My most nature-connected trip so far has been to Northern Ireland, where I spent 90% of my time outdoors and took over 200 photos. Just two of us went on this trip and I have to say that traveling in pairs has so far been the most enjoyable times for me.
Where I Went
Belfast, specifically so I could visit Giant’s Causeway, a large area made up of basalt columns, which form from the (relatively quick) cooling of lava. I also went out to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and on a tour of the city. It was a pretty short trip: two nights (Wednesday, Thursday) and two days (Thursday, Friday).
How I Got There
I flew to Belfast using EasyJet again, which means it was a pretty painless ordeal. We left in the late afternoon so my friend could go to class, allowing plenty of time for travel to the airport. Since we flew out of Southend, we left really early to make sure we had time to get there and get through check-in. Of course, we had hours to spare after arrival… because check-in took us maybe 10 minutes. There was not a single person in the line, so we just walked on through! And there is only one waiting area, so no need to go find your gate, haha. My round-trip flight cost me less than £60. Unfortunately, I think the return ticket for London-airport travel was around £25, so that bumped the overall price up a bit.
Where I Stayed
My second-ever hostel, The Linen House Hostel in Belfast wasn’t quite the same degree of comfort as my Edinburgh trip. This time around, we had an in-suite bathroom… but it wasn’t exactly clean enough to feel the need to shower. Instead, we sucked it up and just waited to shower until we returned home. Really flat pillows, lack of outlets, and a smelly, snoring roommate really iced the cake. Location-wise, it wasn’t bad. Close to shopping, food, and bus stops we needed. And, though we didn’t use them, it did have a large kitchen, some refrigerators, and a big work room.
Return trip AirLink tickets for airport-city bus travel cost £10.50. In general though, Belfast has a bunch of trains that come through it, and we bought a day iLink card for £16.50, which allowed us unlimited train and bus rides. We used these to get to both Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede, though the bus route we took from the train station is specifically set up for tourists, so it only runs through the end of September… and this was definitely the best route, because it simply goes around to all the touristy spots.
What I Did
Giant’s Causeway: £7
Absolutely blown away by the grandeur and beauty, we spent a good portion of our day here: taking the tour, catching photos, and walking around the area.
The entire area has a whole story to go with it, which generally doesn’t make a lot of sense, but does provide a bunch of fun explanations, such as the bear face below:
The last thing we did was climb hundreds of stairs… it was exhausting!
But provided this amazing top-down view:
This rope bridge is 100 ft. above the water and was originally used by fishermen. It’s not a huge distance to cross, but once the wind starts blowing it can get pretty scary – or maybe that was just me, being pretty afraid of heights. :) The entire area is just gorgeous though, and you can actually see Scotland from there!
Bus Tour: £10
I really love doing the hop-on, hop-off bus tours usually since they’re just a way to get familiar with Belfast while also relaxing. All the graffiti walls were very beautiful and I thought the story about how the beautiful parliament building had to be hidden was interesting. I heard there was a lamp put up in one of the parks we passed, symbolic of the Chronicles of Narnia, but I never saw it! :(
How Much I Spent
For our relatively short stay, I spent about $200. This includes souvenirs and food and even a couple new pairs of crazy socks – so I’d say definitely worth it!
Where have you been/would you like to see in Belfast?