Hiking and Meditating

When the bright rays of the early-rising June sun woke us this morning, we had high hopes for a beautiful day. And that is exactly what we had-a sunny day and not one drop of rain!

After another hearty breakfast, we left our rain gear in the room and headed out to get some much-needed exercise.

Ballyconnell Canal Loop

We didn’t need to go far to find a lovely hiking spot. The first night we were here, our waitress recommended a walking trail in Ballyconnell, a quaint little town just a few miles from us. It has the intriguing distinction of winning numerous National Tidy Town awards.

The Ballyconnell Canal Loop follows the Shannon-Erne Waterway. Although our waitress told us how to access the walkway, and I put it in Google maps, we still got a little lost. The bad news was we walked almost a mile before we found the trail. The good news was we saw parts of Ballyconnell we would have missed if we had known exactly where we were going.

After wandering around, seeing off-the-path parts of the town, we found a sign identifying the start of the walkway and began the official walk.

We especially enjoyed the beautiful old trees along the path.

After the steep climbs yesterday, the nice level path was a welcome change.

Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre

Following our hike, we explored a totally different environment. After reading about the Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre on the back of a tourist map, I emailed them to see if we could visit. They promptly and warmly replied that we were welcome to come to the afternoon meditation.

Although meditating at a Buddhist center was not high on Paul’s list of things to do in Northern Ireland, he was a great sport and agreed to come with me. As we drove through the gate, a beautiful, tree-lined entrance created a sense of serenity and peace.

When we arrived at the center, I immediately noticed the interesting effect of Buddhist additions to a nineteenth century Irish estate.

Everyone we met was friendly and welcoming. One of the monks escorted us to the meditation room in the main house and gave us an idea of what to expect.

Because His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been a patron of the center for more than 30 years, we saw his picture in many of the rooms.

After the thirty-minute meditation, the leader invited us to tour the grounds and visit the beautiful walled garden.

After enjoying the peaceful environment and unexpected experience of visiting a Buddhist center in Northern Ireland, we left feeling quite relaxed.

Cotswolds Connection

Sometimes things just happen and you have to trust that synchronicity is working for you. An encounter on our last evening here reminded me of this energy. Yesterday Paul told me about a conversation he had with a woman from the Cotswolds. She encouraged him to visit this beautiful area in central South West England.

Since the Cotswolds have been on my list for awhile, I was pleased to meet her the following morning when we saw her in the lobby. She promised to write a list of recommendations for the area. Because we didn’t even know each other’s names, I didn’t think we would ever see her again.

When we walked into the bar that evening, there she was, waving her list of recommendations at us. Because the hotel is large, and I have not seen anyone here more than once, I was amazed. She, however, said she knew she would see us again. We shared a drink and conversation with Liz (now we know her name) and left with a fun memory and a great list of recommendations for a visit to the Cotswolds.

Really, I think the Universe is telling us to go to the Cotswolds!

We have had a great three days in this lovely area, and tomorrow we leave and go on to our next adventure.