July 20th to 22nd Belfast, Northern Ireland

July 20th, 2015

Had a nice breakfast then made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Dublin from Cork where I said farewell to my new friend Nick from Kentucky.  He is doing a world tour as well and following some of the formula 1 races around Europe.

I took a train to Belfast and arrived at the Vagabonds Hostel, and was greeted by…a Canadian!!   Stephanie is from Ontario and had been travelling Europe with friends for school break, she loved Vagabonds so much she started working there when her friends returned home!   This was probably one of the best hostel’s I’ve been to, so I can see the draw for her.   I lost my key only min after arriving and clearly needed some sleep and relaxing!  (said key was later found, tucked in my bra, LMAO:  hand smack to forehead moment) I decided I needed some mind clearing and found a yoga studio about 10 min walk away, alas the class was full, but I made the decision to stay a few days and catch a class the next night!  Had a fantastic sleep and woke refreshed!  I wanted a quieter day so just took an hour tour called the Black taxi tour.

 

July 21st, 2015

The Black Taxi Tour is about the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, and while it was heavily a one sided tour, it was amazing to me that there are still issues today between the British protestants and Irish Catholics, to the extent that deaths have happened as recently as 2 yrs ago and  the wall is still up and gates close at 6Pm and reopen at 6am.  It was one of the most interesting tours I’ve taken: our guide paddy, was both funny, and informative having lived in west Belfast (the catholic side) since he was 14.  He told us of the murders, and arrests, the prisoners who did the blanket protest and when that didn’t work the dirty protest and finally the hunger protest.  Its sad to see how many innocent lives were lost in the name of power and religion.

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Our ‘Black taxi tour’ happened to be white. Here with our guide Patty, whos own trouble began in 1972 when he got married! He was quite entertaining!
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The wall that seperates west catholic Belfast from the east protestant Belfast
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The Peace wall with quotes of encouragement from world leaders.
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Bobby Sands who died after 66 days on the Hunger strike in 1981.
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Part of the wall.
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The gates between the Catholic side and the Protestant side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did little else today, lazed around the common area/living room getting to know other travellers and trying to decide if I should brave renting a car and heading north and west to the things I still want to see.  Got my yoga class in at 8PM and it was divine!   I decided to sprinkle some kindness here in gratitude to 2 amazing people back home.  Sean Forchuk who was the teacher at my very first yoga class, made me feel so comfortable when he opened the class with “if this is your first time here, do not be afraid or nervous”  and Meg Mielnichuk who ran a course called 40 days to transformation, that has truly changed how I react and approach things.  I left card 10021 and paid for a free class for the next person doing a drop in class.   The studio Flow Studio, was in a beautiful old building and the teacher Helena Lavery was very calming and intent on helping us all out, adjusting us in poses as needed.  I really enjoyed the class and imagine its regular patrons have created an encouraging community while attending! So glad I could be a part of it!  If you are interested in learning more about the cards go to Go Fund Me or my first blog post.

Yoga!
Yoga!

July 22, 2015

I decided to go for it and rent a car!   Scared $h1tl3ss to drive on the other side but going to conquer this irrational thinking….or NOT!   as I was getting ready to go, one of the roommates (I was in a 12 bed Co-ed room) asked me what I was up to for the day as he was still in bed just waking up, I told him I had rented a car and going to the Giants Causeway, turns out he wanted to go to, so I invited him along!   I added him as a driver, yes I momentarily chickened out, but he ended up driving the entire route, which I was grateful for!  His name is Matias (Mat-tee-us) and he is an Engineer from Chile…yes girls I met ANOTHER engineer!  We lucked out BIG TIME on the car as someone returned an automatic that happened to have Nav so we got the upgrade for free!   We took the coastal highway route and stopped at some beautiful sites along the way, including a short suspension bridge called Carrik-a-rede that is some 100 feet above the water.  We had some fantastic cheap burgers at a little (6 tables of 4) seaside café and then explored the Giants Causeway.

The Giants Cause way is a huge rock column formations thought to be created from ancient volcanic activity.  It is truly stunning!

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My co-pilot for the day from Chile.

Some of the scenery we saw along the way:

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Carrick-A-Rede
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Carrick-A-Rede
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Carrick-A-Rede
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The suspension bridge at Carrick-A-Rede
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A rare photo of me on this trip!
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From the bridge!
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Giants Causeway
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Giants Causeway
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Giants Causeway
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Giants Causeway
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Giants Causeway

Matias was a very interesting fellow, he is 27, if I remember right, and  he lost his job as an engineer with a market downturn recently when his company let go of more then 1/2 the management team.  He was involved with a copper mining company but on a project that was catching fog and taking the water from it to irrigate a desert type mountainous area and help vegetation to grow which then created its own natural filter of the fog and created a cycle for future self preservation of the area.  I’m sure I’m simplifying it a lot but here is a Video and an article.

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