Ireland! Day Fourteen! It does not stop!

We had a great calm night in the new room that was only shared by us two and not by the snoring smelly rhino, although I missed him a bit.

The next day we thought about doing a tour of all the famous stuff in the city from when catholics and protestants were hitting each in the heads, but then we didn’t really feel like it. Instead we took a bus up to a hill that overlooks all of Belfast north of the town. Taking the bus is a bit scary, as only major stops are depicted on the maps, and you have to trust your driver when you ask him if he was going where you wanted to go. Our driver reassured us that he was indeed going towards the mountain and at some point he more or less yelled “NOW!” and we hurried to get off the bus.

We arrived at the Belfast Zoo which lies at the base of said hill, I will just now call Mount Doom for ease of writing, and our guide book told us, that there was a way to go from the Zoo to a little castle on Mount Doom. And indeed there was, but not quite as we expected. A muddy path crawls behind the Zoo upwards. And unlike Berlin, where you can see at least one animal that isn’t a pigeon from outside the Zoo when you pass by, in Belfast you only see concrete walls, barbed wire and reinforced fences. The path consisted mostly of large patches of mud and some slippery stones and slopes. At some point we had to make our way across 10 meters of heel deep mud by jumping from stone to stone. Doro was cursing like a sailor. I never heard her curse like that before or after. We just made it across the mud pit when a group of 4 joggers arrived and went “Hep Hep Hep Hep” while passing us, their legs muddy up to the knee.

The weather was grey and foggy and so the day looked pretty shitty. Crawling next to a fence through mud is not exactly what we intended to do.

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We then slowly climbed to the peak area of Mount Doom. Doro said it would be nice if it would start to rain. It then started to rain.

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Up on the side of Mount Doom was this cave you see below and we went to take a look at it. Looking down Mount Doom was just a vast area of greyness.

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When we arrived at the cave’s entrance, we turned around to see that in that exact minute the skies cleared up, the sun shined on our faces and all the clouds moved away to annoy someone else.

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The view then was most spectacular, we could watch the big boats arriving in the harbour of Belfast, look out to the see and all around us was sunshine and happiness. Yay!

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While we stood there, admiring the scenery, me getting all sentimental and crying about the beauty of the day and God’s holy creation that we could witness, I was pulled out of my tranquillity by Doro fistpunching me in the kidneys. Twice. A young guy walked over the hill next to us. “Hello! How are you doing!”, was what I said. “Oh, ihr seid auch aus Deutschland.” was his answer. Great. So much for my English skills. He then presented himself to be a lone wanderer of the Belfast area, originating from the Bodensee in Germany. We had a chat and he pointed us in the direction he came from to get to the castle that was our original goal. We said farewell, he went on and we went where he came from.

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The forest we entered looked suiting to Mount Doom, green and mossy and like it was bursting with witches and alike.

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But it wasn’t. The evil that lied within it was far beyond the evil of witchcraft. We took a turn at one point to get further down Mount Doom in direction of the castle I will now call Minas Tirit for no apparent reason. The slopes got more slippery and Doro had to do some impressive moves to avoid falling. So did I. But luckily I was the bearer of the camera and so it is not captured how I tumble down Mount Doom.

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It soon appeared to us that we took a turn for a mountain bike downhill course. This paths are not made for walking. Although I can’t imagine how to survive riding a bike on a muddy slippery slope down Mount Doom, some people must have done that regularly. We found bike tracks and later on some ramps for jumps.

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Then it happened. Although I descended Mount Doom lightfooted like a woodelf and fell and buried the camera in mud. Fun times. Luckily we soon found a way off this God forsaken bicycle track back to a normal route and we soon approached Minas Tirit. A lovely castle, often booked by wedding people to wed people together somehow. We walked over nicely kept lawns, me covered in mud, exhausted and not in the best mood. We headed straight into the washing rooms where we removed what we could of all the mud we brought.

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I cleaned the camera and as we (or rather Doro) spent a lot of money on the camera it was actually water and dust sealed and could basically just be rinsed with water until it was clean. My leg still looked muddy for the rest of the day.

So finally, this is the castle of Minas Tirit.

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The garden tells some kind of story of how the earl of the castle set himself on fire and jumped of a very high thing and fell into the town like a human torch, but unlike the friend of Mr Spandex, Invisible Girl and Dwayne Johnson he wasn’t able to fly like a bird. To tell the story a number of cats was hidden in the garden. Hidden as in there was a mosaic or a statue or picture. See if you can find them all on the pictures that follow up.

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These stairs are mainly used by newly marriaged people to stumble and fall down while the guests are laughing at them. Very nice thing to see.

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These are for friendzoned men and their crushes. Quite close but with an uncrossable gap.

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This sign tells the story of how the castle’s inhabitants (servants for weddings) are lucky as long as a cat lives on the premises. As cats are known to chew on headphone cables the servants thought to be clever by hiding cat shaped objects in the garden. Kind of similar to the way they wanted to tell the story of the Earl of Minas Tirit and his torch experience.

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This is me ignoring the fact that the cat is dead, because she messed with Goldfinger.

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I then lost a part of my backpack somewhere and despite looking for it we couldn’t find it. Mmh. We then descended from Mount Doom back into the civilisation. When we turned around we were stunned by the giant’s face that was visible against the sky. WE WERE WALKING ON A GIANT’S HEAD ALL THE TIME!?! We were so lucky not to have woken him. The locals say that the giant’s face looks like Napoleon. But I don’t see the afro anywhere. Or the moonboots.

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Nearly done now! Only a few dozen posts about Ireland left before I can talk to you again about my food and the stuff I don’t like!

Huzza!

 

Ireland! Day Thirteen! Just look at this city!

It is dark outside, grey, my nose is running, I cough occasionally, what better thing is there to do then to finish up my master piece of how I went to Ireland and came back.

What happened so far: We arrived in Belfast the day before, found an amazing tent full of fancy veg, browsed the southern area of Belfast and then headed back to the hostel, after having some mediocre fish and chips and place calling itself “The best fish and chips”. It was not.

Ireland! Day Twelve! Flower Power in Belfast!

After ten days in Derry we kind of had the feeling that we did everything that was accessible to us without a bike or car. We did some stuff even several times already (Castlerock!). And when we first went to Belfast, the weather was shitty and the city was just too big to be conquered in just one day. So we packed our stuff, said farewell to our host and took the morning train to Belfast, which is nearly as fast as the bus and way more comfortable.

Ireland! Day four and five! We went to Bel and fast!

On day four we mostly planned our stay in Northern Ireland. We used our mobile internet traffic to browse the interwebs for things to do. We spent the afternoon on a walk to Prehen Woods, a small patch of forest 30 minutes on foot south of Derry. The way there was marked by a beautiful motorway and a boring residential area. The forest itself was completely lacking people which was a good thing. Not the most exciting forest, but relaxing nonetheless. All the pictures were done on analog cameras, they might follow once I cleaned my dev stuff and got some development going.

The next day we got up early and took the bus service to Belfast. We saw a church thing that might actually not be a church but more of a thing.

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We went on a saturday. Which brought the big advantage of being able to visit a lovely food market. It featured some grocery stands but mostly freshly prepared food. And fish.

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And lovely baby clothing.

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We ate breakfast/lunch (someone should invent a word for that) consisting of a beef steak bap (which is like a regular burger) and some paella. Both dishes were really good. Unfortunately there was not so much space available to sit down, which was a bit of a downer. But then again a great band played some relaxed jazz/reggae/rock.

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And so many cupcakes everywhere. Note the boxes on the side containing another truckload of fancy decorated cupcakes that drown in colored icing, silver pearls and colorful sprinkles. Of course we didn’t buy any as we both preferred taste over looks, and sugar icing and sugar pearls and colorants just don’t taste that great.

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As we went back outside to stroll around the city, it started to rain. Constant, annoying, wet, pouring, mean rain.

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Not even a giant herring could cheer us up.

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As an emergency solution we did a boat tour of the harbor with this lovely tiny boat.

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The boat instantly pleased by being kind of indoors and with chairs.

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This are the Titanic Studios, where Game of Thrones is made. Also a lot of the exterior settings are actually located somewhere in Ireland. A good choice by HBO to produce the series on this beautiful island.

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The harbor looked like a harbor, with docks and stuff. Somewhere in this harbor the Titanic was built by Irishmen before it was sunk by an Englishman, as the locals never cease to point out. “She was fine when when she left us.”

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I am enjoying myself so much. And my raincoat was basically useless as it just soaked up all the water and kept it around me.

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In this dock the Titanic or the sister ship Olympic or maybe some completely unrelated ship was built. The guide was fun, I guess, as we could hardly understand him. But he sounded nice.

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Doro has a bit more fun than me as she actually brought proper rain clothing to the land of everlasting rain.

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Navy seals hiding on the bank.

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They built an impressive giant thing that was quite big. I have about a million pictures of it, but I only show you this one because I am a good person.

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And by the end of the tour the sky cleared up and the rain stopped. Big success.

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We enjoyed the little tour a lot, not only because it provided shelter from the rain, it was also interesting to see the docks, the size of the machines and hear a bit about the story of the harbor. We saw “THE TITANIC EXPERIENCE” (yes, it has to be all caps and be read in a deep dramatic voice) which is just a fancy wording for museum that features stuff around the Titanic. The interesting thing about the building was, that the top edge of it was constructed in a way that it would be exactly the height of the nose (technical term for the front thingy of a boating machine) of Titanic. The building was quite tall. But I did not find a picture of it in the folder. Can’t be that interesting then.

We said goodbye to the lovely boat people and their boat and went on.

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We then finally did some city strolling. Unfortunately Belfast is quite boring on a saturday night if you are not interested in spending a lot of hard earned money on beer in small bars full with people. The shops close at very early, the pubs are expensive.

We saw this cathedral. Its tower has been blown away by the IRA and was not rebuilt. Instead, to appease the situation a sky needle was constructed.

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Before the shops finally closed we jumped into an outdoor supply store and looked for a rain jacket that would actually repel rain instead of sucking it all up and using it to chill the body down to cozy 12 degrees Kelvin. We were so lucky to find a big rack of jackets on sale and after trying on several different options Doro bought me a very nice Northface jacket that I then wore for the rest of the holidays.

After nightfall we got on the bus to Derry and went home.