It seemed weird to have to use my own two feet again, but I begrudgingly got my walking shoes on once again.
Traveling and experiencing the kindness of strangers is one of the joys of life, and this trip was no exception.
I decided to take a round-about way to get back to Paris. I found if I took 4 different trains I would eventually end up in Wales, where I could hop a ferry to Dublin to visit some friends. So that's what I did.
Naturally, one train was 8 minutes late and I ended up having hours to kill in a few random towns around Liverpool while waiting for the next train to catch up with me, but I smartly got an open ticket and it wasn't a big deal, and I love just being able to stop at a random place to check out what's going on.
I finally got to Holyhead, and I still had hours to kill before the ferry ride, so I took a walk.
There was actually a bird preserve and a lighthouse on the north side of town, but not a puffin was in sight, so I headed into the downtown area.
It was pretty depressing. I was really hoping to meet someone Richard Burton-esque while there, but I only saw sad sad sad people. Alcoholism seems to be a huge problem here, and the main billboard advertiser in town was for a suicide hotline.
And, although this rarely happens, I got a sense of being not welcome. It was like I was there solely to kidnap their FAS-afflicted children. Suspicious stares abounded. I mean, really. Look at me:
That's the face of someone who wants to get the hell out of Wales as soon as possible.
Even the dogs were looking at me with shifty eyes.
Anyway...not wanting to squander an afternoon, I kept going. Nothing seemed to be open, but I finally found a place that sold me their last heat-lamp warmed cornish pastry as they were closing their doors and that was a real high moment.
There was a church, built upon the remains of a Roman fort.
The church was closed, the maritime museum was shuttered, nothing to eat. My impression of this part of Wales...I would probably need that suicide hotline if I lived here.
So I sat on the beach and worked on my socks until it was time to go.
Finally, go time.
The boat was pretty big and spacious, and the seas were almost comically rough. It takes about 2 hours to get from Holyhead to Dublin, and there were quite a few people emptying the contents of their stomachs the entire trip. As the boat was pulling into port, this one gentleman who had filled several bags with his lunch, missed a few times and got the table he was at and his shoes, proceeded to make a pass at me and FLIRTED with me in between dry heaves, and offered to share a cab into the city with me. Um, no? I think I'll walk. He wasn't even playing awkward when I bumped into him the next day at the Book of Kells. Shameless.
It was nice to be on land again, although it was far from dry.