|The Gap of Dunloe - Ireland|
We were in Ireland. It was our first day off from Touring. We were in Killarney at the beginning of the ring of Kerry Peninsular. It's a tourist mecca and a truly beautiful place. We had separate days planned. Niel - ever in need of achieving something with his day off - went cycling out to an old Druid's Fort, a ride of 150 kms. My intention for the day was to put my bike on a boat trip out to the end of the gorgeous tree and waterlily lined lakes that were interconnected through a series of canals and rapids. Then cycle over the Gap of Dunloe and then ride back to Killarney.
This is a very popular place to visit with people walking, cycling and riding in horse drawn carts. With all the people, you'd think it would be impossible to get lost, but I managed it. At one point it started to rain, [as it did every day we were in Ireland] so I put my jacket on and a cap on my head. Due to the rain, there was a sudden disappearance of people as they must have taken shelter. With my cap down low over my eyes I failed to see the track curl back on itself, there was no sign post, so I carried on straight ahead. The track got rougher and rougher until it resembled a tramping track. It dawned on me that I hadn't seen a soul for an hour. So I retraced my steps and found the right way.
The Gap of Dunloe was beautiful and I managed to make it back to Killarney, with no further mishap. I mentioned getting lost to the visitors centre,who apologised for the lack of signage. The man said the signs keep getting stolen and ending up in American bars!
we are in a dilemma over our route through central Asia. At the moment we are mulling over 4 options:
1] Stay with what we have planned through northern Iran and through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan into China on the northern silk route.
PROS: Direct route with towns the whole way.
CONS: It is very difficult to get visas for the 'stans' essentially you need to be invited by their Foreign Minister. How do you do that? I don't know, and it is very expensive - approximately $2,000 NZ to obtain these visas. I'm also unsure about Iran. It's a bit dicey at the moment with the protests in Tehran. Also I'm worried about being a women in a Muslim country.
2] Avoid Iran by going through Georgia and Azerbaijan, cross the Caspian Sea by car ferry to Turkmenistan, through Uzbekistan, and skirt around Kyrgyzstan into Kazakhstan.
PROS: Avoids the concerns of Iran and is cheaper by avoiding one of the'stans'. I can still get through on the scooter.
CONS: Still tricky getting the visas.
3] Travel the length of Iran into Pakistan and then India.
PRO: I can still get through on the scooter.
CONS: The same concerns about Iran. With added concerns about Pakistan - not exactly peaceful and safe. Also Pakistan has worries about food and hygiene.
4] Fly from Istanbull in Turkey [ with the Vespa], to Dehli in India.
PROS:Avoids all the problems of the cost of the visas, and avoids all the problem countries.
CONS: The cost of flying the Vespa conteracts the savings made in not having to get visas for the 'stans'. We won't be doing enough kilometres so we'll have to do extra kilometres somewhere else. We'll need to get other visas which may be even more tricky to get than the 'stans' like for Myanmar.
At the moment I'm veering towards the 2nd option. The trick is to not get daunted by it all. Other people have done it,so it is achievable. Nothing good comes easy.
I wonder how many times I will get lost!!