Hello! I should have started this blog nine days ago. Each day that I have been in Belfast has brought so many new adventures and experiences, I cannot possibly sum it all up at once. I will try to be concise, but I can’t promise anything.
First few days:
Landed at the Belfast International Airport at 9 AM. Didn’t know that the Belfast International Airport was 40 minutes from Belfast. Decided that even after a sleepless flight the bus was a better option than a taxi (which apparently would have been almost $70!). Found the bus stop! Found the bus! Took the bus! Watched everyone else disembark in the middle of the city… assumed this was the last stop…didn’t think to ask the bus driver… got off the bus… oops. Stood on the sidewalk with my GINORMOUS suitcase for a few seconds. Paced around on the sidewalk with my suitcase and spun in circles for a bit, looking for a taxi (I must have looked like an overburdened pigeon, bobbing my head around as I did). Found a taxi! Success! Driver took me to the address I had for the hostel at 87 University Ave! There was no hostel there. Decided to try 87 University St. There WAS a hostel there! Actual success!
I stayed at the Global Village hostel for 4 days. It was incredible. Clean and comfortable and friendly and relaxing and exciting! I didn’t do much on day 1. I planned on running some errands and doing a little exploring on day 2, and in the morning I walked to the City Centre and bought some towels and bedding for my new house. I was feeling just super until I got a call that the landlord of the house had suddenly decided that he didn’t want the tenants to sublet… this was two days before I was supposed to move in. Sooo, instead of exploring the city I spent the rest of the day and night trying to find a new place to live.
I was absolutely certain that I would end up on the outskirts of the city living with some strange old couple and that I would have to share the basement with their cat. Fortunately this did not happen. I found a room in a shared apartment really close to the hostel and the house I was supposed to be in and I was still able to move in when I had planned to!
So my last night at the hostel I was finally able to relax and hang out with people and the next day five of us took a road trip up the beautiful, stunning, magical, wonderful coastline. We stopped at Carrickfergus Castle, built in the 12th century, and got to witness a fencing tournament that was taking place INSIDE THE CASTLE! WHAT?!? SO EXCITING! Then we stopped in the coastal town of Ballycastle for lunch, also beautiful! Next we went to the Rope Bridge at Carrick-a-Rede. You walk out along the top of these cliffs for I think about a kilometer and then down across a little rope bridge onto this beautiful little island. It was quite majestic.
We had so much fun but it was a tad chilly as we were returning to the car, so I was eager to get there. I finally I spotted our rental car so I ran over and opened the door and I was about to get in but there was someone in my seat, in fact, there were people in all the seats… and I thought it odd that everyone had been behind me and they had somehow reached the car first… but then I realized that no, they were still behind me… and that I was about to step into a car full of strangers… and that this must be the wrong car… and then I yelped and close the door and ran away… still yelping. The people in the car got out and thought it was the funniest thing. I was mortified.
Finally we made it to the Giant’s Causeway, our original destination. The Causeway is… well I don’t really know how to describe it… a geographical phenomenon… a bunch of hexagonal basalt columns… I’ll just let a picture explain. Legend goes that a giant built the causeway to get to Scotland. It was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful final destination. After the Causeway we headed back to Belfast. This was a major struggle because there were NO signs for Belfast and we didn’t have a map. After following our really uncertain instincts for a while we stopped to ask for directions. The person in the gas station was basically like ‘find the town Ballymoney, they have signs for Belfast there.’ These were perhaps the least helpful directions ever, but eventually we ended up on a road that seemed promising and 20 minutes later we were seeing signs for Belfast. It was such a marvelous day!
I AM NOT BEING CONCISE!