Day 10- British Isles:  Belfast, Ireland to Edinburgh, Scotland


We woke up in Ireland and went to sleep in Scotland.  And in the between…

I found out yesterday that Games of Thrones Season 5 is currently shooting in Belfast at Titanic Studios.  During its television reign,it has brought in 87 million pounds to the city.  Our guide yesterday said her son was offered a speaking role but he didn’t call back in time. She was glad because she heard it was about sex and killing.  Now, her husband has applied to be an extra.  The cast must be staying at Europa Hotel because I spied Iian Glen (Jorah Mormont) in the restaurant.  I discreetly took a picture outside.  I also tried to wander on to the set and was stopped in security.  

Well, we hadn’t planned to see Titanic Studios.  Our plan was to see the Titanic Museum.  The Titanic was built in Belfast.  And in 2012 on the 100th Anniversary of its sinking, this interactive museum opened.  If you go to Belfast, it is a MUST.  The museum is designed with technological coolness.  In one area, I stood in the middle of three large panels.  A four minute film took me virtually from the engine room to the captain’s bridge by way of third and first class accommodations.  They also have an actual amusement park-style ride that goes through the ship-making of the Titanic.  The exhibit includes a theatre too. It shows a film about the remains on the bottom of the ocean. And these are just a few things and ways they give tribute to the famous voyage.  It’s a slick spectacle housed on the dry dock area Titanic was built.  The museum is part of a plan to transform this shipyard area into Titanic City by 2030.  The vision is shoppes, restaurants, residential in Belfast Titanic.

We left the museum to get on the ferry to cross the North Channel.  We were leaving Ireland for Scotland.  The Walshes gathered for a historical picture:  Walshes‘ Emigration from Ireland the Sequel.  Ferry riding has been smooth, a little wavy but nothing seasick worthy.  Restaurants, shops and even magazines to borrow.  It’s a nice way to travel. We were on the ferry for over two hours and then the ride to Edinburgh was nearly three hours.      

We arrived in Edinburgh and were immediately enchanted.  I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list.  The capital of Scotland is breathtaking. No picture will do this city justice.  It’s marveling for the preservation of the ancient alongside the modern.  The difference between this and other cities is the grandeur is viewable.  Edinburgh is divided into three sections:  the old city, the new city, the city.  The Edinburgh castle is the showpiece in the old city.  It was established on the top of a rocky mountain for its ruling advantage.  The old city sprung around it on the big rock.  The city grew up.  Buildings were on buildings.  They boast the original skyscrapers. Stairs connect one level to another.  Jenny and I climbed up the Warriston’s Close.  “Close” is like an alley but in olden days, ‘close’ meant it was closed off during the night for protection.  

We are staying at The George Hotel.  It’s in the new city.  In the close quarters, disease threatened the old city’s population.  They decided to spread out.  Using a grid system plan, they started the ‘new’ city in 1764.  Both of these cities are amazing for their architecture.  

Mom and dad treated us to some Scottish entertainment by purchasing a bus tour package.  All the other Globus add-on excursions have been great.  The King James by Thistle was a bust.  It’s just cheesy.  The room feels, tastes, looks, sounds, smells like a wedding reception in a church basement.  The hot room was crammed with tourists. The food was just okay.  The fiddler, accordion player and dancers were fine.  The MC, staging and pacing of the show were off. The show unfolded like a high school talent show led by their drama teacher. And most unfortunate for me, my best view was of the clock over the stage. It was painfully sluggish.  It wasn’t anything like the Irish craic we’ve had.  

Jenny and I stopped by the The Hard Rock Cafe on the way home.  It’s right across from our hotel.  Despite it being the obvious chain tourist spot, the bartender made it an authentic Scottish experience. She was very welcoming and regaled stories of Twisted Sisters visiting the pub.              





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