Wednesday, 14 August 2019

1 Simpsons Brae (Londonderry, Northern Ireland)

Had a fairly good sleep last night, though there was an occasional car that passed underneath my window that kept me awake at times. Where are these people going at 3:00 a.m.? I found my earplugs and then was able to sleep in awhile longer.

It was chilly during the night and needed to put on warmer clothes while making a mental note to send a message to the host and ask about how to turn on the boiler. After I had my morning coffee I heard back from my host. He said to go threw the back door and open a door just to the right of the door and there I’ll find the boiler. It was just dark enough where I needed the flashlight on my phone to find the switch to turn it on. (Never mind the cobwebs and friendly spiders.) Yes, that worked and now I have heat.

I was out the door a little after 1:00 and made my way to the Craigavon Bridge that I reached by walking down the street next to River Foyle. I thought I was heading to the Peace Bridge but started off in the wrong direction. Never mind, I’ll just reverse the itinerary for the day.

The Craigavon Bridge is very unremarkable when you first look at it. I found out it is one of only a few double-decker road bridges in Europe. It took nearly 10 minutes to cross, in part because I don’t walk fast but also the bridge has to cross a very wide section of the river. On the other side I found a peace memorial (Hands Across the Divide) that was installed in 1992.

My itinerary for the day was simple. To cross the Peace Bridge (revised), visit the Tower Museum (highly recommended by my Airbnb host) and walk along the Derry Walls. I saw a large church up a street on my way to the Derry Walls and walked up to check it out. It was St. Columb’s Cathedral, which is the oldest building within the City Walls and dates from 1633. Very nice interior and the church has an amazing collection of artifacts in its museum.

My next stop was to walk along the Derry Walls and found a place to start my walk just down the street from the Cathedral. These walls are the only completely intact city walls in Ireland and said to be one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. They are also the last walled city to be built in Europe. From the walls you can see over the city and there are stops along the way that explain the history of the walls and the city. I didn’t walk all the way around since it had started to rain about 30 minutes into my walk. I took this as a sign to take cover from the rain shower.

The Tower Museum was a short walk down the next street and dodged in and out of doorways and under trees getting there so I wouldn’t get too wet. I was wearing my waterproof parka but had my walking shoes on that are not waterproof.

I was very glad I stopped in at this museum. This museum thoroughly documents the history of the area from prehistoric times to the present. Just after the building of the city walls the history of the city seemingly became one conflict after another up until the last few decades. If it wasn’t for the conflict because of religion, it was conflict with England and the city’s neighbors. I can remember the “troubled times” from when I was a teenager and read about the almost daily conflicts in the newspaper and during the evening news broadcasts.

As it turned out, walking across the city’s Peace Bridge, that was dedicated in 2011, was a good way to end the day. The theme of peace can be found everywhere in Derry (or officially known as Londonderry). From what I found out today there are still some rumblings about a few issues (one of them being the city’s name) that have yet to be resolved, but everyone (well, most everyone) wants to maintain peace in the city and is willing to work out issues in a more constructive manner.

I stopped by the local grocery and bought a couple of items before heading back to the flat. I forgot to include in yesterday’s update about where I’m staying. The flat is actually a whole house that is connected to a row of homes on the street where I’m staying. The home is two levels where the front sitting room, dining room and kitchen are on the ground floor and three bedrooms and a bath are on the floor above.

Tonight I’m enjoying my fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green peas dinner. While eating dinner I watched two YouTube videos on how to make proper scones. A recipe that I’ll make once I get a place of my own.

Tomorrow I’m taking the train and a bus to the Giant’s Causeway. My Airbnb host couldn’t find anyone who would be my driver for tomorrow so I’ll take the train. I watched a YouTube video on the Giant’s Causeway so I feel like I’m ready for this day long trip.

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