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During 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.

Monday, 9 July 2001
Dungiven --> Dundrum, Northern Ireland (UK)

70 days from home and still not homesick... How I got from Dungiven to Dundrum, passing scary and empty Belfast. What is going on here?

Brian woke me up with a wake up call in the Dungiven Castle. After a shower I met Johnny, the manager of the hostel who actually invited me at the castle.

He heard me on the Jerry Ryan Show (2FM) and thought inviting me would be good for the castle and I would have my first stay in a castle ever!

I had cereals for breakfast and after a photoshooting around the castle Brian offered to bring me all the way to Belfast, where my next host would collect me to take me to Dundrum, southwest in Northern Ireland.

As The Gift from Onno in Galway, Brian, Eileen and Johnny received a cultural flag of Ireland. They will definitely find a place in the hotel to put this up somewhere!

The road to Belfast was mainly going down. And the chilly climate changed into sunny weather after we left the Sperrin Mountains behind us.

In Belfast Brian dropped me off at my meeting point, the Europa Hotel. He said this was the most bombed hotel in Europe, which not really gave me a good feeling.

I thanked him for their kindness at the castle, for even having me stay an extra day. It was quite an event!

I called Terry on my mobile phone. Together with his wife Carol, they are my next hosts in Dundrum. Terry insisted to pick me up in Belfast. It would only be a 30 minutes drive.

While I waited in the lobby of the luxury hotel, I saw a lot of reporters. Some just with paper notebooks, interviewing important looking people. Others were rushing in or out with complete television gear.

All are covering the marches of the [url=]Orange Order[/url], the (mainly protestant) loyalists in Northern Ireland, who celebrate the Battle of the Boyne river in 1690.

But the press would also be waiting to cover possible riots which could occure when the (mainly catholic) Northern Irish nationalists object the marches going through their nationalist areas in Belfast.

When I met Terry and we drove out of Belfast, he was surprised that Belfast was so deserted. Streets were empty. It is not an ordinary week with people walking outside.

It was eerie empty.

Around 6.30pm we arrived in their hometown Dundrum and I met Carol and their daughters Ciara and Katy.

Itís funny to see how shy kids are when I first meet them and then, after a few minutes, they treat me as one of their best friends.

Terry runs his own company in Dundrum and produces anything that can be used by, for example, farmers and fire departments.

He lately was very busy creating spraying devices to clean vehicles from possible foot-and-mouth-germs, mostly used at border controls and ferry exits.

I like the stories about Americans, visiting western parts of Europe, thinking they should even wear protective white suits and masks, against possible foot-and-mouth-infections.

Americans who think like that do really need a wake up call, haha! (Oops, I donít mean to offend Americans, I am talking about certain people from AmericaÖ)

I mean, it is not even unhealthy to eat infected meat, because the foot-and-mouth virus is only susceptible at cattle, sheep, pigs and goats are susceptible and some wild animal such as hedgehogs, coypu, rats, deer and elephants. Humans simply canít get it.

Actually the virus runs its course in two or three weeks after which the great majority of animals recover naturally (they donít tell you that in the media).

The justification of the slaughter policy (or field burnings as in the UK) is that a widespread disease throughout the country would be economically disastrous (and there we go: itís always about the money Ė sighÖ)

While Carol prepared dinner Terry took me up a hill to show me the Dundrum Castle (pupilís report). It is a ruin looking over the Dundrum Bay, which is dry during low tide and has an island when the tide is high.

Dundrum Castle was founded by the legendary Norman adventurer John de Courcy, following his invasion of Ulster in 1177.

Itís is very interesting to climb up the ruins and think about those people who used to live here. And how?

Back at the house, Carol served tasty lamb with oven baked potatoes for dinner and I told them about my experiences Ďtill now. Ups and downs and biggest surprises.

After dinner the kids got to bed and while I typed reports on their computer Carol was practising yoga and Terry watched some television.

Later that night Terry showed me the book One day in Ireland, where photographers from all over the world where invited to join in a project where they could all make their own shooting or Ireland, but all on the same day. Very extraordinary.

When everybody already slept, I finished my reporting about my staying in Galway and walked up the stairs to the guest room.

Good night Dundrum!


Quote of the day:
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it is done, they have seen it done every day, but they are unable to do it themselves. Ė Brendan Behan

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