LONDON – Our time in London was over as we headed to Euston station for a three-hour train ride to get on a ship.
It was a very uneventful day and can be summed up in that we went on train, ship and bus to get to Belfast.
While it seemed like a simple route, traveling all day long is very taxing on anybody.
We did not arrive until late that evening to our beautiful hotel called Corr’s Corner, which is a major step up from any hotel we had with nice showers and roomy accommodations.
For dinner we all were so tired, so Leroy Coffman, University of Central Oklahoma alumnus and I ate at the hotel restaurant, which was pretty good. While there Meredith Curtis joined the two of us.
A day at the beach, day twenty
Breakfast at our new hotel was nearly the same food as before, but had some great fruit and mushrooms, something new for me, but was very good. That was after I spilled coffee everywhere.
We left early on a charter bus to the city of Belfast, which is only about 15 minutes from our hotel, which according to David Chapman, UCO real estate professor, is good to be outside of the city.
We arrived there at the city square and it looked like an American city with a city center and straight roads. We wandered around a while and I got some Starbucks coffee before we hopped on a hop on hop off bus.
It was fun seeing the city that had once been overrun with violence during the 1980s and other periods in history.
However, right after our fourth or fifth stop, the bus died and we had to wait for another one, which did not take too long to get there.
Others and I dozed off a few times but still were able to catch the highlights including a former courthouse that had been burned out.
While studying its burned-out walls with black smoke stains still visible, Randel Ice, interim dean of the UCO College of Business, said that anytime they try to tear it down contractors are shot.
So, I suppose it will just stay like that for a long time.
I found Belfast a very eerie feeling with its security fences dividing neighborhoods and other forms of distinctions between neighborhoods.
However, the locals seem to have no problem keeping that portion of their history up. I believe that while there is a significance to it, they should move it to a museum and clean up those parts of the city.
We got done around lunchtime and then headed off to Giant’s Causeway to see the area and the intriguing hexagonal rocks, which are just like Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.
The rocks were situated right next to the beautiful North Sea, which had pristine waters, though the area had a lot of dead seaweed, so it smelled like a wastewater treatment facility.
While there UCO student Lance Cooter and I went off to a point in the beach area which was all covered with large black boulders; a true adventure.
While doing so we both broke a sweat as we were under pressure to get back to the bus at a certain time, which had been cut by 30-minutes to make time for driving.
We left there and went to Portrush where we all grabbed dinner at 4 p.m., which was even early for an old soul like me. When we got there everybody, and their dog was there at the beach town with its amusement park.
We all had a quick dinner and headed back to our hotel, which was about an hour and a half away.
We got back and freshened up before heading out on the town to see the nightlife of Belfast.
After a long night for some, we headed back to our hotel but forgot to reserve a cab. In Belfast, nobody can hail a taxi, which is due to a law requiring them to do so.
This put us in around midnight, which was late enough for me before our trip to Dublin in the morning.
A shipwrecked museum, day twenty-one
My sickness that had developed a few days ago had still not got away and I felt like a Mack Truck had run me over and then backed up.
My throat was sore, body ached and other issues persisted, but I gathered enough energy for a cold breakfast before we headed off to the Titanic museum.
We arrived there just as it opened and got right in because the lines quickly grew. We had allotted three hours for the museum and lunch.
It turned out to be two and a half hours too many as many of us breezed through the museum and had a quick bite to eat.
The museum was a letdown to me as it did not pull on any of my emotions and was not interactive in many of the areas. There were some areas that provided some interesting details I did not know about.
During the self-guided tour, there was a short ride that took you on a gondola lift through scenes of the steal factories where the Titanic was made in Belfast. It was interesting, but nobody could hear the automated guide on the speaker.
After the short tour, we all waited at the café until noon when we got on our charter bus and headed off for Dublin which was cold and rainy when we arrived.
I was able to get a nap on the way to Dublin and once we all got here we stopped at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the awe-inspiring library.
The books were interesting, but the library was overwhelming and was any librarian’s heaven.
It was a cozy room with rich dark wood covering every corner of the room with books stacked floor to ceiling on two levels being supported by Corinth columns with a main area in the center.
At the end of each book-row was a bust of a famous individual who made an impact on knowledge in the world, including John Locke, Plato and many others.
It is something I hope to model my personal library off one day but mixing it with the Library of Congress.
When we finished our quick tour, we headed to the gift shop where most everybody bought something. I had to use the restroom and went across the courtyard and quickly returned.
However, Coffman had fallen backward and hit his head and I was quickly alerted about the issue. At the time he could not remember where he was or anything.
I was frightened as well, but he would soon regain his bearings and luckily nothing serious occurred. So we headed off in a taxi to our hotel.
We finally got to our hotel through the odd Dublin street system and he was able to get some rest.
My room, which is on the fourth floor, overlooks the Christ Church Cathedral which a look back into the days in which was founded in around the 1030s.
For dinner we had to have some Irish stew, so there was a pub right down the road called The Brazen Head, which was ironic considering Leroy hit his head.
It was a busy pub for around 5 p.m. but was well worth it. It was full of knickknacks and odd mementos from around the world including a display of police patches.
We had the salmon cakes aka potato cakes and our Irish stew. It was a good choice and close to our hotel.
Afterward, we headed back to the hotel and went to bed early so that way both of us could get some rest and feel better in the morning.
Featured image: Meredith Curtis, looks at an exhibit in the Titanic Museum in Belfast on Sunday.