We survived thirteen days. Though we wanted to leave after our first night, we stayed and made it through the next twelve days. Barely. Mario and I were at each other's throats at times. Possibly too many times. Perhaps it was the confinement we felt. More than likely it also had to do with the high expectations we had. But we made it back to Ennis - my second home.
The alarm went off at 05,30h. Though I had been awake for more than an hour prior to the alarm going off, I lingered in bed for another five minutes before heading to the shower. Both of us were eager to leave even if it meant getting up early. But having gone to bed at 22,00h last night helped.
Somehow our bags were much heavier than when we first arrived. I cursed my over packing tendencies and vowed to change that for my future travels. I see how a lighter laptop for travel is a necessity when having to carry it on your back for hours on end.
We boarded the bus at the bottom of Main Street in Greyabbey at 07,15h and made it to the Europa bus station in Belfast an hour later. Somehow we managed to get my large, overstuffed roller duffle bag on the seat next to me in the first row but I did not get a chance to take off my computer backpack and large bag I had strapped across the front of my body. The one with one of my cameras inside.
So I sat in my seat behind the driver sandwiched with bags from three sides and the window on my right. I kept glancing at the clock up front hoping time would speed up. It became more difficult to breathe and the girl across the aisle and one row up annoyed me with the music blaring from her headphones. I kept looking over at her. She did not get it.
We had 45 minutes to wait before the bus to Dublin departed. At 09,00h we boarded the X2 to Dublin city centre where we arrived two hours later. We should have gone to the airport instead as it would have been easier to book the express bus to Ennis. The next bus to Ennis left at 12,30h. It was not the express bus which meant it would take at least an hour longer otherwise.
When he let me know we would be arriving in Ennis around 17,30h, with the possible one hour wait in Limerick, I did not have to tell him how I felt. The look on my face said it all. He knew I was thinking how we would not make it in time to go to the coffeehouse. As he walked away, I had a feeling what he was doing. He called his neighbour to pick us up from Limerick and drive us home.
The drive to Limerick was longer than planned. Fifteen minutes longer. We arrived at 15,45h. The last passenger left the bus and laid down her backpack for a minute close to where I was standing. 'He wasn't very nice' she started. I thought she was referring to the bus driver honking the two or three times.
She explained when we made one of the stops that a lady needed to use the bathroom but took too long to return. The bus driver told the missing lady's companion he would simply leave her behind as he did not wish to wait any longer. The lady's travel companion told the bus driver that her suitcase was still in the luggage compartment. At that point, the bus driver got out and removed the lady's suitcase. This, in turn, meant the lady's travel companion needed to leave as well. No, the bus driver was not very nice, I thought.
The drive to Ennis took less than half an hour. We parked, took the lift up to his flat, and dropped off the luggage. I was anxious to go have my coffee at Conor's new place. He moved to O'Connell street in town centre at a larger location not far from where my boyfriend's place of work. I was relieved to be back in this town after our thirteen days in a remote location. Somehow spending time at the village made us appreciate the place we called home. At least a second home for me.
I chatted with Conor for a while and ordered my scone with cream and cappuccino. I looked down towards the kitchen and noticed the Latvian chef whipping the cream for my scone. My coffee was worth the wait. It is always worth the wait as Conor takes his time perfecting the art of coffee making. As I waited for my cappuccino, I tasted my scone. I noticed a taste of vanilla and asked him if he had changed the recipe. He let me know he added vanilla back to the recipe and I thought it was a great choice.
When my cappuccino arrived, I decided to taste it before I added sugar. It needed no sugar and it was the first time I had a coffee without sugar. Conor let me know they changed the milk to an organic whole milk. It made a difference I liked very much.
Mario joined me after a while as did his friend Jan who happened to be passing by the coffeehouse. We recalled our experience at the village. Mario and Jan talked mainly in Slovakian and I would try to guess what the guys were talking about. Mario noted the smile on my face as I drank my coffee.
We parted ways again and I continued my stroll through town. I was glad to be amongst people I knew and in a town so lively. I walked towards the Ennis Bookshop and noticed the shopkeeper vacuuming the wooden floors. Thinking the shop was closing, I walked across the street but then noticed an older man entering the shop. I turned around and walked inside, perusing the shelves whilst knowing closing time was not far behind. Tomorrow I would return.
Mario had already returned home when I arrived. We spent some time with his roommate and another neighbour before heading to Knox's for a pint of Guinness. There we met a couple from Denver, Colorado. We chatted a long time and had a lovely conversation about life in Europe and life in general. At one point I asked what they liked most about travel. Bob's reply was the same as mine: we both like the aspect of meeting new people in the places we visit and hearing their stories.