We arrived early to Belfast and met our driver for the day, Ronnie right at the pier at 8:00am. We had a nice itinerary planned with him. It was great being driven around in a Mercedes and getting a jump on the bus tours.
Our first stop was the Dark Hedges. This is a location used in Game of Thrones. Arya travels down this path leaving Kings Landing. It was raining pretty steady but we still walked from the top where he dropped us off to the bottom where he picked us up. Next stop was Ballintoy harbor, another filming location. We took some photos and then made our way to Giants Causeway.
Giants Causeway is a UNESCO heritage site. It is an area with unusual rock formations made by volcanos. There are flat, hexagonal shaped stones all alone the water. Some are pillars as well. There is no entry fee for the park but they do charge for a shuttle from the visitor center to the stones. We decided to walk as the rain was taking a break. The walk there is downhill and very scenic along tall cliffs. We didn’t venture out far on the rocks or climb any formations as we saw others doing. It seemed hazardous in dry conditions let alone the rainy day we were having. It started raining so Chris dug into his pockets to find enough Euro to take the shuttle back. Good choice in the rain plus the walk back is uphill!
We met our driver at the pick up spot and proceeded to make our way to Dunlunce Castle. This is another location used in Game of Thrones. It is the Greyjoy castle. There is an entry free to walk on the grounds and it is definitely worth it. It is amazing picturing how massive and stunning the castle was as you stand in the different ruins. There are gorgeous views of the shore as well. After our stroll, we went to the Wee Tea Cottage for a coffee. This is an adorable spot for a cup of tea or coffee. Quite a few were enjoying sipping tea and scones by the fireplace. We took ours to go and it hit the spot on the damp day. On our way back to Belfast, we drove past the golf course hosting the Open. It was interesting seeing the tents and stands set up. We took some photos for my dad who is a huge golf fan.
Ronnie dropped us off at the Titanic museum in Belfast. The Titanic was built on the site of the museum. You can see the original spot marked along the ground and walk the length of the ships outline. The museum is designed to look like a ship and is surrounded by water. We had some time before our entry at 1:30 so we went to one of the restaurants. We shared a kid’s portion of Irish stew and all ordered fish and chips. We all agreed that these were our favorite fish and chips so far. We were done eating right at our entry time. The exhibit’s main focus is on the building of Titanic. It was another interesting take on the tragic tale. We did not do the ride inside because the line was long but still thought the museum had plenty to see. After we saw the exhibits we walked to end of the pier inside the outlines marking the spot Titanic was built. Interesting and eerie to walk “inside” the outline. We took a cab from here back to the ship.
We were in time to have a drink and play afternoon trivia. Trivia is the main activity daily on this cruise as some days they offer it four times! After trivia, we had some dinner in the buffet and then went to play…surprise..trivia in the pub. It has been fun seeing some of the same teams and a bit of fun rivalry is developing.
After trivia, we went to Galaxy because the showband was performing dance music. Chris noticed a little bit of water on the dance floor so he cleaned it up. Later, the drummer, who is the band leader announced he was making the decision not to play dance music because the dome above the dance floor was leaking. The spot was getting bigger so they switched to some jazz. We went to visit the casino for a little while and when we returned they had placed wet floor signs of the floor. The band Sonata was playing dance tunes before their ABBA tribute. There was a man sitting near the dance floor who decided to remove the signs. He did so with quite a flourish performing his own dance moves and some people clapped. He placed the signs near the bar and then danced with his lady. We noticed quite the conversations happening between the sound guy, bartending staff and officers. A worker moved the signs to the back but later they reappeared on the dance floor. Well, “wet floor guy” once again decided the signs were not necessary. He once again decided to move them. He did it with the same embellishment and people clapped strangely. It reminded us of the clowns before a Cirque du Soliel show. Very bizarre. The leaking didn’t phase the packed dance floor for the ABBA tribute though. We met up with some new friends who told us about plaster falling in the dining room. The rains were causing quite a few leaky spots on board. The ship will be ready for dry dock this January for sure.
We ended the night by closing down Champagne Charlies. We met a wonderful bartender, Boyanna. She is a delight. We also enjoyed chatted with some fellow night owl passengers. Veronica met us there at her 1:00am curfew. Although we mostly eat plants, we decided tonight was a Blue Lagoon night for some wings. We ended the night with a few wings as a treat.
Tonight is a great night because the clocks go back one hour before our sea day. After these busy days, we are all ready for one!
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.