Page 9 of Freedom 55 Travel Blog Posts

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London » Hackney Central August 12th 2013

So here we are, waking up this morning living in London for a couple of weeks in our first home exchange of our travels. We're in a three bedroom home in a row house in East Hackney. Really cute home, very comfortably and quite eclectic, hardwood throughout, nice enclosed backyard courtyard, two cats (Ed and Miss Kika). Ed is a short-hair ginger and white cat who loves attention but sleeps most of the day. Miss Kika is missing in action and we are hoping she appears before much longer. They have a magnetic collar activated cat door so are free to come and go so I guess Miss Kika is off on her own little vacation. Our hosts left us great notes and advice which we read over last night and again today, comparing with our ... read more
Broadway Market, Hackney
Canal walk in Hackney
G. Kelly Eel and Pie Shop

Europe » United Kingdom » Northern Ireland » County Antrim » Portrush August 11th 2013

Day 7 - Portrush We caught a train at 12:14 today from nearby Botanic station to Portrush. Just 11.50 GBP each for the slightly under 2 hour ride to a beautiful seaside holiday town. Kenny and Sara's house was just a short walk from the station and is a lovely 3 bedroom ocean-view home right by the beach in Portrush that they generously offered to us for a few days. We spent the afternoon walking around the west strand bay into the business core of Portrush and stopped at The Hidden Cove for coffee, tea and great desserts then later had a great and inexpensive supper at Jackman and Pye. Fish and Chips, Vegetarian Paella and the Mussels were all wonderful, mixed reviews of various salads, and I really enjoyed Profiteroles for dessert but varied opinions ... read more
Giant's Head Causeway World Heritage site near Portrush
Giant's Head Causeway
Dunluce Castle near Portrush

Fun day today in Belfast. Explored the Ulster Museum across from the hotel this morning; lots of history about "the troubles" and everything that led up to it right back to the 1200's. LOTS of resentment built up here for centuries! They had a very good display of paintings from Irish artists. Walked through the Botanic Garden after that, right next door, and explored the Palm greenhouse then the rest of the 20 acre park ending up in a small café near the hotel for lunch. Walked down to Queens University after that and toured the grounds where over 20,000 students register each year. Supper was at the "Bot" Botanic Inn, next door to the hotel. The big attraction there is a meal and a pint for only 5 pounds! I had a half rack of ... read more
Half rack of ribs at the Bot
Magners Pear Cider
Dessert at Maggie Mays

There are at least three "official" hop on - hop off city bus tours but the tickets for the red bus tour is good for 48 hours compared to only 24 on the other buses so we bought that this morning. We hopped off after just three stops at the Titanic museum. Much of the museum taught us about the economic history of Belfast and the importance that ship-building played to this area. The museum offered a variety of interactive displays and even a Disneyland-like ride through a ship-building experience. It was definitely worth the 14.75 GBP admission for the 2 to 3 hours. After touring the museum, we caught the bus back to downtown and had lunch at the Kitchen Bar. I had my BEST fish & chips so far and my new usual, a ... read more
Kitchen Bar Fish and Chips
The "Peace" Wall
Dinner at The Potted Hen

We travelled by train from Dublin to Belfast today; 2 hours and 7 minutes on the N. Ireland Translink. A very comfortable ride with food and beverage services, Wi-Fi on board (only worked for the first half hour though) and wonderfully pleasant staff. It was a beautiful ride along the coast most of the way with only three 5-minute stops at Drogheda, Dundalk and Newry before arriving at Belfast Central Station. Our hotel, the Wellington Park, was only a 5 minute, 4.30 GBP ride from the station. This hotel is a little more modern than the one in Dublin and a little cheaper. In fact, everything seems cheaper in Belfast. After arriving, we walked downtown towards City Hall and the tourist shopping district. It seemed that half of the apartments, store-fronts and offices were empty and ... read more
Watching soccer on the City Hall lawn.
Downtown Belfast
Queen's University near our hotel

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin » Clonskeagh August 3rd 2013

Busy day of sightseeing beginning by trying to get onto the Docklands Tour route of our Hop-on Hop-off bus. But even though the driver was leaving a little early, she would not break their rule of not opening the bus for new passengers after the door has been closed. VERY frustrating! So we took the same tour route as yesterday and got off at St. Stephen's Green and wandered around this beautiful park for a while. Very reminiscent of Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, BC. After this we crossed the street to the Shelbourne Hotel to view the room where the Constitution was signed (beautiful hotel and very interesting history). We walked over to Trinity Street and had a scone for lunch at Keoghs (yet another brilliant recommendation from Sinead and a neat place and great ... read more
Draft copy of the Constitution
Our view from our table at Keogh's for lunch.
Bray train station

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin » Clonskeagh August 2nd 2013

Toured around Dublin today on the Hop-on Hop-off bus. A 48 hour pass allows us to travel to most areas of the city and stop at whatever sites, restaurants, pubs, etc. that we want, dramatically cutting down on the walking. First stop, Trinity College and the Book of Kells. The most impressive thing here was the Long Room library; VERY Harry Potterish as you can see in the photos. The Avoca Café for lunch (thank you Sinead for that great recommendation) then off to the Guinness Storehouse to learn all about brewing this nectar of the Gods and of course to partake in the "free" pint they offer on their top floor with the fantastic view of the city. Lastly we stopped in at the Kilmainham Gaol to learn about some of Dublin's history of famine ... read more
Beshoff Fish and Chips
Former home of Arthur Guinness
Trinity College

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin August 1st 2013

Arrived safe and sound at 9:30AM in the OLDEST airplane that Air Canada owns. The movie was a 30 year-old cartoon on a screen at the front of the plane from a projection TV!!!! Taxi found our hotel no problem but of course we couldn't get in until 2:30PM so we checked our bags and wandered the city. What a beautiful, historical, old city and I think there are more pubs than all the pubs everywhere else in the world added together! Met up with our friends Damien and Sinead who took us on a little pub crawl. Had a GREAT time! We bought 48-hour hop on/hop off bus tour tickets that we plan to use tomorrow as well as checking out the 475 best places to see/eat/or drink that Damien and Sinead recommended tomorrow.... read more
Stained glass inside St. Ann's Church.
The Liffey River dividing Dublin betweeen North and South.

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