Today we left about 9am again. However, some of us were tired from the previous evenings adventures. Luckily a bus ride gave us time for a nap. We stopped along the way at a gas station to spend the last of our Euro coins. We are going to Belfast in Northern Ireland and they use the British Sterling (Pound) for their currency). As Brian shared on the bus ride up, when Queen Elizabeth I was ruling, she brought over Scots to Northern Ireland and gave them the land. So this made the Irish having to working for the Scots who were loyal to the crown. In 1922, when Ireland gained its independence, the 6 northern counties remained part of United Kingdom. This is what has caused the long standing battled between the Catholic Nationalists and Protestants Loyalists. However, in 1998 they signed the Good Friday Accords which has basically left the area in peace. There are still incidents here and there, but they fizzle quickly. The town is marked in areas by the Irish and United Kingdom flag which will tell you what type of people lives in those areas. There is still work to do, but they have come a long way. 10 years ago they would have never had tourists, so it is wonderful we can explore this area now. The drive was probably a 3 or so hours from Dublin to Belfast.
We arrived in Belfast, and started off with a local guide who gave us a bus tour around the city. We saw some of the political murals they had on the buildings, the Parliament Building in the Stormont Estate. We crossed the Lagan River and saw where C.S. Lewis (a native of Belfast) went to school for a little while. The city was very heavily influenced by the regin of Queen Victoria, so there are lots of buildings and relics named for her and Albert including the Albert Memorial Clock (pictured below). St. Patrick is also buried here in Belfast.
Following our tour we grabbed a quick bite of lunch. As we had little time, we went to a mall food court and ended up at Burger King — which was okay with me.
After that we go back on the buses and headed to the Titanic museum. The ship that sunk in 1912 was built here in Belfast and in 2011 in anticipation of the 100th anniversary they build a Titanic experience museum on the site where the boat was built. I’ll have to admit I wasn’t sure about this, but it turned out great. It is very interactive and well done. They had a glass floor where you can watch a subs view of the entire wreckage. Lots of details on how it was built and some of the passengers involved. They also had a live connection with a group out on the ocean working and you could use an iPad to connect with the oceanographers and ask questions. (I couldn’t think of any!). When I was done, a short run through the gift shop and used the remaining time I had left to get up the Day 3 blog post. The museum was hard to take pictures of inside, but I tried a few. There are also tons of views in the outside. The building is as tall as the Titanic and the big pillars are actually where it was built.
From there we drove to our hotel and checked in. It is just brilliant! There is A/C that I can control (although the weather has cooled some). We have dinner in about an hour and after that I anticipate most of us may just crash early. We have to be up at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry to Scotland, so we are LEAVING here at 6:15am. (That is 1:15am Indiana time!) But should be a fun ride across to Scotland for about 2.5 hours.
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