It’s the middle of October, and we are on the road again! After a very, probably a little too relaxed summer in Western Europe, it was high time for some excitement.

Housesitting in the Netherlands
Sporty Dutch ridgeback!
We spent most of August still at our housesit south of Amsterdam, with a perfect house, perfect dog, perfect cat, in perfect town… with perfect boredom. I love the idea of getting an idea of somebody else’s life and spending time with dogs, but in the future, I would probably think twice before taking a housesit that’s longer than a month. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with this assignment at all, and we managed to see quite a few friends during this time, too, but small town life is just not for me, never was, never will be. Sure, there are housesits in big cities, too, but they tend to come with tiny dogs. I’ll keep an open mind and an eye out for housesits that fit our criteria, but we won’t be one of those people who constantly housesit.
Like couchsurfing, volunteering and other free accommodation options, there are just too many restrictions and rules. I’d rather spend money on accommodation and have complete freedom.

Germany & London
We spent the last week of August first visiting my family and some friends in Germany, and then in London with Celine’s parents, doing some admin stuff as well as catching up with friends in the big smoke. Then we were off for a little road trip to…

Ireland – The wild North-West
Cottage #2
We underestimated the price increase for basically everything in Ireland during the “high season” (June-August). It’s a con, basically, because the weather in Ireland is equally bad all year, just maybe 5 degrees warmer in summer. We regretted that we didn’t bring any coats, only jumpers and light rain jackets. Anyhow, we rented a little car and spent a week driving through County Sligo and Donegal. Sligo has beautiful beaches and cliff walks, plus loads of pre-historic sights. 

Donegal is an oddball, being cut off from most of the rest of the country due to the Northern Irish border. Trains don’t reach this county at all. It’s well worth visiting, because the scenery easily rivals the more popular counties in further south. It’s also super conservative and religious, and full of peculiar characters, like the 90 year old guy in a pub who was keen to get my number, or another old guy who is famous to hurl abuse as tourists who stop near his farm to take a picture of the scenery.

Another lovely, non windy summer day in Ireland
This corner of the island might become my favourite – most tourists that make it up here are Irish, or seriously adventurous. It’s wild and remote up there, to the point that you might have to drive over an hour to find an ATM or a petrol station. Americans might laugh, but that’s virtually unheard of elsewhere in Western Europe.

We stayed in two different cottages, one very luxurious and one very old-timey, ate a lot of bread and fish and went through lots of pairs of socks and jumpers. There’s nothing quite like lighting a stove in the middle of August because it’s 8 degrees and raining buckets. Ah, Ireland.

Celine once again did a stellar road navigating roads that don’t exist on any map, and motorways with sheep crossings, as well as some serious cliff drives and hairpin turns. She can easily apply as tourist driver for the Americans who don’t dare to drive in Ireland next year!

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