Belfast

the giant’s causeway: a natural unesco

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Before we actually travelled, we would pseudo-travel: after work, as we channel surfed, we would always end up  watching travel shows. And it was on one of those shows when we first saw and heard about the Giant’s Causeway. So when we were in Europe back in 2006, we added Northern Ireland to our list of countries to visit – and we didn’t regret it one bit.

There are 6 km of this unusual geological formation; polygon-shaped rocks piled on top of one another into columns. Formed following volcanic activity many million years ago, there are similar formations as well on the coast of Scotland – just across the body of water.

As the myths and legends go, Finn McCool, the giant had something to do with this hence the name. 😉

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Admission gives you access to the visitor’s centre and pedestrian access to the Causeway. There are regular shuttles down to the Causeway but there is a small additional charge. There was the option to see the rocks from “bird’s eye” view by walking along the cliff track up above. Beware on windy days!!

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The Giant’s Causeway is about an hour’s drive out of Belfast. And not far from it is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The day we went it was so crazy windy, that we were not allowed to cross the bridge.

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Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast were UNESCO Heritage listed in 1986.

To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list

 

 

 

the day travelling by plane changed forever

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We woke up and switched on the TV as we got ready to go to the airport. BBC news was talking about something about airports and safety and we switched it off because we thought it was just a standard report. Little did we know that we were witnessing the way that flying internationally had changed!

Arriving at the airport, the check-in lines were out the door.  There were people everywhere and we were still oblivious. We saw that all the flights out of Belfast airport had been cancelled and just wanted to make sure that our flight to Edinburgh was still scheduled. So far it was – but had been delayed. So finally we got to the front of the queue and  told that we were NOT allowed to bring anything on the plane except our passports and wallets, nothing else at all! This is when we found out that there had been a terrorism threat on a transatlantic flight. And it was the day that travelling by plane changed forever: it was the birth of the RULING for 100mL maximum for liquids on flights.

As we waited in Belfast airport, we could see all these flights getting cancelled. And we starred in anticipation for the flight to Edinburgh. It didn’t seem to be cancelled, just getting pushed back so we browsed through the news stands and shops and completely lost track of time. Next thing we hear is the announcement that it is the last call for boarding for the flight to Edinburgh – then began the mad dash to the gate!

To think that we not only remembered when air travel changed but we actually experienced it from Day 1.

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It has been a month since we had left and we are in Belfast. We were kindly escorted to our hotel by a stranger who clearly could see we were lost. Our introduction to the country was a thumbs up! We had grown up in an era where there was a lot of negative media attention for Northern Island so let’s just say we were so happy we decided to visit and see what it had to offer.

We have nothing to complain about this city. We did a Black Cab Tour which admittedly wasn’t anything to write home about but we did learn a great deal about the history and the conflict in the area. We witnessed some young boys of about 8 or 9 scale a wall to rip down the UK flag. So it showed to us how conflict still resides.

From city to coast, we visited the Giants Causeway and that would have to be one of the coolest things we have seen. Pictures do not do justice to this natural wonder. The legend goes that the causeway was built by the Irish giant to fight the Scottish giant. The scientific version probably isn’t half as exciting! Walking along the cliff face above the causeway, we were getting pushed along by the gale force wind before we decided to take the safer option for a view of the rocks by taking the shuttle bus to stand amongst them! Definitely worth a visit if this region is on anyone’s itinerary.

View more pictures from our trips in Photo Gallery

Giant's Causeway
Giant’s Causeway