If you think of steps, individually they are small and do not achieve much. But put together they can create heights to climb, ways to cross over obstacles and are the main way we describe our everyday movements… taking the steps. Faith is learning how to take each step after another. Don’t try to go back and don’t try to skip ahead. The best part is up ahead and you’ll be guided there in due time.
It’s 2am, I sit in a cramped position listening to The 1975 latest dropped single ‘Love Me’ on my lower bunk bed atÂ Barnacles Quay Hostel, Galway. The length of the bed is too long for my body and my height allows for a very painful “ouch” as I constantly hit the metal poles above. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s a bed. I’m thankful to have somewhere to sleep for the night.
This time of the night has strung memories of the late night writing datesÂ I always have with my computer around this time.Â It’s the only common thing we share. I should be asleep but I did plenty of that when I got sick the day after I arrived in Dublin.Â
You missed a lot, so let me break it down for you.
I travelled through beautiful parts of the English countryside and entered the Warwickshire district; Stratford-Upon-Avon. Furthermore known as the place where Shakespeare was born. It took about 3 hours to reach this place via bus, but unfortunately I had to head to Birmingham before returning back to Stratford in the morning. My last blog postÂ mentions of my awful experience in Birmingham, and therefore I was completely dishearten to return back there for the bus/ferry to Dublin, Ireland. However that is a different story so I will proceed first to explain how much I fell in love not only with Stratford-upon-avon; but also with Henley in Arden.
As I arrived to Stratford for the first time I recognised just how gorgeous it is. The trees formed golden silhouettes from the sun as they drippedÂ autumn leaves from their branches. Radiating innocence. The houses looked like what you would imagine the gingerbread man to live in. PlantsÂ hugging the outside of the cottages, as though they have been firmly established for a while.
Just a bit of dreamy imagery going on for you there!
I knew we had officially entered the town when the welcoming sign appeared,
Welcome To Stratford, BeautifulÂ Britain in BloomÂ
To me, that felt like the most appropriate way to welcome you into a writers paradise. Instantly I knew there was no wonder that Shakespeare was inspired here. This “Writers Paradise” was clarified even more clearly to me when I later walked along the canal towards the church where Shakespeare is actually buried. Legit? YES! It was crazy insane to see this place.
I went out on a limb and booked the YHA Youth Hostel about 10 minutes by bus out of Stratford. Bus tickets each way are so expensive for a gal on a budget so this was reasonably frustrating. However everything worked out, as it always does. I had booked myself a ticket to see a new rendition of the theatre performanceÂ HecubaÂ in the official Royal Shakespeare Theatre. I was looking forward to this as theatre performances are always very special to me. I noticed that the last bus of the day returns back to the hostel at 7:20pm. My play wasn’t until 7:30pm so how on earth was I to return home? I wouldn’t even attempt hitchhiking in the day, let alone in the nighttime. Taxi’s would be more expensive than buses and I couldn’t barely afford those. Things weren’t looking good for my little theatre night out, but I told myself not to worry and trust it would be all work out. Just after I decided this, two American girls walked into my room which was now halfÂ theirs and we got talking. They had hired a car for the week and were also interested on seeing a theatre performance at the same time as mine so therefore I had a lift there and back. Splendid!! Too easy, I thought.
Everything fell into place from then on out, the next day I got in contact with one of my Mum’s friends whom lives nearby Stratford in a town called Henley in Arden. I had never met her before but from her tone online I could instantly tell that I was going to enjoy my time with her! She was due to the meet me at the bus stop in Henley as I was still at the YHA hostel. I made it in Stratford but was low on money and the ATM would not let me withdraw anything. My bus to Henley arrived right on time at 11:21am and I stared in despair as I could not afford to hop on it. That still quiet voice told me just to enquire about a possibility to pay them when I got to Henley;Â the bus was empty so I felt okay in doing this. I asked the two guys if it was possible and they replied “No you don’t need to pay at all its okay hop on we will take you to Henley”.Â I had been blessed AGAIN!
Mum’s friend met me at the bus stop and shouted me to English cream tea (Tea & Scones)Â . We instantly connected, she was super lovely. We walked a few metres down the street to where she rents a place with an older man. Upon meeting me the older man turned to Mum’s friend and said “Oh she’s quite a beauty isn’t she” Â which made me feel instantly at home. I was even more blessed when the pub nearby which my mum’s friend works at offered a free night accommodation + breakfast in order to welcome me to the town. I thought it was such a beautiful gesture to a stranger whom they didn’t know. In the times that are hard I must remember just how blessed I have been so far.
What felt like a THOUSAND tea cups later, multiple catchups near the t.v and fireplace and the best hospitality I could ask for it was time for me to leave Henley in Arden. As sad as I was leaving, I was also excited for the next adventure where I would be heading to Dublin, Ireland to meet with Kai & Krystal again.
I took a taxi to get back to Birmingham (unfortunately it was the only suitable base to catch another coach from) and then the 10pm bus to the Holyhead port before the bus boarded the 2am ferry across to Dublin. THE FERRY HAD WIFI. I was completely amazed and impressed. This was a big step up from the Kythira > Athens ferry. I arrived to the Dublin coach station at 6:30am, dazed, tired and lacking food. Mum’s friend had thoughtfully packed me a few sandwiches and some chocolates so they went down well for some sort of breakfast as I sat in the freezer box of a coach station.
I must have fallen into deep sleep when I got to the hostel foyer as I was awoken by Krystal & Kai who has finally arrived at around 1:30pm. We checked into Generator hostel in Dublin and had quick showers before walking around the city for what felt like forever trying to find an ATM machine. Eventually we found one and then went off to find a pub; oh wait, there’s a thousand here to choose from. There may be a lack in ATM’s but there most certainly isn’t in pubs.
3 servings of your 10 euro Guinness & Irish stew deal please! My babies had turned into hardcore beer drinkers since being at Oktoberfest the previous days. Although how could we NOT have a guinness to celebrate our first night in Ireland together. We made sure that when sayings ‘Cheers!’ to look at each other in the eye as for in German tradition if one failed to do so they would have 7 years bad sex. Not that I entirely care all too much on this matter, I did it for tradition’s sake.
We had an early night which was much needed! When Krystal woke me up in the morning though I tried to talk and my throat hurt so much! And it only got worst as the day passed.
The next day was spent fully in bed, I could not move. I didn’t eat all day. I was suffering with a high temperature and extremely swollen tonsils. This was not unfamiliar trekking ground for me; though when I usually get this sick I am in my own house. Being overseas in a mixed dorm room of 8 people was a completely different thing!
So to cut a long story short I had developed to the first stage of tonsillitis. 75 euro’s later (60 to see a doctor for 5 minutes & 15 on anti-biotics) and I was well drugged for our journey to Galway.
I started feeling much better when I reached Galway. Perhaps another breath of fresh sea breeze was all I needed. I adored Galway and the hostel BarnaclesÂ has been my favourite so far. Located on the main street in town, it provided the perfect place to meet all different people and the best bar was right across the road! I had a good two days walkingÂ around Galway aimlessly before deciding it was time to continue my walk by faith. I saw that a lady was looking for helpers to her B&B in Doolin (about 2 hours from Galway) so I messaged her and without even waiting for a reply booked the Doolin Hostel for a night and caught the first bus…(okay maybe the last bus because I wanted to explore a little bit more) out of Galway.
I had hit a roadblock when I got sick. It was awful. I felt like I did not have the motivation to do anything and that fear had a magnetic force which was gripping me. I felt weak but decided to go with it. Pacing the hostel room back and forth like a mad person crafting some crazy plot I finally realised that I would not be ending my journey just yet. That fear would not hold me back. From now on I would be walking by faith and not by sight.Â Taking the steps as my Mum has been telling me every single day.
“Just take the steps Elly-Grace” Â She would say. I suppose it was the only thing she could say in her position, with a mad Elly in Ireland on the loose. What the hell were these steps that she was talking about….
The steps of faith led me to a B&B whichÂ has a 360 degree overlook of the Aran Islands, Luscious green grass and Seaside. I met with the owner and we agree that I would have a place to stay here and food in exchange for some help each morning with the simple tasks of cleaning and greeting guests. Walking in faith I tell you.
So here I am now!
11pm, I sit in an outstretched position listening to The 1975’s latest dropped single ‘Love Me’ on my super comfortable bed at a B&B located in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. The length of the bed is suited to that of my height and my head is free to realm around without the fear of hitting a metal bar. I am comfortable here. I’m thankful to have somewhere to sleep for the night.Â