today was one for comparisons. after exploring the city centre this morning and popping in to the St. George’s Market, i took the bus out to Milltown Cemetery in the Falls Road, or the heart of Republican West Belfast. there is a memorial to volunteers who have died in action, accidentally, however, as well as one to the people who died in 1981 while on hunger strike protesting the fact the classification as ‘terrorists’ rather than political prisoners. later in the day, i took a bus up Shankill Road, which is the heart of Loyalist West Belfast. murals all over the place in both areas, which are divided by a metal fence called the ‘Peace Wall.’ also took a rather comprehensive walking tour of historic Belfast.
and now i’m out of internet time.
more to come … eventually. 🙂
survived my flights. the guy sitting next to me on the flight from ORD to FRA was Muslim and took time out and prayed twice during the flight. the Frankfort airport was unlike anything I’ve experienced in Europe before, but maybe I just don’t travel enough in Europe (many of the gates are just ‘gateways’ and you take a shuttle out on the tarmac to actually board the plane — more like what I experienced traveling to Venezuela).
took an earlier bus to Belfast, so I walked around the city centre while waiting to meet up with Nico. the City Hall is still under renovation, so there won’t be a tour tomorrow. the bus centre is behind the Hotel Europa, which is/was the most bombed hotel/building (the language is upstairs at the moment) in Europe during the Troubles. Wouldn’t necessarily know it now, though I didn’t go inside. the two French girls staying in the same room as me say that central Belfast is pretty standard as far as city centers go, and it’s once you get out west of the city that things get more interesting — Shankill Road, Sandy Row, etc. saw one Loyalist mural near the bus depot, and i’m planning to head out to Falls Road for a bit tomorrow.
went to the bus centre to meet up with Nico at the time the bus i was *supposed* to be on got in. waited about 50 minutes but she didn’t come, or i didn’t see her. caught a cab down here and booked a bed. the place is clean, but more ‘hotel-y’ than ‘hostel-y’, as the French girls observed. they spent 12 days traveling from Derry to Belfast by thumb and it sounds like they had a great time. not necessarily something that i’d ever want to do, but all the positive things they had to say about all the people they’ve met give me cause to think this will be a great two weeks.
hasta … ?
everything’s packed, the trash has been taken out, the dishes are all washed, all the power strips switched off and Allie will be by in just a bit to pick me up. this time tomorrow i will be in Belfast with Nicolette!
dunno if i’ll have time or inclination to post while i’m traveling … but in the interest of keeping those interested parties informed, i thought i’d give a stab at one of these for my travels. at the very least, look forward to an overview and pics once i’m back stateside.
hope you enjoy!