Touring BelfastOctober 10 in the United Kingdom
Finally the rain has gone. It was a beautiful day today, cool but not cold and nice and warm in the sun.
I started out with the hop on hop off bus tour. I sat up the top on the left, as I usually do and found myself ducking whenever we went under trees.
I hadn’t realised that the city was still so divided. I was vaguely aware of the political situation when I was younger but did not really know much about it. The bus took us through both Protestant/Unionist and Catholic/Nationalist areas as well as along the peace wall which divides neighbourhoods. There is still signs of the conflict. The most sobering being the houses/flats with mesh covering the windows.
In the Catholic areas street signs are in English and Gaelic, in the Protestant areas they are in English only. The union flag and Irish flag fly in their respective areas and there are so many murals and memorials.
I got off the bus at the Titanic museum. The museum is great and very well done. It gives a history of industry and shipbuilding in Belfast and then then the building of the Titanic right through to the aftermath of the sinking. I spent quite a lot of time there looking at all the exhibits.
I also met up with another Pokémon playing internet friend. It was nice to trade Pokémon but it was even better just to talk to her, get her experience of living in Northern Ireland and hear her perspective on various topics. We chatted for quite a while before I went off and finished the museum.
I got back on the bus and the next part of the tour took us up the Parliament House. All vehicles are searched as they enter the gates although this was quite perfunctory. The guard took a look on the back seat and didn’t bother going upstairs. On the way back we again went through separated parts of the city.
I got off opposite the Europa Hotel. It’s the most bombed hotel in Europe, having been bombed over 30 times. It’s around the corner and up the street from where I am staying.Read more