Thursday, 15 August 2019

1 Simpsons Brae (Londonderry, Northern Ireland)

Nice to have heat in the morning to take the chill off. The place warms up fairly quick once I fire up the boiler. For breakfast I fixed an English muffin with a fried egg inside. I found a local brand of English muffins while grocery shopping and they were the best I’ve ever had. A fried egg inside makes it so much better.

I was out the door by 10:20 and walked the short distance to the train station where I bought a ticket to Coleraine and from there I’ll take a intercity bus to Giant’s Causeway. Along the way I had terrific views of the Irish countryside and Lough Foyle. Once I arrived in Coleraine I quickly found the proper bus to take (thanks to a couple of friendly local women) and I was on my way to Giant’s Causeway.

We made a few stops along the way and within 40 minutes I was at the entrance to the site of Giant’s Causeway. Purchasing a ticket is optional but the money goes to maintaining the site so I didn’t give it a second thought about the cost of the ticket. I also received an audio guide that provided good background information as I walked along.

Thanks to a video I found on YouTube I planned my walk around the site. I first walked up to the cliffs above the coastline and saw some terrific views of the coast. The weather was mostly sunny though quite breezy as I walked along the cliffs. I took a stairway down to the shore and walked along it until I came to the rocks. There were many tourists, and from listening to them talk, they were from many different countries. The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be one of the top natural wonders of the world.

It was fun to watch people climb over the unique rocks. Thankfully there was a warden on duty to warm people from climbing on the more dangerous parts. Had I been a young boy I would have been all over the rocks but now I know my limits and can appreciate them from a comfortable distance.

I took many pictures of the rocks and the impressive columns, but will probably only post a few to Instagram. There was so much to see and experience. I probably stayed down at the rocks for about 45 minutes before I thought it was time to start my return journey. A bus takes people from the rocks up to the visitor center where you can find a bite to eat. I had a small lunch while I listened to more of the selections from the audio guide.

Finding the bus stop for the return trip to Coleraine was easy and waited 20 minutes for the next bus. The roads were packed with cars and buses so it was slow going as we made our way along the first part of the bus journey. From there we arrived in Coleraine in about 30 minutes. The train back to Londonderry came along shortly after I arrived at the station.

The trip to the Giant’s Causeway and back took nearly eight hours, which I expected. I was very tired when I arrived back at the flat. Glad I made the trip.

Now to make travel plans for tomorrow’s trip to Sligo. No trains run directly to Sligo and I’ll need to take a bus for the nearly three hour ride. I tried to book online but they were sold out of the online tickets so I’ll have to buy one tomorrow. I’m a little concerned that I won’t have a seat but I’ll keep positive and not worry about it. Think I’ll make an early trip in the morning to the bus station and buy a ticket just to be safe.

After a nap, making dinner and watching a bit of TV I was ready for bed. I watched a few videos that Cousin Barbara sent while eating dinner. She has recently been converting old film and videos to digital. Fun to see her and Tony when they were in their early 20’s. I’ll get up early tomorrow and buy a ticket, clean the flat and pack. I’ll see more of the Irish countryside and look forward to staying in a new flat. Perhaps along the way tomorrow I’ll count up how many Airbnb flats I’ve been in over the last three years. I’m thinking I’ve been in over 60.

I’ve also been thinking about friends and family who have had medical issues recently and maintain positive thoughts that they will heal properly and get through it all in good shape.

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