Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Saturday, September 13th, 2003 Belfast to Londonderry (2 nights)

Up at 6:45am with the wake up call…both of us were sound asleep. Breakfast was long as we had a girls’ soccer team in the room with us for breakfast. Jim slept most of the morning as we cruised up the coast towards the north. Weather is more overcast than yesterday; we had light rain during the night; so our long sleeves feel good. The road is along a very rocky coastline…hill on left side of bus and water on right. It was a narrow, curvy road with shear cliffs at times on the left, known as the Antrim Coast. Jim was not the only one sleeping during the drive; several others did the same as there was a wedding reception in the hotel that kept many of the guests awake until after 2 am.

Views of the day included a stop at Glenarm, a seaport village, for a photos and toilets. There were wonderful views of the coast in two directions. Then back on the bus for more of the winding drive along the narrow road hanging to the edge of the cliffs on the Antrim Coast. The road also rambled inland through hills and over bridges across the glens. This area was settled at one time by the Scots and their influence has remained. Had an hour plus for the walk down the winding path to see the Giants Causeway; very much like Devil’s Post Pile near Mammoth Lakes in California. It was caused by lava flows that created huge basalt columns rising from the sea. We walked up and down. Many rode the bus that was provided. Well worth the challenge and then we shared a sandwich and lemon pie for lunch at the snack bar.

Afterwards we continued along the coast to Bushmills to visit the oldest whiskey distillery in the world. We toured the plant and then had a visit to the tasting room. Each group was asked to have two men and two women volunteer for a special Whiskey Tasting of several different types. Martha volunteered, with the assistance and prompting of Jim. Lots of fun! Next on the tour was a visit to Dunluce Castle. It was only scheduled for a five minute photo stop; but after explaining to Bernard about this being Phil’s forefathers home; exceptions were made and they were allowed extra time to actually walk down and inside for a few minutes. Prior to the McDonalds it was the home of the McQuellan on his mother’s side.

Another hour of sheep, heather, bramble bushes, cows and hilly pastures brought us to the town of Londonderry/Derry and our hotel for the next two nights. Yes, we’re still in Northern Ireland but other than still being on English Pounds; the difference is not as apparent as it had been in Belfast. Our hotel is another member of the Hastings family of hotels called the Everglades. This hotel is older than last night but still very nice. Jim is trying desperately to stay awake for a few hours so that he will sleep better. I’ve washed my hair and now will read my book a bit. We had a cocktail hour before dinner tonight. I had another pint of Guinness. Barbara asked for a Virgin Mary and the bartenders could not understand anyone not have alcohol in their drink! We are slowly getting to know the other people in the tour group. There is a large group from Canada, one couple from Australia; and people from all over the United States. Dinner tonight was with Mary, Phil and a couple from Michigan, a couple from Ohio, and two sisters traveling together from around Indianapolis. The food is really good.

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