Thursday, September 10, 2009

Land, Ho!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today we rode the ferry from Stranraer to Belfast. The journey took about 2 hours and was calm the whole way. I was disappointed that we couldn't stand up top or on the sides. We could stand on the back of the ship, so here is a picture of that. It was pretty noisy though!
We took the hop on/hop off bus from the airport and around the city for the tour. It was the worst tour ever! We were sitting on top because it was a nice day. Then, they got on the expressway, and it was freezing! I had my hoodie zipped up and tightened around my face because it was so windy that my hair was practically braiding itself and the wind was turning my ears purple with cold.

Even though it was freezing, here are some of the things that I did learn. Belfast was the port city that built the Titanic. We saw the dry dock where the ship was built. The guide said, "Even though the Titanic was built here, we insist that it was fine when it left. That ship had an English Captain, a Scottish navigator, and hit a Canadian iceberg. We had nothing to do with it's sinking."
Other lame jokes, or slow torture, given by our guide:
Q: What's red and bad for your teeth? A: A brick.
Q: What's brown and sticky? A: A stick.

We got to see the Irish Parliment building. It was huge! Apparently, during WWII, the building was covered with manure, poop, and mud to hide it from the bombers that were flying over. The guide added, "If they would have opened their cockpits, they would have smelled it from a mile away." It is quite a beautiful building. There was heavy security, too. Our bus was searched, and for a minute I thought they were going to take our backpacks, but they didn't.

We drove through the town, and basically saw a bunch of murals and blown up buildings and car parks where the buildings used to be. Our guide said that during the civil war here about 10 years ago, if a building was blown up, they just turned it into a car park (parking lot). Apparently, Belfast has the best city parking of any large city around these parts.

The tour was basically a short history tour of the fighting that went on here during the civil war. We were told about all of the groups that were fighting: IRA, IRC, etc. Then, the guide said, "Even though many of these groups are no longer around, there is one group that is still going strong here in Belfast. It's the KFC, and their leader, the Colonel, is working hard to blow people up." Cheesy, but a bit funny. I admit, I laughed.

We drove by this church which has the biggest Celtic cross in the world. However, they also have a huge spire that was added to the building called the Hope Spire. This was added to remember the victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States. It's interesting to see and hear what other people around the world think about this event. We talked with a couple about it on the train the other day. I guess I didn't realize how much other people in other countries were impacted as much as they were. I guess it's because we all could have been on those planes or in the towers.

We truly live in a wonderful country. I love it here, but I love home more. I miss the beautiful Rocky Mountains and my beautiful state more each day.

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