UK & Ireland, Day 11: Following in the Steps of Giants

Saturday, 6/4/16

Cheers to a very American breakfast of Subway and Starbucks. But hey, nothing beats convenience when you've got things to see!
We arrived at the Giant's Causeway on a chilly, overcast morning.
The fence along the walkway was literally just crawling with caterpillars.
It is a good-sized walk from the parking lot to the actual attraction.
But once you're there, you just have to marvel at the area, which features about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
So, as we're picking our way down the stones, I hear a little gasp and someone completely fell off the side of the cliff. She quickly picked herself up and assured everyone that she was okay as almost a half-dozen people started making their way towards her to make sure she was okay. We hiked up one of the trails and followed it as far as we could go.
We go as far as we can on the trail, and there's a sign saying that the trail is closed beyond this point because it isn't safe. It was blocked off enough to the point where Francisco remarked "that trail is definitely 'no ifs, ands, or buts' closed". A guy hiking behind us laughed and asked where we were from, "that definitely didn't sound Irish" and proceeded to say how an Irishman would have described the trail.
Next up was Carrick-a-Rede, the site of a famous rope bridge that links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It's a very scenic area with views of Rathlin Island and Scotland.
First, you have to cross the rope bridge, and the line was quite long and rather inefficiently managed. You had to wait for basically the entire line on the other side of the bridge to cross instead of spacing out the crossings. Standing around in the warm sun waiting so long to move made us a bit cranky.
The views on the other side were pretty awesome though.
We started to hear some racket over the side of the cliff, and we looked over and saw these oystercatchers.
These guys were LOUD...and we soon discovered why. They had a little baby with them that they were trying to keep concealed - and they were very agitated if you got too close.
After that, we drove along the coast for a bit and made our way over to Belfast.
We had originally been planning on saving some things in Belfast until the next morning, but we were there early enough, so we went to Titanic Belfast to see the world's largest Titanic exhibition.  Titanic was built at the former Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, and this museum is situated in the Titanic Quarter where there are many historic maritime landmarks.
I generally have little patience for museums, but I was actually pretty excited for this one. There's even a little ride inside the museum that takes you through the building process of the ship. It was sad to read the SOS dialogues, and my engineer nerd of a husband was infinitely fascinated by the construction of this huge ship.
For dinner, we went to Maggie May's. We were starving, so we ordered separate entrees [which is something I don't advise doing. Our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs.] Francisco had the Veggie Fry with two eggs, soda bread, potato bread, pancake, hash brown, mushrooms, tomato, beans and veggie sausage. There was a noticeable lack of sausage.  I order the Champ Vegetarian Sausage and Beans, but I received a Veggie Burger instead. We were both too hungry to bring up these points, so we just ate our food. We got a really tasty milkshake to go [don't ask me where we got room to fit this in our bellies.]
Maggie May's Veggie Fry
Our hotel was near the Belfast airport even though we were driving on to Dublin tomorrow. Pickings were kind of slim around this city!  The Maldron Hotel was on the older side, but decent enough.


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