2004-08-19

Ireland

Still cycling along the beautiful south east coast of Ireland (the "Copper Coast"). I've read a book (Star of the sea) about irish emmigrants during the time of the great famine 1847. Very intriguing times and an outstandingly good book, convincingly researched and written in gorgeous, contemporary, language. All the more impressive because Volker and I have been to a museum about the famine (which came to be because of a then unknown potatoe blight) and you see ruins of old houses from that time all over Ireland. The book tells the story of an overcrowded emmigrant ship on it's way to New York. My empathy for the poor travellers in the "steerage" class on that ship has just increased tenfold because I'm on the ferry myself right now for a 19 hour crossing without a seat or a cabin, sleeping on the hard ground under some stairs. I don't complain really, I was lucky to be able to snatch a passage to France at all and the timing was just about perfect. Remembers me of a chat I had with an English lady the other day. She was complaining about the costs of cruiseship voyages. She didn't only have to pay the price of the passage (which is substantial with around 100dollars a day) but the poor thing also needed a different and new evening dress for every night's dinner and ball. Decadence at it's finest...

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