Monday, October 19, 2015

Sept. 16, Belfast, N. Ireland

Once we were underway from Greenock we retraced our tracks sailing in a south easterly direction through the Firth of Clyde. We crossed the north channel that separates the Northern Island and Scotland and entered the Belfast Lough about 5a.m. and embarked a pilot before entering the narrow harbor channel. The Regal Princess then docked near the famous Harland and Wolf Shipyard which is where the MV Titanic was built.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and a part of the United Kingdom. Belfast has experienced a renaissance since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 that promised an end to the decades old "trouble" between the Catholics and the Protestants. Belfast stretches along both sides of the River Lagan and is a graceful city of Victorian and Edwardian buildings and a cosmopolitan tourist destination. Once a major industrial city Belfast is also the gateway to the rich Irish countryside of  Counties Antrim and Down. We'll see and marvel at the Giants Causeway and shop for Irish linens.

After breakfast in the Lido we were off on our scenic coastal drive. We were first to board the bus so chose the front seat this time. It was a weird feeling to be sitting behind the driver and driving on the wrong side of the road. I was grateful for the sunny day and a good place to sit but pics from there also include parts of the bus, the wires, curtains and whatever it was that was hanging down the windshield as well as the bus company name and misc. We did get a couple of nice photo stop ops as well. The driver was excellent and the guide very knowledgeable and friendly. We had a stop way up in the hills at a store/restaurant/native plant/ reserve sort of place where we had a complimentary coffee with a scone of our choice (raisin) with clotted cream, butter and jam. I will let the pictures tell the story of Northern Ireland and the Glens of Antrim.

We didn't get back until after 4p.m. so the ship was delayed a little bit waiting for us but was underway soon after those of us on the last bus were all boarded. We freshened up and went to the dining room about 7p.m. and shared a table with 3 lovely couples; one from the Orient, now residing in Maine, USA, a couple from Russia and a couple from Florida. This was not my lucky night in the dining room; i ordered a prickly pear and passion fruit dish for my appetizer and i got pineapple; i ordered roast loin of pork and sauerkraut and was given ham and i ordered coffee and got nada. I must add this is very unusual as they always strive to give you everything you want and i could have complained but it wasn't a big deal and i'm trying to not sweat the small stuff.
Later we went to the Piazza and i got a hot salted caramel cappucino  and we listened to the Randy Heddon quartet and watched the passengers whoop it up in dance. Also watched the world famous acrobat couple Duo Claudio did their acrobat routine once again and then we retired to our cabin to hopefully get a good nights sleep as tomorrow morning we'll wake up early at the Port of Cobh and head off on another Irish bus excursion.


Linda G. said...

I,see what you mean about pictures taken in the front behind the bus driver...still, though, your pictures show how beautiful is Northern Ireland.

Lorraina said...

Thanks Linda. It can be frustrating when you want to take nice pics but you do the best you can with whatever you've got to deal with. Sometimes it's ads or dirty windows, wires or whatever but i think the worst is reflections. Glad you can look past all that.