Thursday May 18
We woke up in Belfast to another beautiful day in the sun. The breeze is cold in the shade but if you are in the sun it is wonderful. We climb on a shuttle bus and head into the city. We got on a City Bus Tour and headed out. We are interested to see the wall between the Catholics and Protestants. The bus starts out going to the Titanic Museum. The Titanic was built here and was one of their biggest and best of ships until it sank. We decided we didn’t want to walk around the museum so we stayed on the bus. We didn’t realize that this was the only stop. We traveled passed St George’s Market, Queen’s University and to the political area where the wall is. We are amazed at the size of the wall. During the war as it got worse the wall got higher and each time was made my different material. Started with cement, wood and then chain link and barb wire. The peace between the religions is still tentative today. The tour guide said they are afraid that it could start again at any time. They have amazing murals on the wall of the barrier. The gates of the wall are still closed nightly and the guide emphasized that if you were not on the correct side of the wall when they did, you may have to stay the night until they opened in the morning.
Through the town they have murals dedicated to those who died and those who sacrificed their lives. Bobby Sands was the first to die during a hunger strike. We finished our tour going around the Belfast Castle and Gardens it was high up and you could see the whole of Belfast from up here. It is chilly out and we are traveling in an open topped bus, brrrr.
We got back to our start and asked one of the other tour guides directions to a pub, he said follow me! As we got off the bus it had begun to rain and by the time we got to the pub it was pouring. He took us up to the second floor and made sure we had a place to sit. By the time I turned to thank him, he had gone! We had a great meal, Terry had a brisket sub and I have a chicken wrap. An appetizer was Potato Pots and we ordered one, it was great but was just roasted potatoes with bacon. While there, it stopped raining but when we left it was pouring again. We stopped at a bakery and bought some soda bread as they said it was the most awesome thing. Since it was pouring we decided to head back to the ship. By the time the shuttle bus pulled out the rain had stopped.
Some interesting photos on our day tour of Belfast, mouse over for an explanation:
We had dinner at the Island Dining room and joined 6 other people. It was a fun table with teachers and a professor of veterinary medicine. We left right after dinner though as it was almost show time. Tonight was the second time with Paul Baker but it wasn’t as good as his first show – isn’t that always the way, your expectations are higher after a good thing. We stopped into the Explorer's lounge and watched some of the Pentatonics. Soon our old age set in and we are ready to go to our room put on our pj’s