Beyond Belfast

Alright… so I think I’m about to rush the computer with such force that my noggin and the monitor will disprove all known physics regarding two objects occupying the same time and space.

I was up all night (no not half the night) trying to sort out aspects of my trip. Things got pretty complicated for a while there.. but I think I’ve got it sorted now.

I had (wrongly) assumed that ferries operate frequently from Ireland to France. Turns out this is only true during the warmer season. The last ferry leaves port on January 2nd. That was ok though as that was the day I had planned to leave. Ah, but isn’t that ferry full. I mean, c’mon. Full? Surely I could sqeeze on. Meh, so I checked earlier dates, tossing around the idea of heading to Paris for New Year’s. Well there are two trips. One in about 15 minutes and one on New Year’s Eve, and well, I really didn’t want to spend NYE on a ferry (just generally good advice I’d say, ahem).

So… other options, other options… stress stress stress… Irish coffee… “thanks Carol, it’s 2:30 a.m. though, don’t you need to go to Prague in the morning and aren’t you not packed…”

Thankfully, by the time 6:30 a.m. rolled around and her cry of “You are NOT still on that!” echoed through the early morning silence that filled this little house in Comber, I had found a solution.

I was sort of sad I wasn’t going to see a bit more of Ireland before heading to the continent. Well, I checked RyanAir (how cool is that?), a discount airline over here, and they have a 15€ (read: 30€) fare to Paris on next Tuesday. My Eurail Pass starts on Friday, and Julie has two hostel coupons for a free stay for me to use anywhere in Ireland… so Galway, here I come. I’m going to spend a couple days there… and then come back, fly to Paris and presto-chango.. I can sleep.

All this was compounded by the real objective of the night – sorting out my Thailand flight. This too got complicated, but I think I’ve found a flight for about £490 (sounds cheap but works out to like $1150) – and now my big question is… travel insurance… GASP!

ANYWAY… other than that whole headache, and still being at Carol’s even though I said I was going to leave today (Carol, I hope you don’t mind, I stayed an extra day…), I’ve had a cool last couple days in Belfast. After the silence of the Christmas Crowd leaving on Saturday was quietly appreciated, Carol and I headed to Scrabo Tower in Newtownards (Ards Peninsula) not far from Comber. It’s a bit of a hike up to the tower, but the view is absolutely amazing. You can see the Mourn Mountains in the south and Scotland to the east, it’s incredible and it was such a beautiful day – though a bit cool.

After the little hike we went to Stormount where the Northern Ireland Parliament is. It was cool, and featured yet another hill to climb. I swore Carol was trying to kill me feeding me Ulster Frys (bacon, sausage, soda bread, potato bread, eggs, etc.) and then leading me on hilly walks. She assured me it was nothing compared to a hike up the Mourns and besides, she bakes/grills her Frys. My arteries disagreed but accepted the answer.

Yesterday Carol again took me out to get a few more photos before we packed it in and I headed to Dublin and she headed to Prague. We went up past Scrabo Tower and visited some friends of her’s on the coast. The craic was good and I got some nice shots of the sea and a cool windmill. (Oh, craic is sorta vibe, mood, laugh, good time, etc. all rolled into one term: i.e. The craic at Mahafey’s Pub is great. -OR- How’s the craic?).

Alright, time to get done with this damn Internet and find another box to spend some aimless hours in front of.

Meaningless Quote of the Day:

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.”

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