After spending 11 hours on a plane and over 3 hours on a coach, I arrived safely in South Wales, a town named Chepstow just over the river from England. The town itself is famous for it’s racetrack and is home to one of the oldest castles in Wales. After spending the night there we woke up at the crack of dawn to catch a short flight to Dublin (you can’t go wrong with a flight for 99p , gotta love Ryanair).
The weather was perfect in Ireland, sunny and warm but not too hot. The bus from the airport (5 euros each) took us to the main bus station and just steps away from our hotel. After exploring the city on foot we quickly discovered that , like London, it was a city full of tourists and foreigners. It is a bustling city , full of history and interesting landmarks as well as ‘the ‘spike’ that was the cities contribution to the millennium. Not surprisingly to anyone who knows me, had more than a peek in the shops. I love European cities with their shopping districts, imagine Robson street with no cars rather, old ladies selling fruit.
Deciding to venture out of the city on our second day we headed to the train station (also just minutes from our hotel) with the intent to head to a nearby town and walk along the cliffs to get a view of the city and the sea. An act of spontaneity lead us to hop a train to Northern Ireland instead.
Neither of us knew what to expect as pretty much all we knew about the area was from news reports growing up. The train ride along the coast was lovely and just over 2 hours later we were in Belfast. Leaving the train station we ventured into the city and wandered again. We came across some interesting buildings and monuments, including the Titanic memorial, picked up some souvenirs and enjoyed a nice lunch. Seeing as Dublin is reportedly the second most expensive city in Europe , it was a nice break on the wallet. Other than some graffiti on a few walls we didn’t see any indication of the north’s past troubles and didn’t feel unsafe walking about. Admittedly I don’t know a lot about the history or the conflicts but from what I hear it is vastly different these days as scenes of armed soldiers walking the streets used to be the norm.
That afternoon we hoped the train back to Dublin where we spent another night before heading back to Wales the following morning.
Wales post to follow…. stay tuned.