Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Belfast (trip through the UK part two)

So that's coming along... Here we go, this will cover Belfast which I was in for the later half of Tuesday April 10th, all of Wednesday April 11th and the wee hours of Thursday April 12th.

I left the mainland UK and very shortly got my first glimspe of the emerald isle and I tell you folks, they don't kid, the place is GREEN!!

Picture doesn't do it justice... it's SO GREEN!

Maybe next time I'll get to go in!
I landed in Belfast in the very late morning, nearing noon. By some lucky stroke I managed to catch the (somewhat infrequent) city bus from the airport to the city center. On the way I actually got a bit of a sightseeing tour though I hadn't realized it. We passed by the new Titanic museum as well as the Titanic Quarter, St. George's Market and other pretty landmarks.

I got off at the city center and then I was in a little pickle. I had no idea what to do! I had Edinburgh pretty well planned out... and I had my flight BACK to London booked... for Saturday the 14th! All I had to do was figure out how to get myself to Dublin for then... but what to do with the almost 5 full days in between?

First things first, my backpack wasn't light. I mean, without the laptop, it wasn't overly heavy, but I didn't feel like packing that bad boy around all day! As I may have mentioned before, I'm not afraid to ask for help. (case and point waking my flatmate up the day before to get my bottom to the train station!) So I asked the nearest friendly looking guy (who happened to be handing out touristy brochures for bus tours) where I could find accommodations. Fortunately for me I have this sexy Canadian accent that made everyone want to help me out. Unfortunately for me the guy was a local so not too used to staying in hotels. He pointed me to the nearest one (and gave me some pamphlets) and sent me merrily to the nearest (and I'm sure most expensive) hotel... A Radisson.

Oh how I miss this room....

I've got to say though, I did not mind paying an obscene amount of money for the luxuriously huge bed, fluffy pillows and bathroom that was larger than my bedroom in my flat (which... really isn't that hard... I honestly think the shower was bigger than my postage stamp sized clo...er... bedroom) considering the bed I paid for in the next city.

Once my pack was safely stowed and I had a dry pair of socks on (thank GOD I packed too many socks, my feet got pretty wet in Belfast!) I started to wander! What better way to discover a town than by hitting the sidewalks?! Firstly I headed in the direction of the Botanical Gardens (which is southish of where I was staying). I didn't make it to the gardens but I did manage to find a little home tucked away in Northern Ireland! TIMMY'S!!! (which I had to buy and drink and find funny since I don't actually drink Tim Hortons at home!) (but it was good, strong and hot which is what I needed since it rained off and on all day!)
Bit of home to keep me warm!

I turned back northward (paused back at my hotel for those some more dry socks!) and continued on north. That's where the REAL fun started. I was able to use the City hall as a decent reference point (since it was big, all roads seemed to lead to it, and I could see my hotel from there). I cirsscrossed all the streets I could find. People watching as everyone else went about their shopping in the mall and other stores. I eventually made it into the visitor's center and got a lot of good information and a better map from a gentleman there. Armed with the new map I managed to find St. Anne's Cathedral (and about a billion other (very pretty!) churches), the public library (and some other architecturally awesome buildings) then down to the harbour and over to the new Titanic museum (which was booked SOLID so no, I didn't get to go in... next time!!) over to the Titanic and Olympic slipways (which were unfortunately closed because they were getting ready for a concert that would be held... there....) I didn't wander too far down that area on the first day but returned on day two for a tour of the dry docks (more to come on that!). Then I meandered on my poor sore feet back over the bridge to a lovely clock (Albert Memorial Clock, for my favorite queen's husband!).

Looking down towards the Harland and Wolff Ship Yard

At this point it was getting a bit late so I headed up to town for some food (got a less than good noodle box) and saw an ad in my little guide book for a haunted walk. I called, they told me where to meet and I went back up the street in my new dry socks and met up with Clair (my tour guide) and a gentleman from Germany. That was it, only us. Unfortunately for Mr. German, (who was leaving early the next day), there needed to be a minimum of three people participating. Claire invited me back for the following evening's walk (at a discounted price!) and recommended I take the Titanic Dry Dock tour (a company she also worked for) the next day (at a discounted price! Just say Clair sent me!! ... which was unnecessary since she was the one I paid for my tour the next day anyway!).

With a full day ahead of me for my FULL day in Belfast, I had a nice long shower, watched some bad Brit TV and hit the large comfy sack.
Love this picture!

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