The guesthouse in Cullen looked like a great choice. A stately old home made of stone behind an iron gate. It had been a long and chilly day of cycling, and we were eager to settle in for the night. The gentleman who came to the door looked a big disheveled for the role of host. No wonder. “We retired from the B&B a year ago,” he informed us. However, he did refer us to the hostel down on the harbor. We didn't even know it was there, and would never have found it on our own.
We said we wanted to use hostels on this trip, so we decided to give it a try. Sure enough, it was right on the water and the grounds were littered with sports gear laying out to dry from the college kids there for surfing and kayaking. We definitely felt like oldsters but persisted. At least our bicycles and arriving under our own steam lent us a degree of credibility.
Hostels aren't what they were back in our days of traveling Europe on a rail pass. But that was 40 years ago. Our hostel features a Family Room, which we promptly took. Not only do we have a room to ourselves, but we have our own “en-suite” bathroom. Heat seems to be somewhat lacking but the shower is good and hot. It's clean and simple, and there are plenty of blankets. Especially since we swiped those off the two extra beds. The sleep sheets bring back ancient memories, but this time we didn't have to supply our own. We even have wifi – some of the time.
Still a bit chilled, we sought a warm meal. Stepping into The Three Kings pub, we knew we'd found the right place. Small with a low beamed ceiling, nearly all the seats were already occupied by locals. However two prime spots on a love seat with a tiny table directly opposite the peat fire were available. Just the thing for two tired cyclists. Ordering off the chalkboard menu for our bar meal and sipping our ciders, the exertion of the day began to melt away. It was enough to sit and take in the people and surroundings, reading the funky signs on the wall, listening to the local accents. The arrival of steaming plates brimming with venison casserole and crispy potatoes completed the evening's perfection.
I can hear the wind blowing and the waves pounding outside. I'm plenty warm wearing a few extra layers. And the college kids are all bunking in another building, leaving ours perfectly quiet. Not bad for a hostel. And it sure beats a tent.