Friday, 21 October 2011
Sunday, 2 October 2011
so, it's been over a year since i last updated. =P shame on me. it's just, my life has been super hectic!
anyways, as for travelling, i recently made a trip to northern ireland over a weekend, which was really great. i took an overnight sleeper train into scotland, and then a ferry into belfast. this is definitely the long, scenic route, compared to flying, but it's a unique experience, and i would definitely recommend it. the caledonian sleeper train was pretty fun - very hogwarts express, if you're a harry potter fan. the booths are quite small, so it's not the thing to do if you're claustrophobic. if you're in first class, you get your own little complimentary toiletries kit, which is a nice touch. so if you're travelling alone, i would definitely suggest paying the extra £50 for your own first class private booth. you'll also get a complimentary snack for breakfast, and even a full breakfast if you order it.
the train ride through scotland had some beautiful coastal views, and the ferry was amazing. it was basically a small cruise ship, complete with movie theater, spa, cafes, and restaurants. a lot of people also brought their dogs, and some were driving, so had their cars parked below deck. once at belfast port, i had a black taxi cab pick me up directly from the port onto a taxi tour of the city.
the black cab tour is definitely a must-do if you're in belfast, mainly because it's so iconic and gives you great, personal insight into the history of the city - particularly the protestant vs. catholic issues. it's not the most cheery of tours, but it's certainly enlightening and worthwhile. for one person, it's somewhat pricey at £30, but if you're travelling with others, you can split the cost among you.
the following day, i took a day tour of the antrim coast with mccomb's bus tours. this was the highlight of the trip for me. if you're in belfast, the giant's causeway should not be missed, especially if you love coastlines, hiking, and natural wonders. although it rained, the strange hexagonal rock formations of the giant's causeway were fantastic to see and climb around on. you could easily spend a good half-day there, hiking and exploring the shoreline. the bus tour also stopped at the precarious Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, which runs across the rocks. even though it looks like a dangerous, thin, little bridge, no one has ever fallen off. nevertheless, i thought i saw a coast guard boat down below, to help you out in case you do wind up falling into the sea.
despite having a great time, i actually wouldn't recommend taking a day tour from belfast, mainly because the tour was very rushed. instead, if you want to see the giant's causeway, i would suggest booking a weekend at the giant's causeway hotel, which sits practically right on the causeway. then you can simply take your time exploring the stones and the beautiful, rocky coast.