Friday 25 August 2023

Belfast Blog - Day 2

From the archives from sometime in August 2014 from a solo trip to UK. Coming across these scraps from my files!

Day 2

Day 2 in Belfast started with the Mc Combs tour. The hotel front office lady had informed me that the tour  would be over at 5. But the tour guys confirmed that we wont be back any time before 7. Thus began a long, entertaining, fun journey starting with the Carricferedge Norman castle, the Carricka Rede Rope Bridge, the Bushmill’s whiskey distillery, the Ballycastle, a long drive over the Antrim coast with many little interesting bits of history. The drive was beautiful and the Driver Dan, was entertaining. So many interesting little tidbits he shared with us – like the smallest little village on the coast, a village which has the Queen’s crown specially made for her Golden Jubilee, their rivalry with Scotland across the sea, a far glimpse of their icon Rory Mcllroy's home (or its vicinity!) It is definitely a trip I would like to do again, if only to treasure and understand those small moments of history!

After seeing the Norman castle, the next stop was the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The bridge is actually a disappointment from what the brochures make it out to be! It is a small and steady rope bridge, not a long rickety structure that threatens your appetite for adventure! As all along the coast – the views are amazing and it does feel like an adventure in the end. I was so glad I had good walking shoes!

An interesting episode happened at the next stop which was the Bushmill’s Whisky tour. Two episodes actually. First, ran into Flintoff as the guide mentioned an English cricketer in the vicinity. I ran to find him and there he was, with a small team!  Andrew Flintoff, imagine! What a hunk! He kindly obliged for a pic. Then I took the Whisky tour – after advising the driver that I was going on it. The understanding was – if the tour was late, the bus would go to the next point and return for the tourists taking the whisky tour. As it happened I was the only one taking the tour from our bus – a couple of others having quit it halfway as they had friends back on the bus and I was oblivious of that fact. So I sat down to taste the sample whiskies with a bowl of Irish stew. Imagine my chagrin when Dan came in to inform me that the bus was waiting. It was already 15 minutes past the leaving time and here I was with two glasses of whiskies and a bowl full of Irish stew – with 50 passengers waiting in the bus for me for 15 minutes! I could gladly have disappeared into a hole. But Dan was very understanding. We realized it was a miscommunication. I assured him I would leave behind my untasted whiskies and stew and he assured me it was not a problem – he would drop off the passengers at the next call and return for me (as I had originally presumed to be the plan!) So all went well. I didn’t have to go back to face 50 indignant co-passengers.

Dan returned on time and took me to the Giants Causeway. Here I was so determined to stick to my time that I made the long mile walk to the causeway and back in record time. Then I realized I had an hour in hand and walked back again to the Giants Causeway to take in the splendor at more leisure!

 Now that is called tasting the best of everything!

Ended the day at the Hotel and slept away the tiredness.

Distance walked - 15 kms or more!

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