Thursday, May 8, 2008

Made it to England!

Dublin to Liverpool

Of course I missed my ferry to the UK. I thought I allotted enough time so that I would make it at least 45 minutes (including time in case I got lost) before the ferry was set to leave. Well, apparently not. I missed a turn or turned when I shouldn't have or something (the roads are sometimes odd), and somehow ended up in the middle of the city. And then suddenly BAM, I am at the cross section of the river and O'Connell! I tell you, that intersection is always popping up on me. So I made my way in the direction of the port, and once I got to the port area is where it took additional time that I was not expecting. Terminal 1, the terminal of my ferry, was pretty much the furthest point of the massive port area, so that was a few extra miles. So by the time I actually arrived, it was too late to board. Sigh.

But I was able to take the next ferry out, which was a few hours later.

Before I boarded the ferry, I stored my bike in the same area as the cars that are traveling, so seeing the car deck for the first time was kinda neat.

Oh, and during the ride, I went outside on the outer deck, and it was SOOOOOO WINDY!!!!!!

Anyway, so it was a smooth ferry ride, and the train ride was smooth too. (Ferry took me to Holyhead in Wales, the train took me to Liverpool in England.) I was able to arrive in Liverpool an hour earlier than I thought I would, because I was able to catch the Holyhead-Liverpool train an hour early. That was thanks in part to a quick transition between the ferry and the train. As a biker, this other biker dude and I were literally the first ones off the ferry. I was actually really glad he was there, because I was basically following his lead. The train station was probably a little over a mile away. (Regular foot passengers take a shuttle away from the port.) When I got there I asked about the train to Liverpool, and the guy told me it was about to leave. So I quickly made my way to the right platform and was able to get on the earlier train! YAY!!! Oh, and there is a reason people tell you if you're cycle touring make sure you can carry the weight of your bike with your bags on it. Because once again, I had to lift my bike up fully to get it onto the train. It's a wee bit more difficult when the weight isn't evenly distributed on the bike, and there's 40+ pounds on the back, while there's almost no weight on the front. It's a severe balance issue, haha.

But yes, nice train ride. Mostly the country side of Wales. I saw many cows, horses, and sheep. Also along the coast for a good while.

Oh, and in the United Kingdom, kids get into flour fights on trains. Yes, flour like the kind you use to make bread. The conductor came by and was like "be careful when you lean back. Kids got into a flour fight earlier." Then sure enough, when I looked at seats around mine, there was flour residue on a good number of seats. hahaha.

So I got to Liverpool. I started making my way towards (what I thought was, and told by a train station employee) the right way to Dara's place. OMG, A HUGE HILL. Just hoped I would not be dealing with hills throughout England. That would not be fun for me. But... what should have been a 2 mile trip, I of course turned into much longer. Google map directions really do not help at all when you can't locate the street signs to know where you are. Sometimes they're on the buildings, sometimes they're on a sign on the ground, sometimes there's nothing at all!! The people walking on the streets weren't always a big help. One time I was sent completely in the wrong direction. Completely. I'm sure it was not on purpose, but still. Other times they just didn't know. And other times, it was probably just because I missed the street they told me to turn at.

But of course, I eventually made it as I always do!!! I just like to give myself a more difficult time than I have to.

Bike around Dublin/Holyhead/Liverpool: 14 miles

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