We Made It!

May 2, 2018

What time zone are we in…?

After a very long travel day we finally made it to Belfast!  The flight across the pond was smooth and seemed relatively short for the actual 9 hours that it was.  Our First Class cabin was fully booked and we remarked later that service was not actually “up to par.”  I think we have been spoiled by our previous trip when we were only 2 of about 6 passengers with twice the crew.  Nonetheless, we sucked it up, put on our jammies, drank champagne, ate dinner, popped Melatonin and passed out for most of the flight.

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Since our next flight (to Belfast) was ticketed separately, we have to collect our bags, change terminals, check in for that flight and go through security again.  Rich says that is because this is not a “connecting flight” but rather a “disconnected flight.”  No big deal – we have a rather long (5 hour) layover in Heathrow.  Besides, the Concorde Room awaits us and rewards us for our efforts.

In the Concorde Room we claim our turf and settle in.  A valiant effort is made to partake of champagne, but we are both really not in the mood.  Napping sounds like a better idea.  Rich is fading – he thinks he “overdosed” on the Melotonin.  He usually takes 1 when flying and claims that I talked him into 2.

Fortunately, unbeknownst to Rich, I managed to secure each of us a complimentary massage in the attached Elemis Spa.  Even though the treatments were far too short (15 min) they were well received. However, Rich is still a walking zombie.  I feel fine. (later it was determined that perhaps his condition is due to the lack of coffee this morning.  He chose a pot of tea for breakfast – we are in the UK after all.)

We drag ourselves out of the lounge and into the terminal to catch our 1 hour flight to Belfast.  Both of us conk out on the plane.

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Soon the sea disappears and the green of Northern Ireland shows us out the window.  Looks like we have made it.  Supposedly it is rainy and cold, but may break this weekend for some sun.

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An easy, short (and cheap) taxi ride later we are at our AirBnb in the Gallery building right in the middle of Belfast.  Our host’s fiance – Thom – meets us at the cute, clean apartment and we start to settle in. This place looks perfect for a couple of days in the city.

We are smack in the middle of the bustling city but fortunately the heavy duty windows shut out most of the street noise directly below our digs.  Yep – it is raining.

By now it is around 7:30 pm and the urge to nap is nagging at us.  We know that if we go to sleep now we will be truly messed up and won’t sleep tonight so we persevere telling ourselves that we will have an early night.  We can’t come here and not check out the pub scene for our first pint of Guiness, can we?

Our Airbnb host has made some recommendations for us based on my asking her for a local pub with live music.  She steered us to Kelly’s Cellars and we hit the pavement.  We are armed with our trusty Google Maps that have been previously downloaded onto my phone.  We can use them offline without touching our precious data minutes.  Rich assumes navigation duties.

It is still very light outside (I think sunset is around 9:30).  The rain has subsided for our short walk and it is actually not too cold.  On the way to Kelly’s we pass the lovely City Hall building that looks especially good in the early evening light.

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Rich directs us easily right to Kelly’s.  This pub is Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pub – built in 1720! When we walk in we can tell that this is exactly what we were looking for.  The place is buzzing and there is a roaring fire in the back room.  Two pints of Guiness are procured from the bairmaid and we make our way to find a spot to sit.

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When we arrived I was a little disappointed that there was no live music.  However within the next 30 minutes a rag-tag group of musicians sitting at a corner table began to play traditional Irish music much to our delight. The group of musicians grew from several to about 10 or more during the time we were there.

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Small beginnings, but grew larger (and many more Guiness pints on their table as the evening wore on!)

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We enjoyed the music so much that we had to order second pints…

Our energy started to wane and it was getting on to 11:00 (gasp) so we bid Kelly’s goodnight and headed for home. On the way out we had passed a Nando’s Perri Perri Chicken place and took note of it.  We remember when our South African friend (Brian) told us about Nando’s.  We have never tried it.  Rich was on the verge of having a chicken fit.  Let’s stop in and get a wing.

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Nando’s

Just as we opened Nando’s door we were greeted by an employee who said they were closed.  Bummer.  Now we BOTH want chicken!  A bit further down the street we see “Chikn-Likn.”  Closed.

Something must be done.  There is a Tesco Express (like a QT) directly across from our apartment.  We decide to go in and see if there is anything that will satisfy.  Things are looking bleak until we spy these:

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Yes.  They are what you think they are – Roast Chicken flavored potato chips.  Yes. We bought them (wouldn’t you?).  Yes.  They actually were GOOD!

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Chicken Fit – averted

Chips were munched and sleep awaited.  No specific plans for tomorrow.  We will see how we feel and decide what to do in the morning.

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