It all started on a bus tour in Killarney, Ireland. I saw him on the bus, of course, and thought he looked like Kent. Cause of his hair, you see. Then I was trying to decide if he was attractive or not. The verdict: lovely eyes, but would have benfited greatly from a shave of the unfortunate goatee. Our first stop was in some random town that you had to pay to get into, so we didn't [we didn't have enough time anyway]. So we spent the time there in a gift shop poking around. That's when he decided to start a conversation with me about that "clever mug" that was supposed to look like it was upside down [ah, he's Australian, I noted by his accent.] Needless to say, the conversation didn't last long, cause how long can you talk about a cool mug?
Next encounter was in another town called Sneem (heehee!). We discussed the modern sculpture. I thought it represented a polar bear, Ashely guessed a wadded kleenex. Then we found a random dog and I started petting it. That was when he came up and asked us if we'd been to Athens. I had. He went on about the stray dogs there and how he and his friend named them all Larry. A more subsantial conversation than the mug one ensued. We established that he is indeed Australian (ha! go me) even though Ashley thought he was Scottish (??) and found out that he's been travelling around Europe for the past two months. He's alone; he did have "a mate,"as he put it, with him for the first month.
Last stop was at a waterfall, where Ashley, being the boy-crazy maniac that she is, followed him around, keeping him talking. Eventually she came back round to us and asked if we cared if that Australian guy had dinner with us that night, and that his name is Paul. Uhh, ok, we said. After the tour he met us at our hostel, at six. After some rigid introductions we set off in search of moderately-priced pub grub, which we eventually found.
Dinner itself was an interesting experience, to say the least. There were a few rocky points, such as when the conversation inevitably led to us revealing that we are Mormons. After that, though, it was much more easy-going and he fit right in, mocking where mocking was deserved. Dessert at a place aptly named "dessert place" went accordingly. At one point I apologized for our great strangeness, but he assured me it was much better than sitting alone all evening.
Then, as there was a castle near town named Ross Castle, guess where Ross wanted to go? Bingo. I was hesitant, as the only thing we knew about it was that it was approximately a mile away. Didn't know how to get there, or if it was going to be cool, or just what. But Ross was going regardless, and he said whoever wanted to come was welcome. Now, as Paul was in Ireland on a three-day tour, we asked if he had been yet, and he said no, but I'm going. Oh, with the tour? we asked. Eh, no, with Ross and you guys. Oh! Well good! We didn't think you'd want to.
We found Ross Road and started walking along it, me making polite conversation with Paul when I sensed a foreboding presence behind me. What was it? Oh, it was a huge black dog that was following us! He stayed with us the entire night and was very sweet; we named him Duke. (It was Larry at first, but the aussie decided that only Greek dogs can be named Larry). Before too long, the streetlights on Ross Road stopped entirely. Oh good. I always wanted to walk almost two miles to a scary castle late at night, with no light, in the freezing cold, through a terribly misty forest with eerie water trickling through it, in Ireland, with a wild dog and a strange Australian. So that's what I did. And Paul thought he was sooo clever, saying he saw figures in the trees, and freaking out the girls. Not funny.
We were almost ready to accept the fact that there WAS no Ross Castle, that it was just a myth. We decided it was definitely more than a mile away on that road. But Ross was adamant. And right. There were lights in the distance. The seven of us celebrated. It was even lit up. We weren't sure it would be. We arrived on a bridge, where Duke jumped in the water that apparently was there, but we couldn't really see it cause it was so dark. We decided to go right up to the castle to get pictures; we didn't think it would be open. Oh, it was. There was no door. This delighted the group to no end. No end, not any end. We spent the next hour? two hours? long enough that we lost track of time entirely, at that castle. Including Duke. We climbed dangerous and most likely illegal walls, took very dangerous pictures on precarious ledges, and had the time of our lives. It was exhilerating, like no-good teenagers must feel when they've vandalized something and are on the run from the cops. Too many unforgettable things took place at this castle.
After the long walk home we all went back to our hostel; Duke left us in town where he got distracted by something interesting-smelling and didn't find us again. Goodbye Duke. We talked and talked all of us; some dropped off to bed. In the end it was me, Ashely and Paul, talking the night away. I discovered I need a puzzle ring. Guess I have to go to Florence to get one like his. So. Cool. Finally, sometime after midnight, after the great email address exchange, he left.
But I think he's coming to my birthday party.