Aran Isles

Call it fate, call it chance, but it seemed inevitable to me that if I got a dress with a bicycle print on it I would eventually wear said dress while riding a bike. Despite not having ridden anything other than a stationary bike at the gym in more than five years, I knew it would happen. My first opportunity arose on our trip to the Aran Isles where the main mode of transportation for tourists is bicycles--the rental shops start advertising their rates and bonuses as you board the ferry to get to the islands and are waiting for you right off the dock when you arrive. I was a bit of a mess our first day on the bikes (swerving into hedges and general wobbling), but I recovered quite a bit the second. In the end it actually made me want a bicycle again, although I'm not very interested in riding around on it in my current home in the city--maybe if I lived somewhere with less traffic.
The Aran Islands themselves were quite beautiful and we lucked into amazing weather during our visit--a few bold tourists were even wading at the beaches and one truly brave individual managed to swim with a dolphin at the harbor in Inisheer. The islands are unique in several ways, being one of the last places where Gaelic is still used as the main language, the excess of stone walls covering the region, and of course, the name aran sweaters--to name a few. It was quite fun to hear people speaking Irish and it definitely interested me in learning the language. I was also quite fascinated by the sheer excess of stone walls--our host at the place where we stayed quipped that he had a couple hundred acres of lands but they were mostly rock! And he added later that people probably built so many walls out of boredom. Whatever the reason they're definitely an interesting feature to experience today and we had a good time finding paths between them and exploring all over two of the islands in the chain. I've barely left them, but I'm ready to go back!


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