I've been mulling over the title of this post for a while, and I can't help but see the irony in it. I had a fairly unlucky time in Belfast, but in some ways, I had a truly incredible time as well. As for the irony, well you'll understand that in a bit. I figured the best way to tell my tales from across the Irish sea would be to tell them like a story, maybe then you'll be able to understand the pure madness of it all.
Last Thursday, the 11th of September (yes, we flew on 9/11), both Emily and myself got up at the crack of dawn to make our 8-something-am flight, and from the moment I woke up I knew I did not feel good at all. Nevertheless we persevered to the station, and proceeded to get the train to Southampton airport to catch our flight. Emily had an asthma attack on the train, whilst I sat there trying not to be sick on her. The poor woman sat across from us looked as if she wasn't sure if she should be concerned or fed up with the two broken girls with a huge pink suitcase sat opposite her. To brush over the rest of the morning, Emily recovered whilst I was sick at the airport, then our flight was delayed by around 45 minutes. We eventually got the plane, and made our way to Ireland, convinced that as far as drama goes, we'd already had our fair share of it, and that things could only get better.
Once we landed, we found our way into a taxi, and headed for the city centre well aware that we couldn't check in for another two hours. Whilst Emily was prepared to wonder around Belfast with suitcases in tow, I felt as if I was ready to find the nearest bench, curl up in a ball, and patiently wait for death. We called the hotel, who said we could come and leave our bags there, but when we arrived the wonderful lady on the desk said we could have a room. What a babe. And thank god we did, because as soon as we got in the room, I was sick again, then curled up in bed with a fever for the next six hours. So far, so bad.
Six hours in bed was enough for me, and I was bloody bored. And hungry. I was genuinely running on nothing, so we ventured out and had a KFC. Obviously the only choice of meal for a recovering sick traveller.
Friday morning I felt considerably better, which was just as well because we'd booked a coach trip to Giants Causeway. I felt almost like a pilgrimage for anyone visiting Northern Ireland, and we couldn't come all this way and not go there. We stopped off at a few castles along the route for some photo opportunities, as well as at Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. It's a really old rope bridge which you can walk across, after the 1K trek from the car park. So we walked a kilometre, I crossed the bridge onto the island of nothing whilst a vertigo-suffering Emily waited for me on the other side, before we trekked another kilometre back. Not bad for a girl who'd spent 6 hours throwing up and sweating in bed the day before. I bought a certificate saying I crossed the bridge (I was proud of managing it the way I was feeling), and a really cute Irish guy said my name (which I totally wanted to record but that would've just been a bit creepy).
We stopped off for lunch at a Whisky distillery, called Bushmills. I've never drank whisky in my life, and the bar was free, so Emily and I managed to blag a shot of whisky for lunch. It wasn't too bad, initially I coughed and thought it tasted a bit like cough mixture, so I necked it, and that seemed to do just fine for me.
Giants Causeway was amazing. It was so beautiful, and you were allowed to climb all over it. We got so many wonderful pictures, and I climbed this really tall stack and nearly fell on my arse straight back down again. I would completely recommend a visit to anyone going to Northern Island, it really isn't that far away from Belfast, probably about an hours drive, but it really is such a wonder. The visitor centre there is pretty good as well, really interesting with all the old myths and tales about giants as to why it's there. Emily posed with a fake shark and we laughed about a definition of a rock, which sounded like the worst chat up line ever.
Friday night, we were on a roll. Not even tired, we glammed up ,well, we got changed and tried to look a little less like we'd spent 10 hours on a coach tour, and went out for dinner and drinks. It was my first ever time in Frankie & Benny's and I had a super lush cocktail called P.S I Love You, fitting as that was the inspiration for booking the trip, whilst Emily picked a Long Island Ice Tea. We then decided to try a bar that had really good reviews online, so we tracked it down and headed in. The bouncer stopped us, and asked for ID. He said we needed to be 21, but he let us in anyway. Shame the barman didn't feel the same when he said we weren't old enough and asked us to leave. Completely ridiculous. Officially the first time I've ever been asked to leave a bar before. So we headed round to another bar, and walked straight in, no ID or anything. We stuck with boring old double vodka and coke, which came to £8.40 each! We had one, decided not to waste our money on another, and called it a night.
Saturday morning, and I felt like shit on a stick. But still, I dragged my corpse out of bed, ate a tonne of bacon, and we headed out. Before we left England, Emily and I had a sneaky plan which we didn't tell anyone about, just in case it didn't pull through. We both hoped to get a tattoo each whilst in Belfast, and today was the day. We found a really amazing place called Skin Works online, and went in. They booked us for the afternoon, leaving us a little time to explore and shop before we got inked. Emily went first, and she kept a really stern face on, saying how everything was fine and that it only felt like a scratch. Lying bitch. My turn came around, and as soon as he began, it was so painful, maybe even the most painful thing I've ever done. I'm terrible as I can't hide expressions on my face, so I was gurning for England for the whole 10 minutes whilst he was repeatedly stabbing a needle into my foot in the shape of a four leaf clover. (See, there's the irony, I wasn't very lucky yet I got a four leaf clover tattoo - one of the ultimate symbols of luck!) Afterwards Emily confessed how painful she felt it, but that she knew if she said it, I would chicken out. She even told me how she felt the needle 'twang a vein' in her wrist...
(Mine is the four leaf clover on my foot, and Emily's is the wings on her wrist)
We rewarded ourselves with a good sit down and some Come Dine With Me in the hotel room, before going out to the highlight dinner of the week. We'd found this place called The Dirty Onion online, and upstairs it has a Brazilian chicken rotisserie. Being called The Dirty Onion, we wrongly made the assumption it would be a pretty casual chilled place, but no, it was full of people in their dressiest outfits, killer heels and fanciest jewellery. We definitely looked like we'd walked out of the orphanage in Annie in comparison. The chicken was amazing, but I started to feel really ill again. I couldn't swallow, it was like my throat was closing, and my hearing was getting worse and worse as I was getting really light headed. Concerned, Emily dragged me back to the hotel and got the reception to find the number for an out of hours doctor. I ended up in quite possibly the scariest doctors surgery in the world. You had to buzz in and out, and then wait in what looked like a prison waiting room. I got a wonderful dose of pills to make me feel better though.
With money running out, and me still feeling pretty rubbish, we basically spent the whole of Sunday in bed watching TV. We did venture out so I could pick up a prescription for some more lovely pills, and we went to Tesco and bought an amazing feast of crisps and pastry goods. We also bought Ben & Jerry's, and well, spoons to eat it with. We spent the afternoon sat in bed eating ice cream watching Cats & Dogs. Bliss. In the end, we decided to go to the cinema just so we could do something, so we went to go see Lets Be Cops, which we wanted to see for ages. It was hilarious, go see it!
There's really not much we could say about Monday. We packed and left, and had one last wonder around the city centre before concluding that we were too poor to shop, and too tired to walk anymore. So we called it quits, and headed for the airport.
So my five days in Belfast didn't exactly go to plan. I didn't get to go to any museums because we didn't have the time. We didn't get to drink very much at all. And I certainly didn't meet the Irish man of my dreams. However, I did eat a lot of chicken, go to a creepy hospital, see the Giants Causeway and, as my dad put it, escaped the country to get a tattoo. So you could say, in some ways, I had a much weirder and unexpectedly better time than I could've planned. Here's a picture of me with a big fish, which I think sums up the pure randomness of the entire trip.
I'll be going back to tick off everything I didn't do this time around, especially continuing my search for Mr. Right. (That makes me sound like a middle aged woman on the prowl, I'm not proud of writing that.)
Much love ♥