sponsors always were:
During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & Partners; Austria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western Hotels; South Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus; Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.
ReportsDuring my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.
Friday, 29 June 2001
Dublin --> Douglas Village (IRL) About how a bad day started good, went slightly downwards and how alcohol got me all the way back up again. Was it because of the hostess I stayed with or was it because of the Irish way of life? "You have to get used to this here, Ramon" I heard people tell me...
After I logged off the Internet at the webpub yesterday night, I found myself a nice little restaurant called Gallager and got a meal. Of course all paid by TV3. And after a pint of Guinness at the pub around the corner at the hotel, I got to bed.
I woke up at 7am, showered and went to the breakfast lounge where I had the standard Eggs-Bacon-Beans sandwich breakfast. I can’t imagine some people would eat it everyday…
The Irish breakfast is totally fried, everything. They throw the egg into hot oil and sometimes even the sandwiches! Nuts...
I shouldn’t tell you that the Dutch are very used to a plan piece of bread and just one topping…
After dinner I packed my stuff together and checked out of the hotel. A taxi was waiting for me to bring me to the TV3 studios.
When I arrived, the directors’ assistant, who prepares all guests for the appearance on the show, received me. After the make-up (I am getting used to it) I got wired with a microphone and entered the studio.
I was on the Irish Television TV3 for about 4 minutes at 9.20am. The two hosts of the breakfast show “Ireland AM” were very astounded by my project. I answered the most usual string of questions, followed by the almost usual amazement of the hosts.
And after the talk with me, the program ended at 9.30am, dimming all the light in the studio. All people working on the programme evaluated the program and discussed new topics for tomorrow.
Some 30 minutes later they all come back and started to dig into newspapers, make telephone calls and surfed on the web. Just as what I was doing at the editors’ desks for a while.
The researchers and the reporters at the newsroom were really interested in my journey and when I left to catch the train, the staff at TV3 gave me an IrelandAM Mug, a IrelandAM umbrella (very useful in Ireland) and a handful of IrelandAM-pencils. I AM happy now…
A taxi brought me to the familiar Heuston Station at 12.30am. It was the third time I was at this station and I want it to be the last, otherwise I never see Ireland itself…
At the ticket box I got myself the single ticket Dublin to Cork and the money jar from TV3 was empty now.
They paid for the train to Dublin, the hotel, restaurant, taxis and the train to my next destination near Cork.
When the train departed at 1.20pm I had settled myself in a good seat at the window. But after a few minutes I already found out I had the worst seat ever: I was sitting in the full bright sunlight. And the train was full, packed, and I knew I had to sit here for the coming 3.5 hours…
So it eventually was very exhausting. I tried to sleep a bit, but the transpiration was flowing down my face and I didn’t take anything to drink with me. This is just how to get hydrated.
And I really felt miserable. Not only because of the bad seat in the train, but I just didn’t feel like having a good time.
I decided to skip these kinds of media-appearances for a while. Sure, it’s nice have people invite me over and pay for all expenses, put in a hotel, and just to have me in their show… but it ain’t always that amusing.
I rather be with the people who really invite me within this project, just because of the company I am with. And I am not a guy who feels very lonely, but the last 20 hours were pretty like that.
I arrived in Cork at the train station at 4.30pm and dragged myself out of the train. I called my hostess for tonight, Niamh (say: Nee-Af, it’s a Gaelic name) O'Connor and she quit at her work to pick me up.
All my bad feelings about today disappeared when I met Niamh, a very tall, blonde lady. And always in for a laugh.
She laughed about the fact that I insulted her about her bad parking and a few minutes later I asked her if I could do some laundry at her place. You should have seen her face! But she took it all positive. (I wasn’t really allow to tell you about her bad parking).
She first took me to a pub in Cork, to introduce me to some of her office friends and to have Just One Pint. After another Just On Pint, we went home, taking a friend of her, Toni, with us.
Toni is a very overactive – up-and-down-jumping – kind of lady with a strong Scottish accent. Niamh doesn’t really understand all that Toni says and is surprised about my English as I do understand all.
On the way home, Niamh learned me the basics of Ireland: alcohol. It’s a way of life here. People just drink a lot and you grow up in a pub and stay there almost all your life.
I kinda liked that idea…
Niamh shares an apartment with Fiona (my hostess for tomorrow!) and Tommy and it really looks very luxurous from the outside. The complete street even has a electronic gate to get in!
I took my rucksack inside and Niamh gave me the quick tour around. After a glass of wine (just to stay into the mood I think), she took me to a local pub/restaurant where she eats out most of the time. And here I met her flatmate Fiona and some of her office colleagues. Some very interesting people also came over at the table (see photos).
After finishing my steak sandwich, Niamh took me back home again. She had to refresh a bit and I relaxed with another glass of wine.
I started to realize these Irish do have a very pleasant way of life.
Toni also came over again, ready to join us, to go out for tonight. While Niamh changed her clothing, Toni was sitting on me. And I just couldn’t resist tickling her, almost to death… Just never sit on me…
As we got out, we walked the part back to the same pub again, some 10 minutes. Here I learned about more about my hostess Niamh. She is 29 and started her own business in validation services in Ireland just two years ago. At the moment she has fifteen people working for her and she is really doing good!
“In a few years I want to take some money and do something completely different, just for the challenge,” she told me. I was very surprised by her story. I don’t meet many career women like that!
At the pub again several people had joined at the table we first were sitting on. I met David, Niamh’s boyfriend, Fiona and Tommy and a bunch of friends of all of them which names I really can’t remember, because drinking does things to you.
I know I only had to pints of Murhpy’s Stout, two cokes, one gin tonic and two Belfast Bombers (as far as I can remember). The last one should not be ordered in Northern Ireland and it is a mix of pure Baileys’ with Brandy. And it really felt very booming.
I had a nice time with those people and I even experienced some of them singing traditional Irish songs.
At 1 o’clock at night the pub closed and Niamh, Fiona, Tommy and Noel Gallagher and me walked back to their apartment. I was quit impressed by Niamh’s character and personality, especially after some very deep talks in the pub. She is a special lady, I must say.
At home the party wasn’t over yet… Another two bottles of white wine had to be finished.
Fiona turned on a CD with all favorite Lady Love Songs and she and her sister Deidre performed as they were Crowded House themselve!
I slept on the living room floor, so as soon as somebody got off their seat, I had another pillow for the instant-bed. I was getting tired and not really getting used to drinking - what do you guess?
Time to sleep, good night Douglas Village!
Where is Ramon?
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