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I don’t meet a lot of people. “Sections of the routes involve road walking along most quiet country back roads”. That should have warned me. Apart from the Irish ladies on day 1, I have yet to meet a fellow walker. It is really quiet, at least one of the reasons for diving into a pub when I arrive somewhere in the evening.

Having no people around me also makes me keep on going. I don’t really tire of walking, so I walk on. But not today. Today is not a good day for walking.

It has got nothing to do with the weather, actually I think today is the warmest and sunniest day of my journey. Maybe it’s to do with cumulative tiredness, I have now been walking for 15 days. I was tired yesterday after walking 10 sunny hours and ‘only’  doing 30 km!

Because there is this hill walking business involved as well. You go uphill, only to go downhill after a while. As a Dutchman I would expect to get some rewarding views or beautiful mountaintops, but that only happens occasionally. I only get to see pine forests. And even the sporadic scenery of a vally with cattle farms looses its charm after a while. It is the joy of hill walking that makes the Irish do this. Being used to flat land however, every hill is a challenge to me. And without reward, it gets to be really really boring and tiresome. You go uphill, accumulate some potential energy, which is then transformed into breaking energy on the steep downhill parts. Double energy and no gains.

So many people already told me or asked me. You are going against the grain. I am walking the route from west to east, while it has been designed to walk from east to west, from Dublin to Dursey Island. You can walk it both ways though, but occasionally you have to actively put yourself in the shoes of the person who placed the way markers to find the right way. Because they were placing them east to west.

Going against the grain also transforms into: I have to do things differently (again)…..

In her reaction on the article ‘alone-ness’, Simone said that it has been scientifically proven that Dicky (“Dick”) in that article has more serotonin and is therefore more happy to be with a group. He has no inclinations whatsoever to leave the safety of the group. If that is true, and I could help  myself to get away from this ‘going against the grain’, would a small dab of serotonin help?

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That night I sleep somewhere, I call it the middle of nowhere, in a small deserted house. And in that house,  to my big surprise, I find this old and broken down fireplace.

It reminds me of course of the dream under the hawthorn. Strange coincidence?!

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