Archive: August 2010

The Iveragh Peninsula, one of the most scenic sites along The Ring of Kerry (County Kerry, Ireland)

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Cahersiveen and its surroundings are among the most scenic sites in all Ireland. This small Irish village, located along the route of The Ring of Kerry, is renowned for the hospitality of its inhabitants and the cozy pubs they frequent.

During the two summers I spent there, I was left agog with the wondrous landscapes this area has to offer. Fifteen kilometers from the village one can find deserted beaches, historic ruins, breathtaking palisades and mountains with spectacular views of the entire Iveragh Peninsula and deserted islands whose waters will astound you for their icy temperatures and crystal clarity.

I lived memorable experiences there. Unfailingly, I enjoyed Derrynane National Partk or whenever we embarked on an excursion along the cliffs. These day-trips invariably culminated in a dip at one of the above-cited deserted beaches, the most spectacular being Finian’s BayBalinaskelligs, the beach at Derrynane National Park and Glanleam, a tiny cove with a tropical touch.

Another experience worth living is a visit to Ballycarbery Castle and the Cahergal ring-shaped fort. Both of these sites, a mere 15-minute stroll from the village of Cahersiveen evoke the history of this country and the mysticism of this land.

Another suggestion I overwhelmingly endorse is stopping to knock back a robust beer or two –if it’s a Guiness, all the better– at one of the pubs frequented by locals. During the summer season, on any given night, you will find locals getting together at these pubs to sing Irish folk songs to the rhythm of a bodhran, harp or violin. My favorite pubs are: Mike Murts and The Ancher.

If fine dining is your thing, I recommend The Point at Reenard Point, where you can also catch a ferry to Valentia Island. My favorite dish as I recall was one which offered a variety of fish and fresh seafood. Thanks to the good relationship that the restaurant’s owners have with Spanish fishermen who fish in local waters, you can also find some exquisite wines here from La Rioja.

Lastly, what is undeniable a must-do is a day trip to Valentia Island. You can rent a bike in Cahersiveen and pedal your way to the ferry just 20 minutes away. Circling the island is done relatively quickly, but the best part will be the verdant countrysides and wonders of nature you will encounter along the way. One hour from Knightstown by bike is Fogher Cliffs. The view from here, looking out to sea and southwest Kerry will leave you speechless. If you’re continuing by bike, I advise you to stop and get re-fueled at The Lighthouse Café that opens only during the summer season. Ten minutes away, you’ll come across the Glanleam beach, by far one of my favorites because of the intimacy of its atmosphere and the tropical feel one experiences from the abundant flora.

So, without question, if you’re travelling to Ireland, you can’t miss this part of the route along The Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenic sites you will ever visit.

Ballinskelligs Bay. Photo by Willi Morali

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton: A journey to get in touch with the deepest feelings of our travels

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The moment I read a review of The Art of Travel in Hellen Todd’s blog (Hellen’s Travel Corner), I was sure I had a new candidate for my summer reading list.

The Art of Travel is a brilliant work by Alain de Botton. Normally, when we travel to a destination, we tend to accumulate tonloads of information on where we should go and what we should do; rarely do we hear anything about the “why’s” and “how’s” of these trips. In his 254-page book, De Botton invites us to think about the real motivations people have when purchasing a plane ticket to places unknown.

Throughout The Art of Travel, we are treated to a philosophical approach to travel in an entertaining way via a perusal of some of the greatest thinkers, writers and artists. Icons of the caliber of Gustave Flaubert and Vincent van Gogh act as our guides in the journey to get in touch with the deepest feelings of our travels.

De Botton’s book has made me think and contemplate not only on the trips that i have taken to date, but also the most common day-to-day events that occur along the way.Often we travel imagining that we are going to discover and experience things which we could never find at home, but this is not necessarily true. Sometimes our daily routines blind and preclude us from enjoying all the beauty that surrounds us, small details that abound everywhere but are ignored. With that in mind, I’d like to finish my thoughts on this book with a sentence which Hellen Todd includes in her post;

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

Big adventures for small travellers on Tokitan.tv

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Tokitan.tv is a new adventure launched by Haritz Rodriguez. Vís a vís his video blog, he aims to touch base with the traveller all of us carry within and have them live experiences and adventures that are do-able by just about anybody. His travelling philosophy can best be summarized by the following slogan: “BIG adventures for small travellers“. Since a video is worth MORE than a thousand words, we’ve decided to share with you this trailer:

On Tokitan.tv, you and others will be able to watch videos of Haritz’s trips and excursions sailing across the Greek isles, surfing in Lapurdi, trekking through the Pyrenees or listening to the sound of deers bellowing in Soria. These videos deliver fun, originality and spontaneity and last about five minutes, not to mention that they are also informative and a cool way to learn new things.

We’ve known Haritz personally since we started developing Trourist and, if truth be told, we must admit that our working philosophies are very similar.

We wish you all lots of luck with this new adventure and hope you enjoy these videos on an ongoing basis.

ExperienceLess in Gothenburg

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We have a new ExperienceLess video! This time it’s from Eider, Leire, Paloma and Nerea, four trourists who’ve spent the last half-year getting the most out of their Erasmus program up in Gothenburg. They wanted to see and live the city from an ExperienceLess perspective and towards that end hit the streets with their sign in tow. Local reaction was excellent and the experience enabled them to sample one of those restaurants that only locals know and get together at on special occasions.