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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

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 & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth 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.


Reports

Monday, 2 July 2001
--> Dunmanway (IRL)



Hereby I would like to give a brief statement to explain a few things to my fans and critics:

- Firstly, I am writing all my communications in English, which is not my native language and therefore open, on occasion, to miss-interpretation.
If for any reason anybody has been in any way offended by my comments, please accept my apologies, as this is not my intention.

- Second of all, the spirit of this project is one of global participation on a goodwill basis and should never drift into areas of cultural or individual criticism.

So far, as you would appreciate, this has been a huge learning experience as it is with all the media attention and I hope not to loose sight of the primary goal, to visit the world.

I rely on you, my Internet audience, to keep me on track and correct me if I go wrong.

Thank you for your support and I hope you’ll keep on following my journey around the planet.

Ramon.





Today I woke up early at the cottage in Dunmanway and Liam shared a salad sandwich with me for breakfast.

I had to write a chronicle for a Dutch newspaper and my deadline was this morning at 11 am and I totally forgot about it yesterday. Next to that I also got time to publish yesterdays’ report.

Writing the whole story takes me most times almost an hour and selecting and uploading the photographs another half hour. And then I don’t mention the processing of over one hundred emails.

The same morning I also had an interview with LiteFM, a radio station in Dublin. I was hanging on the phone for a few minutes extra, because a big accident with some cars had happened in front of their door and people even got aggressive.

When the lady on the other side of the line asked how the Dutch would react on traffic accidents, I responded: “We don’t fight in traffic, we just use our middle finger,” which made her laugh very hard. I thought it was funny too (however the use of the middle finger is in almost every country seen as very rude, so also in The Netherlands).

The interview was very interesting. The radio host had some good questions, like “Which country would you definitely not like to visit?” A question like that was not asked to me before and I really had to think about that.

It was hard to say something politically correct about that topic, especially as I am in a position where everything I say and write can and will be used against me. So I kept the answer pretty much politely open.

While I was typing again, Liam was tearing down the house. Well, not really like that. He’s preparing to paint his house white this week and some old wood had to be removed – the hard way.

For today Liam and Christine had offered me to take me to Sherkin Island, just offshore the southwest coast of Ireland, an offer I just could not reject as it was a possibillity to see something unique in Ireland.

But Liam first took me to Clonakilty (I really had difficulties with that name) and wanted to show me the local Michael Collins’ Museum. Unfortunately it was closed, so we drove through town for a while and picked up Christine as she came back from her work.

The drive up to Baltimore (in Ireland yes) took some half an hour. The weather was cloudy and it was a showering a little.

When we got onto the little ferryboat towards Sherklin Island, I really enjoyed the views.

It’s interesting to see how the people who live on the island, went shopping on the Irish mainland. Everything goes via the boat, including plants and garden chairs, everything. Because life still goes on, even on an Island.

Sherklin Island is one of the Ireland’s most unique offshore islands, and it had something mysterious as low clouds floated over it.

When we arrived on the island ten minutes later, we found ourselves in a totally unspoilt setting. There were even signs saying ‘please take litter with you back to the mainland as we have no rubbish dump on this island’.

Near the pier stand the ruins of the Fransiscan Abbey. It was built in 1460 by Fineen O’Driscoll. However, it only survived until 1537 when it was destroyed by neighbouring seafarers.

We walked on one of the few roads on this island (there is one phone booth) and had a drink in one of the two pubs. It’s interesting to find out this island only has 5 miles of road, leading towards the different ends of the island and along the one and only church here.

The island itself is one-and-a-half miles wide by three miles long and covers an area of 1400 acres.

It was amazing to look around to the wealth of the flora and fauna this island habits. And just like everything else in Ireland, the main colour is green. Natural green.

That’s why I indeed believe the story that Sherkin, with it's relaxed atmosphere, provides a safe haven for many of lreland's best known musicians escaping the rigours of the mainland circuit. Even internationally famous authors seems to stay here for a certain time, writing in their little cabin up in the hills.

After a drink in The Jolly Roger, we walked to the Islander’s Rest, an –overlooking the water- restaurant and hotel, where we all had a delicious fishmeal.

It’s funny how the Restaurant described itself:
“The bar is one of the island’s informal social meeting places, where craic, conversation and comfort go hand in hand with the West Cork tradition of music and song.”
It don’t mean to take them down on it, because it was quite inspiring to listen to the American band Green Day, singing You’re having the time of your life from a CD.

I remembered a posting in my messageboard, long before I left home and just after I launched this website, from a supporting man referring to this song. Because I must be having the time of my life, he said. And I do! Whatever happens everyday (I mean ups and downs are part of everyone’s life), I am still happing the time of my life. That’s what makes the difference.

Around 7pm we had to hurry finishing our dinner because the ferryboat would head back to the mainland at 7.15 and we did not want to miss that one, as the last boat would leave around 9pm.

The ferry took us back to Baltimore. The weather was cooling down and probably some rain was on its way down.

Back at the cottage in Dunmanway we watched the worldly known series Friends on Irish television. As Liam and Christine went to bed, I spent some more time on the web, exploring the world digitally.

Good night Dunmanway!

Ramon.





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