A Jaunt to Belfast

Being a gal who doesn’t plan last minute trips…I’m glad I have friends who do! I’ve found that my international chums are the type that take risks and love adventure. At least four of the girls have gone sky-diving! “Wow,” I said, “I’m afraid of heights, so I guess I won’t be doing that anytime soon.” The common response: “Oh, I was too, but I did it anyway.” No excuses for me, I guess.

Anyway, this trip was tame compared to sky-diving. The plans began two days in advance, not too last minute. And it was only to Belfast, a 1.5 hour bus ride from Derry, so I was game. I would travel with Marc, Alina, Klara and Bianca (all Germans) and Krystyn (my Canadian friend). I enjoyed being the only American, for once!

by the river

Friday morning dawned, clear, cool and sunny (as “usual”). Generally, long bus rides are dull. However, reading a thrilling Hercule Poirot mystery while traveling through rolling green hills and pastureland was actually quite a delight.

After arriving in Belfast, we went to Victoria Square – a large mall with an amazing lookout dome. From that high point, we could see all the main Belfast attractions and read a small bit of history about them. (Just as a side note, it’s quite interesting how many streets, sights and centres are named after Queen Victoria. I live off of Victoria Rd, Derry has a Victoria Market, Belfast a Victoria Square, Queen’s Island and Queen’s University, etc.)

Lookout point group in the dome

From there, we headed to the city hall for a tour. This ornate building is majestic and rich with history. Belfast has always been a hub for ship-building and is most renowned for being the birthplace of the Titanic. Located in the city centre, the hall was a priority target for airstrikes during WWII and did indeed take a direct hit to one of its wings. Thankfully, many of the stained glass windows had been removed prior to the bombing, and after the destroyed portion was rebuilt, the windows were re-installed.

City Hall city hall dome Stained glass

The tour of the building was excellent, and I even got to sit in the Mayor’s chair! 🙂

Mayor's Seat

We couldn't resist taking a photo in the city hall bathroom. It was the cutest place!

We couldn’t resist taking a photo in the city hall bathroom. It was the cutest place!

Afterwards, we walked through the city and headed to St. George’s Market, the location of a neat bazaar. Entering the building, we saw a maze of vendors, selling all sorts of colorful wares. There was a fishmonger (we smelled this long before reaching the building), bakers, farmers, antique sellers – you name it. We could have browsed for hours!

Finally, we headed down the Titanic trail. In the distance, we could see “Samson” and “Goliath,” the two cranes which supported the huge ship during its construction. Although the Titanic museum was a bit pricey, we’d heard that it was well worth the money. We weren’t disappointed! The museum begins with an extensive history of Belfast as a ship-building and linen-processing centre and weaves (did you catch that?) this background into the story of the Titanic.

Throughout the museum, you can see full-scale representations of first, second and third class accommodation, get a virtual tour of the ship, read the stories of passengers and much, much more. I love learning interesting facts, and if you do too, this is the place to go! Here’s a mind-boggling tidbit – there were no linen washing facilities on the ship, so enough napkins, tablecloths, etc. for the whole journey had to be stocked on board! Also, if you’ve seen Titanic, you’ll find that the actors who played the ship’s architect and captain look remarkably like their real life counterparts.

Titanic Museum Titanic Scuplture

It was a fabulous experience, complete with a ride! Have you ever heard of a ride in a museum? I certainly hadn’t before yesterday. It’s intended to provide an immersive, sensory experience of the ship-building process. You actually get in a little booth (like a roller-coaster) and are suspended from the ceiling as you travel around the “shipyard”! Overall, I’d heartily recommend a visit if you’re in Belfast. It was well worth the £10 (student discount price).

At the end of the day, I took a walk to see Queen’s University before heading back to the bus.

QUB

It was an amazing trip, and I’m glad to say that I’ll be back to the city soon. My friend, Kelsa, goes to Queen’s, so hopefully we’ll have a reunion in the coming months. Until then, I’ll be sure to recount more adventures!

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2 thoughts on “A Jaunt to Belfast

  1. Dear Sarah,

    When I lived in Greece for three years during my term of missionary service there, I often experienced loneliness.

    Mail from home meant a lot to me.

    One Scripture that I think might be as meaningful to you as it was to me is from Proverbs 25:25. I had never seen it before or had glossed over it, but it became quite personalized for me.

    Great job with your blog! Yes, I thought you wove together wonderfully the ship-building and linen processing! I DID get that!

    You looked quite the Mayoress seated there in the Mayor’s Chair. Well, almost a rhyme!

    What a great account of your trip to Belfast, especially the museum.

    I hope that in a few hours you will be picked up by Dorie and will have a truly uplifting time of worship, teaching from Scripture, and fellowship at Cornerstone.

    Today I completed my 20 hours of domestic violence training and received my certificate for what it’s worth. I have assisted 3-4 women this past week who are in abusive marriages. It is very sad but also gratifying to be able to come alongside them and get resources into their hands.

    I have not seen your parents in two weeks. I hope I will recognize them in the crowd tomorrow! 😳

    I trust are in your red bed and sleeping comfortably. 😴💤

    Richard Sent from my iPhone

    Like

  2. Sarah, I know that you really like shopping in bazaars and thrift stores and flea markets and getting great deals like $10-$20 two-tone boots, so I suggest that you title appropriately your next book of shopping etiquette and protocols. How about this?

    BAZAAR BEHAVIOR… but in the United Kingdom it would need to be BAZAAR BEHAVIOUR, of course. 😉

    Richard Sent from my iPhone

    Like

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