle, cathedral, citadel, etc). We learned what SFA means from a Dublin cab driver (that's Sweet Fuckall), and exchanged phrases by announcing that he was “flipping a bitch “ He said that he would use it on his next Americans. There were lava tubes and volcanic craters near Reykjavik, along with a highly overrated blue lagoon. Reykjavik also supplied lovely baked goods and an oddly stark cathedral. At Akureyri, we saw stunning waterfalls, fjords, rivers and mountains. In Belfast, we found a wonderful 5 star pub called the Morning Star, and enjoyed a brief tour of the various old buildings downtown. Overall, there were various opportunities for me to eat things that I appreciate, such as dried fish, oysters, and escargot. We searched out newspapers and fish and chips for my dad, and eclectic experiences for Therese and myself. Ever been to the Phallological Museum? Played in a Scrabble tournament on a thrashing ship? I intend to detail that trip thoroughly after the hike is completed.

Now the whirlwind cruise has come to an end, and I am sitting in Huxley's at Heathrow. I am on my second pint, nursing it until a mystical gate number appears for my flight to Glasgow. Dad and Therese left hours ago, after another several hours' wait and a fine breakfast at a different terminal that seems distant already. Being off the ship is a joy, but I miss them. We went through so much history, culture and social interaction in such a short time that we each were overwhelmed at one time or another. Now, I am soaking in the experiences in a swirl of languages and scents bustling past me, people reflected in the huge mirror behind the bar, creating a surreal reality show.

In Glasgow, I will get transport to the Native Glasgow hotel, which is near Queen St station, where I will hop onto a train to Helensburgh tomorrow morning and begin my hike.