CAPTAIN’S LOG Day 51 with my husband. I love the guy but we are both getting sick of one another. I’m tired of his spreadsheets, maps, planning and following behind him. We refer to him as the “Line Leader” because he has an amazing sense of direction and even if he doesn’t know where he is going he fakes it really well. I long to spend time with friends or strangers. Having a conversation with anyone else is very appealing to both of us. We boarded a the Carribean Princess for a twelve day British Isles cruise. The cruise starts and returns to Southhampton. We took the train and were happy to occupy ourselves with wifi. It amazes me how much luggage people take with them. People were taking up seats on the train with their luggage, while others were sitting on the floor. Take less stuff people!
The Princess ship is relatively large, about 2500 people and the crew and passengers are definitely a great distraction. I was delighted to unpack one time, finally! This will be the last time we need to unpack until we get home!
We have been lucky enough to meet so many new and interesting people on the ship and at all of the ports. Our first stop was Guernsey, part of the Channel Isltands. It was so pretty with pedestrian streets filled with flowers and lovely gardens all around. In Guernsey they have their own currency. They accept British pounds, but will give you the Guernsey currency, for us it is now a souvenir.
Our next stop was Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. This was a vibrant city with a center town designed after Las Ramblas in Barcelona. We happened upon a walking tour with an amazing guide. I learned so much about all of the struggles of the Irish people and how they persevered through foreign conquest, persecution, famine, and near genocide. We were entertained in the streets and pubs and were lucky enough again to have good weather. In Ireland that basically means you avoid the heavy rain, but put up with overcast skies and some “soft rain”.
Dublin was the next port. I had thrown my back out during the night and could barely move from the pain. Even though I might be a little tired of my husband’s company, I have always known that I could count on him to help me. He mugged one of the bartenders to get me some ice at 2am and did everything in his power to help with my pain. We decided to take it easy in Dublin, but because it is one of my favorite cities, I wasn’t going to miss it. We boarded a Hop on Hop off Bus armed with ibuprofen and a morning Bailey’s and cappuccino. One of the first stops was the Temple Bar district. We got off the bus in this vibrant area and never boarded it again. We visited several pubs all with great music, beer and interesting company. One of our last stops was the oldest pub in Ireland, Brazen Head established 1198. We ended up walking about 18,000 steps and my back felt a little bit better with each pint of hard cider I enjoyed.
An old friend of mine is living in Belfast and offered to meet us at the port and show us around the area. We visited areas of Belfast with cathedrals, gorgeous murals, a beach town where we had a lovely outdoor lunch of mussels and fish and chips, Bushmills whiskey distillery, Portrush Golf Course, and Giant’s Causeway. It was so great to reconnect with an old friend and to see so much of Northern Ireland. While hiking in Giant’s Causeway you are reminded how small we are in comparison to Mother Earth.
Our next stop was Glasgow, Scottland. The weather did not hold out for the entire day, there were intermittent rain showers followed by some sunny skies. In one of the pubs we spoke to a local guy who apologized for the weather. The people have been so friendly and the shopping has been good as well with nice pedestrian shopping areas in town. All of the museums in Glasgow are free and we decided to visit the Museum of Modern Art. I am a fan of modern art, but this large and beautiful building was nearly empty of some floors. Since it is such a beautiful space, it was a waste to not have more art occupy the floors. The favorite was the horse and rider at the entrance to the museum.
We are in Inverness, near Loch Ness. We did not succumb to the publicity of Loch Ness Monster. Instead we enjoyed the towns of Invergorden and Inverness. We visited the castle, walked along River Ness and enjoyed a couple of pints in town. Although I may complain about my husband, after thirty four years I know there is no one in this world I would rather spend time with.