To the UK and back again.

20 Feb

We are taking an easy morning at the apartment this morning so while I sip my (surprisingly super delicious) instant caramel latte (10 packets for € .85), I thought I would share with you yesterday’s adventures to the United Kingdom, aka Northern Ireland.

I’ve said since we have planned this trip that seeing the Giant’s Causeway was my one must do. It’s in Northern Ireland, about an hour and a half outside of Belfast. Turns out there is no good way for one to get there short of renting a car (and none of us are sure we could do the driving-on-the-opposite-side deal) or taking a day tour from Dublin. Day tour it is.

We met our bus and guide early in the morn and made for Belfast. The tour included two main stops – one in Belfast and one at the Giant’s Causeway. In Belfast, we had two options for our time. Spend it at the newly constructed and opened Titanic Museum (The Titanic was built in Belfast.) or take a black taxi tour, which was a guided tour of the struggles between Catholics and Protestants in Belfast. We opted for the taxi tour and, as our guide, Paul, told us, we didn’t miss much at the museum. (Imagine a strong Irish accent: “Let me tell you what you missed. The boat was built here and then it sank. It was a fuckin’ disaster.”)

And so we rode around in a taxi, Paul telling us all we needed to know about the protests, the struggles, and the physical wall that still stands to separate the Catholic and Protestant sides of town. A lot of what he told us was indeed terrifying- what a scary place it was to live and raise families. It’s beginning to shift … but there still is a long way to go. The wall still stands and houses still need to have gates on their windows to prevent rocks thrown over the wall from breaking them.

Paul dropped us back off so we could meet up with the bus once again and we headed for the causeway. The drive to get there was the picturesque Ireland you see in movies and postcards. Sheep grazing, proper estates, fields marked by neat and tidy hedgerows. It was beautiful. We arrived at the causeway and had two hours to explore. I say no more about that; the photos will do the talking about the wonders we saw and climbed. I’m glad we went.

It was a long bus ride ride back before we were dropped off. We grabbed some Turkish chicken doner for take away and settled into the apartment, a tired bunch of travelers. Today? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe a little Christ Cathedral touring; some Guinness Storehouse learning. It’s hard to believe that it is Thursday and already we seem to be making plans for our return.

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