Monday, October 27, 2014

Northern Ireland: Questions and Answers

Here are my questions and answers about Northern Ireland:

Where did we go?
We went to Derry and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.

Where is it and how did we get there?
Derry and Belfast are in Northern Ireland. Jake flew an hour and ten minutes from Stockholm to Copenhagen and met Dave for the last flight from Copenhagen to Dublin which was an hour and fifteen minutes. I had a direct flight from Stockholm to Dublin and it was two hours and forty five minutes.

The green markers are the cities we flew in and out of and the red markers are Derry and Belfast.

How long were we there?
The guys were there for about 4.5 days and I was there about 3.5 days.

What language do they speak?
They have three official languages: English, Irish and Ulster Scots. We pretty much only heard English.

What currency do they use?
The use pounds like in other parts of the United Kingdom but some of their money has pictures related to Northern Ireland. It was hard going from Dublin where we paid in Euros to then cross over and start paying in pounds.

Were things expensive?
Things weren't very expensive, in my opinion. Since we live in Stockholm and that is my reference point it might be a little skewed since the cost of living in Stockholm is about one and a half or two times as expensive compared to Olathe, Kansas. Overall I didn't think Northern Ireland was that expensive.

Would we be able to live there for a year?
I don't think I could live there for a year, which isn't the answer I would have thought before out trip. We really enjoyed (The Republic of) Ireland but Northern Ireland just had a different feel. It seemed more tense, less friendly and just not really a place I'd like to live. I think the rainy weather would wear on me like it would in Ireland but the tension in the country just didn't sit well with me.

What was most memorable thing about the trip?
I think the most memorable thing was our coastal drive in practically perfect weather. Every time we turned around we saw something that took our breath away. I also enjoyed being able to drive again! I was supposed to drive when we went to Switzerland but I forgot my driver's license. This time I remembered and it was the first time I had driven since April!

What was the food like?
The food was good. I was expecting it to be a lot like the food we had in Ireland and it was but I felt like it was harder to find "Irish" food this time around. When we visited Ireland I really enjoyed the Irish Cottage Pie and I wasn't able to find that this time. I did have Steak and Guinness Pie which was really good.

Jake had a traditional Irish breakfast in Derry and enjoyed it.

Least favorite food?
Mushy peas. I have no idea why anyone would think that is a good idea. I'm a pretty big texture person so if the texture isn't right I can't eat it and mushy peas falls into the "can't handle the texture" category.

Favorite food?
My favorite food on this trip was the Steak and Guinness Pie although I wish I would have had another chance at Irish Cottage Pie.

Would we want to go back?
I'm not sure I need to go back to Northern Ireland. I would go back to Ireland for sure and there are still some places Jake wants to visit in Ireland but I think I'm good with Northern Ireland, especially Belfast. I wasn't very impressed with Belfast. I didn't feel like there was much to see or do and it just put off a bad vibe. I'm sure there are other parts of Northern Ireland that are great but I have other places I'd rather see before we head back there.

What was I most surprised by?I was surprised by how different Northern Ireland felt from Ireland. I figured it would be almost the same and it was not. I didn't expect to still feel the tension of The Troubles which happened over 15 years ago.

Did we do anything we thought we wouldn't do?
I didn't think we would have good weather during our trip but especially on our scenic drive day which means we probably would have skipped some of our stops. Once our trip was close enough that we could check the weather we were pretty bummed at the forecast but it turned out to be pretty nice. We learned the hard way last time that a scenic drive in bad weather is not worth it.

What did I learn about myself on this trip?
I learned that in some groups I am a fun sucker but with other groups of people I am a fun enjoyer (or a fun bringer, depending on my mood) and somehow I need to figure out how to be a fun enjoyer most of the time!

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