...Back to Hamburg
On our long long way back to Hamburg we were in a good mood, exhausted, but satisfied with the trip. We had this very fine Irish whiskey, Jameson, with us, that helped us to survive the last part of our journey and to get us lively again. So we discussed a lot of burning questions like: - What about the Irish conflict, the "troubles"? Can one stay in Ireland for one week without any discussion about this? - What about the Irish character and special quality in times of globalism and the "celtic tiger"? Do the Irish people lose their charming character? - What about the Irish men and their special kind of Irish machismo? Sometimes hard to stand? Some fellows on Achill have a bit of this, but we still agreed that one of them has lovely blue eyes.

Hans-Hermann Groppe

...Back to Sweden
So had the last day came. With tired heads and eyes the whole connect-group entered the bus that would begin our long journey home to our different countries. Achill said a goodbye to us with a last brisk wind and we left our newly found friends behind us. The bus and train ride to Dublin took several hours, but a few of us tried to keep up the spirit with some "lovely songs". We arrived late in Dublin, and after some unpacking and washing it was time to say goodbye to everybody. It was quite hard to break up so fast after having lived so close to each other under 10 days. The Umea team took a taxi already at 05.00am to Dublin Airport, and from there through Amsterdam and Stockholm we finally arrived in wintry Umea at Sunday evening. We were all very tired but glad to be home and be able to sleep in your own bed. This trip to Achill has given me (us) many new friends, ideas and views of different things. This was really an experience that I never would have liked to miss.

Peter Theolin - Umea team

...Back to Fulda
My bag was already packed and we're all ready to depart from the country that gave us a good impression of what Ireland is really all about. Even though there was a long trip ahead of me, it didn't matter at all because I knew that I had good memories to take home. From Dublin airport, we landed safely in Brussels and started changing trains from Midi to Köln to Frankfurt and finally to Fulda. At every stations, we became smaller and smaller in number. In Brussels Central, we bid goodbye to our dear friends from Brighton. In Köln, we had to hug and exchange handshakes while on board the Thalys train from team Bonn, Remagen and Köln. There were only approximately 7 of us who still had to catch the train for Frankfurt. It was quite stressful because train schedules just had few minutes interval. Luckily enough, we were able to make it and arrived earlier than planned. It was almost midnight when I reached home, my body was already longing for the bed to get the much needed rest but as I looked at my address book with the lists of my new found friends and recalled the experience I had, I can't help but have a big smile on my face.


...Back to Brighton
It was our last day in Ireland, It seemed as if it was yesterday when we all met in the hall of the hostel to greet each other, the week had indeed passed very quickly. At the airport after checking in we all rushed to do our final bits of shopping and met in the café for a quick breakfast. The plane journey was very pleasant. We were all very excited to find an article about Achill Island in the in flight magazine, CARA, with glossy photos. In Brussels airport one of the students from the Brighton group had a visa problem but fortunately it was solved reasonably quickly and we managed to catch the train to Guard du Midi, where we all said farewell to each other. This was the last occasion we were all together. At this point we all had to go our individual ways. It was a very emotional occasion for all of us. The Brighton group had to go to the Eruostar zone. We were booked on the five o'clock train, but apparently the four o'clock train was still on the platform due to some technical fault. So they gave us new seats on this train but unfortunately in the smoking compartment. When three hours later in Waterloo we got out of the train we all felt like smoked fish. As they were doing repair works on the rails between London and Brighton we had to go a round about way, which added another hour to our journey. Finally at 10.15 our train pulled into Brighton station. It was the end of a very long journey, which had taken over thirteen hours. But we tried to remember the good parts, all the exciting activities in the workshops, meeting the friendly islanders, the scenic views, the warm hospitality of the Irish and above all meeting up with the international groups.

Lili Wilson

...Brussels to Remagen
It was a day of saying "Goodbye". After we had said goodbye to the Swedish participants the evening before, our new friends from Brighton travelled into another direction than we did. We had to carry our heavy luggage into our train to Cologne. But during our journey we have become really professional in doing this. After a while, when everybody had found a seat it became really quiet. I think most of us felt a little bit tired and we tried to sleep for a while. My eyes closed by themselves really fast and in my mind I could see pictures from Achill Island and thought about the events of the last week. In comparison to our journey to Ireland last week when we even did not know each other, we were now travelling as one big group together. I have never felt something like that. We met as strangers and said goodbye as friends. Arriving in Cologne nearly everybody embraced each other and some of us arranged an appointment to meet again. Then the Remagen group walked to their last train that carried them back to Remagen and their families. Now I am happy to be home again. It was a fantastic experience to meet so many people from different parts of Europe and I am sure that we will meet again.


...Back to Köln
"Strangers" on a train The last day started in the restaurant at midnight, with the prospect of enjoying the last hours of our stay in the overcrowded pubs and restaurants of Dublin with their charming atmosphere. At 9.15 a.m. we left the hostel / hotel, for Dublin Airport, where we found more Irish style restaurants decorated in wood which gave a really warm feeling to us. Remembering the famous final presentation of the music workshop some participants of the project were inspired to buy tin whistles for further practice. After a pleasant flight (the wish of the stewardess became real) and another type whistling could be imagined: The whistling of trains, that many passengers today still combine with travelling and connecting people all over the world. Nowadays the whistling is replaced by another symbol of travelling: High speed. The high speed of trains give wings to the passengers on their journey like in the advertising for the red bull soft drink. Perhaps this is the reason why the Thalys is painted red. In Brussels and Cologne we had to say good-bye to some of the other participants of the project, as our journey ended in Cologne, our hometown. In our heart remained one sentence of Sheila's, an inhabitant of Achill Island: "Every friend was once a stranger."

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Dr. Elmar-Laurent Borgmann
Rhein-Ahr-Campus, FH-Koblenz
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