And then bad stuff happened

Here are some pictures from my bus ride to Cork, and then Cork, and then to Tralee. 

On the way to Tralee: 
We arrived in Tralee later than I wanted to so I didn’t get to go to Dingle today like I planned. I’m meeting a couchsurfer there and hiking the Slead Head (or something?) and doing other stuff. She’s a much more seasoned adventurer than I am, so I’m glad I met her. 
When I got to Tralee I met up with a couchsurfer, Dennis, who grew up on a farm here and teaches second grade (I think) at a private school. He took me back to his place for some tea and roasted chicken which was great, except I don’t drink caffeine so my head started spinning afterward. He introduced me to some of the history of the town and talked about how he hadn’t had the chance to travel, so he picked up couchsurfing to hear about other people’s lives. It was pretty chill, and then after dinner he took me to the bottom of the local mountain (I don’t know it’s name…) since I mentioned I wanted to hike. I thanked him for his hospitality and went on my way!
The view was spectacular. It was almost too much to handle. I took a huge number of pictures but this was one off favorites: 
At about eight o’clock I was really tired and it had started to rain. Decided to head back down to check into a hostel. Easier said than done. I didn’t pay enough attention to how I got there, so I got lost as soon as I was back down at the base. 
It was starting to get dark, and I knew I did not have much time before things were going to go your if I didn’t find town. I mean, I figured it would have been easy. Just go in the direction all those lights had been when I could see them from the mountain. I pulled out my smartphone who’s battery life if about four hours and tried to GPS my way back into town, but the signal kept cutting out and it showed me as being in all these weird places I knew I wasn’t. AND it couldn’t find my hostel by its address, so I had to get directions from the website on how to get there, except that didn’t help because I was lost. It was semi dark by the time I had reached the base of the mountain:
And then it got really dark. 
And I was in the middle of nowhere, for all I knew. 

I didn’t want to bother anyone at home quite yet because I would feel bad, but it was getting very, very cold, my feet were wet, it was dark, I was scared that I was going to be attacked by something, AND I had no idea where I was. Finally at 10:15 I reached a country street corner where I couldn’t go any farther because it was pitch black and I am NOT *that* adventurous. 

Luckily there were houses a few blocks back so I started retracing my steps and went up to one, knocked on the door and rang the doorbell, no answer. I went to the next one. Same thing. I was starting to freak out. A lot. By this point my phone would have died so I had it plugged into my external battery. I took it out to see if I had a signal. Nope. It was also only fifty percent charged and wasn’t charging anymore?! I checked the cable to see if it a still connected… It had broken. Wonderful. So now I was cold, wet, hungry, and lost with zero connection to anyone and the pressing matter of phone sea was upon me in the de that I ran into a signal somewhere. 
I tried a third house. I knocked, and could see someone watching tv in the living room with headphones on. I knocked. Nothing. I knocked again. Nothing. I knocked really hard one more time, and there took his headphones off and ran away… But his dad came to the door. I was expecting a backlash but I was desperate for help at this point so I didn’t care so much. Fortunately that’s not actually what happened.  
I explained I was really sorry and that I was extremely lost, and I just needed some direction as to how to get to “Bibi’s Hostel.” 
“That’s not around, that I know of.” Oh dear sweet mother of everything holy. I was so ready to give up I everything at that point. “But here, come inside.” He let me in even though I kept telling him I didn’t want to intrude, but then he just sat me down in the kitchen, gave me a couple energy bars and some coffee, and proceeded to just make conversation with me like nothing had happened. We talked about his nephew who also travels (he’s 18) and has gotten lost a few times just like I was. He asked me a bunch of questions like if I had a hat, and a coat, where I was from, etc etc. when I said I didn’t have a hat and that when my head was cold I simply wrapped it I my jacket, he looked at me like I was crazy (okay, I am) and went into the other room and gave me a hat! He insisted on driving me to town and dropping me off at a hostel he knew existed, so I took him up on his offer and thanked him profusely. 
So now I’m finally settled down in “Finnegan’s Hostel” in downtown Tralee, which is apparently the Kirksville of Kerry County. Got my shower, I’m in my blanket, the guy served me some hot chocolate, met a couple Belgian guys who are traveling for fun before uni starts, and then I wrote all this. Night. 

3 thoughts on “And then bad stuff happened

  • Your benefactor knew the ancient rules of hospitality. You’re living The Odyssey, Brandon. From a Wiki: Xenia (Greek: ξενία, xenía, trans. “guest-friendship) is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship. The rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host expressed in both material benefits (such as the giving of gifts to each party) as well as non-material ones (such as protection, shelter, favors, or certain normative rights).

    The Greek god Zeus is sometimes called Zeus Xenios in his role as a protector of travelers. He thus embodied the religious obligation to be hospitable to travelers. Theoxeny or theoxenia is a theme in Greek mythology in which humans demonstrate their virtue or piety by extending hospitality to a humble stranger (xenos), who turns out to be a disguised deity (theos) with the capacity to bestow rewards. These stories caution mortals that any guest should be treated as if potentially a disguised divinity and help establish the idea of xenia as a fundamental Greek custom.[1]

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