Where the Hearts are Beating - Galway!

Galway was a complete new experience for me in every way.
The mirror of happiness :-)
I experienced the first time CouchSurfing, nice homemade Pakistan food and what to do with the green pepper (ok it was already too late but now I know it for sure...), where the term lynch law comes from, how to call a German chef in the kitchen and about Galway's meaty water... And don't forget about the Travelers.
I also met my lovely and nice German connection Martina near Gort at her nice place in the beautiful countryside. There I had a great and inspirational chat with tasty lunch and yummy apple pie. And not to forget: accompanied by her lovely cats.

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A kind of a blind date: couchsurfing

Well, I was a bit nervous to meet my host Norman in Galway who I found on the couchsurfing page. It was a bit like a blind date apart from it wasn't a date. I stayed at his place for 5 days.

He picked my up from the bus stop and I liked him immediately. A very kind and hospitable guy from Pakistan. He showed me around by car to nice places in Galway which included the seaside and a walk through the city.

I also met some of his friends during my stay who were very kind as well. It was very easy going and friendly.
The only thing I could help him with was by tuning his laptop and show him how to use MS Word or rather Google Docs in a proper way.

In the following pictures I tried to capture the nice atmosphere in Galway. 

Seaside of Galway
The docks in Galway by sunset
Candy shop - I couldn't resist :-)
Actually a lot of book shops and book exchange there - I love it!
At the docks
Well...some nature...
Nice old architecture
Small streets in Galway
Great breakfast at the Jungle Cafe
Inside the Jungle Cafe - the owner is really kind and chatty.
He is also a great barista and has won some awards.
I felt very comfortable there.
Norman's cookery talent
One evening I had the chance to try Norman's great cookery talent. He cooked some nice Pakistan food for me and his friend.
Great Pakistan food - but be careful with the green pepper...
It tasted pretty good! I ate all of it, even the whole green pepper... Well, that was actually a big mistake. I just asked "Could I get some milk, please...?!". Norman and his friend were stunned and said that should I only eat the skin of the pepper but not the seeds. 

Too late... But now I got it for sure. Interesting was also that you eat the meal with bread which you have to roll and put it into the meal.

How to call a German chef in the kitchen?
I asked Norman if the voice in his kitchen is as rude as in a German kitchen but Norman told me it would be fine. 

Some days later I met a friend of Norman and he told me he has a German chef in the kitchen and that chef would be very strict: "You're not allowed to cross his line! We all just call him 'Hitler' but he doesn't know..."... Wow!

Norman told me in Pakistan it's a common term for very strict people. Well, other countries other terms.

The meaty water of Galway
In Galway the water seems to be not eligible for vegetarians due to Norman.

He told me a couple of years ago they found a dead donkey in the water tank. But his friend meant it were rather some lambs because donkeys are not really common in Galway. Not better... 

Anyway, I didn't try the meaty water because I was happy that my sickness was over.

Travelers' area
Norman's apartment was close to the city center and located in an area surrounded by Travelers which was for me very interesting. When I told that other people I met later they were a bit skeptical about it. Due to I haven't a clue about them I'm just curious.

In Ireland the call them also Gypsies. I'm not quite sure it's a bad name or just another term. The first time I had heard about them was in the movie Snatch. Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone who looked like Brad Pitt ;-). Maybe later.

I have to admit that I can't recognize Travelers from other Irish people. 

Norman just asked me: "Didn't you see any people with funny looking clothes in the city center?" I replied: "Well, I'm from Germany and lived in Muenster. For me everyone is looking funny here and even I was looking funny in Muenster for some people as well...".  

For me the most interesting point about the Travelers is that they have apparently their own rules and standards. In some way they're a society in the society. 

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The hearts from Galway

Near Galway exactly in a former village named Claddagh they invented the so-called Claddagh ring in the 17th century. In Galway the ring will be still produced and stands for faith, truth or engagement. 

Depends on which hand and in which direction the wearer wears the ring it has a different meaning. 
The Claddagh ring
I know my fingers are not eligible for being a model but it shows how to wear the ring and what that means:
If the heart is showing back from you, it means it's still open for someone.
If the heart shows to you, that means you're already saved.
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Pragmatical cruelty and my almost endless search for a window

I had read in my guidebook that there is the famous Lynch Window in Galway. 

At this window the Galway mayor James Lynch had hanged his own son who he convicted of murdering. Due to the gathered crowd who didn't let him come through to the execution place he had to change his plans. So he decided to hang his son at his place in the window. How pragmatical...

It's claimed that the term lynch law is based on this story.

I was searching for the window and went the street up and down where it supposed to be. But I couldn't find the window. And that was the mistake. It wasn't exactly a window. 

I was a kind of frustrated and stopped in front of old walls. A skull on the wall attracted my attention and... There it was! The Lynch Window. Aha, that's a window...
Not the kind of window I had expected
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Have a little break... but haven't sandals

I took the advice from my friend Insa and searched for something nice I could give to myself. I choose a nice treatment for my feet which included french manicure polish. I have to mention it was a very cold day...

The treatment was great and after it the girl asked me if I have some sandals with me... 
Sandals?! I was even quite happy to have hand gloves with me. Well, this shows the difference between Irish people and German people. The Irish are very tough doesn't matter how cold it is.

I tried to pretend not looking surprisingly because I didn't want to be a sissy and I just said: "Sorry. Unfortunately, I forgot them at home...". Just a white lie.
Sandals are welcome at the Beauty Clinic. Doesn't matter what's the weather like...
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Interactive theatre

I also checked out the theatre in Galway and I found a nice event which named Mr Foley The Radio Operator. It took place in a lovely old building called Town Hall Theatre. 

The act was very funny and the actor integrated the crowd by asking us for help and something like that. The room was tiny and the atmosphere there was very friendly and every seat was taken.

For me it was interesting to see an Irish comedian and how the Irish people enjoying themselves. Anyway, I enjoyed myself pretty much there :-).
I'm happy that I got a ticket
Nothing about "survival of the fittest"
- I confess that's usually my rule -
everyone is queuing, even me.
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Inspirational and nice chat with great apple pie and cats

On Sunday one day before I left Galway I took the bus to my German connection Martina in Gort. 
On my way to Gort - 
I like this picture because it mirrors my feelings for the amazing
landscape of Ireland and my hunger to see a lot more from the world
At the bus stop  her friend Franz from Austria was waiting for me and picked me up. A nice and kind guy who looks a little bit like a huge teddy bear who you want to cuddle :-). 

We drove pretty fast through the small streets and the amazing countryside. Some horses where crossing the street and I could see a lot of so-called turloughs which is the Gaelic term for a lake which appears and disappears depending on the season. 

Some streets were pretty flooded and the water was splashing against the windows when we drove through it.

Some so-called turloughs
When we arrived Martina's house I was amazed. 

Such a nice place on a small hill in middle of the heart of the countryside. I was also impressed about Martina's happiness and love for live. We ate together and I could try the great sauce from Franz which was made from scratch. Later we had some fresh and still warm apple pie. So lovely!

My chat with Martina was quite nice and I'm really happy that I met her. She is such an intelligent and kind person which is interested in a lot of things and pretty open-minded. Her mindset matches pretty good to mine.
One of Martina's cuddly cat :-) and her lovely window in her bathroom - that's a proper window!
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New experiences = new ideas

On the whole I had very valuable time in Galway and I received a lot of advice around Ireland. In addition I have received some new ideas and impulses for myself.

My biggest lesson
If I want to receive new impulses, the most important point is to step out of my comfort zone. Which means keep my ears and eyes off and I'll receive a lot of impulses I haven't seen before.

Therefore I have to try something new that will open my mind. And don't forget to trust my common sense. It'll actually lead me. 

Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    f (Tuesday, 11 November 2014 21:07)

    Insa 7 February 2014 09:51
    It's such a nice Blog. I love it. :* You look very happy. That makes me happy :D

  • #2

    f (Tuesday, 11 November 2014 21:08)

    Martina 7 February 2014 23:13
    Toller Blog; tolle Bilder; interessante Geschichten. Freue mich auf mehr. LG Martina

  • #3

    f (Tuesday, 11 November 2014 21:09)

    Jeanine 8 February 2014 11:04
    Dankeschön! Das freut mich sehr :-). Ich bin selbst ganz gespannt!