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Adorable Chick

UK & IRELAND diary : Day 18 - 24th April 2017

Belfast is a major Port city & the capital of Northern Ireland, that still falls under the United Kingdom rule. People here have British Passports and the currency is officially the British pound. In fact Dublin & Belfast are in two different countries, though they stand on the same Island of Ireland. The city on the banks of the River Lagan. Settlements in the city have been found as early as the Bronze Age. For more than 30 years, this city was considered as one of the most dangerous one to live in. In this span, the city was under bombed attack at least 40000 times. During the 1800's the place was renowned for its thriving ship building Industry.

The current day's modernised Belfast, is absolutely safe. The city hosts HBO's famous GAME OF THRONES studio. A major part of the series was shot here. It is now an entertainment hub apart from its flourishing IT Industry and port.

Early that morning, our tour began in central Dublin City, at Hotel Gresham. Our WILD ROVER tour bus was right on schedule and we were excited about having another fabulous itinerary ahead. The bus passed loads of scenic landscapes, while moving towards Northern Ireland. In less than three hours we reach Belfast city. As we had an appropriate visa, under the British-Irish Visa scheme, we didn't need a separate visa to enter Northern Ireland. We breezed past many unique bridges and Landscapes, that made our journey quite exciting. We were able to sight the RISE SCULPTURE from a distance. It is said that the creation of this structure costed at least 400 thousand pounds.

Tidy Desk

It was this huge metallic ball, which was connected in an atomic fashion to an inner metallic ball that was smaller in size, that the one outside. On the way, the tour operators gave us a choice between the Titanic Belfast & Black Cab taxi tour. Two of us decided to go with the Titanic and the rest of them were happy to dig deep into the dark Belfast History, with the BLACK CAB TAXI TOUR. We soon reached the iconic TITANIC BELFAST. The participants of the taxi tour, made their way to the taxis. We continued with the Titanic museum. The outer structure looked similar to a ship, built in this fashion, to honour the legendary ship building industry of the city. The facade is predominantly covered in silver- aluminium, designed and polished, metal shards. It is said that there are around 3000 such shards in total on it. The shiny structure can be spotted easily from a distance.

This tourist attraction was opening in 2012. The building aims at narrating the complete story of the RMS TITANIC right from its inception to its sinking. The entire building has a series of nine galleries, spread across six floors, with various information boards explaining every minute detail possible, including the materials used in building this mighty ship, the companies involved in its building, the entire process, how it set sail. It also holds the actual audios, visual screens with narratives. Then there are surprise crane rides, The Titanic underwater - cinema show, cabins of the actual Titanic re-created, a replica of the Grand stairway in the main hall of the Titanic. It is said that the cost of this entire project was more than 100 million pounds and the area is bigger than the Belfast City Hall. It sits on an ideal location, 100 metres in front of where the ship's actual hull was constructed and launched. To the right of this building lies then office where the ship was designed. The ship had first set sail from the Victoria Channel , nearby.

The three hours we spent here, moving from room to room studying the making and functioning of this glorious ship . It felt like we were just brushing past the galleries. I was completely blown by the sheer treasure of information. I think another two days were much needed, to finish the entire circle and grasp it in entirety. The crane ride detailing the various granites and other materials used in building the ship was awesome. The screen visuals, gave us an actual feel of the ship. There were various audios of actual passengers available, that were recorded at the time when the ship was sinking. The cabins that were re-created , told a special story each.

We finally moved to the theatre to watch the story of the sinking ship and also got to see the where the actual ship lies today, under the deepest ocean. The real story can bring tears to one's eyes. What a grandeur of a ship and what a sad ending it had. The children were also kept engaged with an interesting activity. The reception desk handed over a worksheet to each kid at the starting of the tour, entrusting them with the job of finding the hidden dolls in different rooms, spread across the floors. They had to tick the relevant boxes on the sheet, once the spotted it. It was just sad that most rooms were dark and therefore the photographs we managed aren't many.

Overall, it was super awesome experience. We came down to the reception hall and stopped for some Coffee in the COSTA restaurant there. After the members of the Black Cab taxi tour returned, we made our way to our next destination. For further story read BALLINTOY.