To really experience Ireland in it's entirety a trip to Belfast is a must.
Approaching the city a feeling of unrest lingured. I was wondering if the city's tumultuous past had truly subsided. The motor coach, undaunted, rolled into the city centre. My first impression, surprisingly, was that this is a happening place. The city has great energy. No being dower. Words like alive, active, safe were much more accurate. The city does not dwell on it's past. Rather it felt as though the city is looking to a vibrant future. The city boasts three universities and is one of the main employers in the InformationTechnology sector. Known for it's ship building. Most famously, the ill fated Titanic was built here. Packed with history, culture and great food my visit to Belfast was thoroughly enjoyable. If you should make it here be sure to visit the Crown Bar, the oldest standing bar. Quite unique.
The strong breeze rustled the light jacket I was wearing. The audio being the backdrop to the outstanding view I was immersing myself in.
The Cliffs of Moher are spectacular. 214 metres at their highest point. Home to thousands of nesting birds. The misty air had my thoughts drawn towards the sea below. Limestone and shale exposed to the constant pounding of the rolling ocean. I am not crazy about heights. What a long way to fall. The nearer I came to the edge the more insecure I felt. A nasty thought of the ground giving way fluttered about in my mind. Off to my right O'Brien's Tower proudly stood at the cliffs highest point. It's relavence dwarfed by the presence of the cliffs. Thrilling.
Having the vast visitors' centre built into the hill at the top of the cliffs adds to the site's allure.
Ireland's Myths and Legends
Imagine the heavy footfalls of an enraged Finn McCool as he tossed chucks of the Antrim Coast into the ocean. Scottish giant Benandonner is threatenting Ireland and Finn McCool is going to have nothing of it. A bridge to Scotland is to be built to transport Finn McCool to defeat the Scottish ogre. Irish legend would have you believe this to be true. 40,000 columns placed in thought provoking order. The orderly roughness of the causeway is a natural wonder. For lack of a more sophistocated term I'll suffice it to say it is 'cool'. The flatness of the stones made me want to skip across them as a child would to get across a steam.
At 9 pm the captain had the mooring lines of the River Ship Beatrice released. We were going to see Budapest at night.
The evening weather was absolutely perfect. Warm, slight breeze, the moon going in and out of view as light clouds passed by.
The lights on the bridges, spot lights highlighting the monuments and buildings along the shorelines took our breath away.
Then came the massive parliament building. Largest building in Hungary and the tallest in Budapest. What a spectacular sight at night. Wow! The number of lights not only lit up the buidings, they lit up the sky!!
This trip up and then back down the Danube was most assuredly the icing on the cake of a truly unforgettable trip.
My introduction to Antonio Gaudi.
Re-visiting Spain is now firmly on my must do list. I had no idea the impact my visit to Barcelona would have on me. Of special note was my introduction to Antonio Gaudi, a Spanish Catalan architect.
A fabulous tour of the Sagrada Familia and an afternoon spent at Park Güell had me marveling at the accmplishments of the architect.
Gaudi incorporated his passion for nature and religion in his architecture. I am not, by a long shot, a guru of architectural design but I can now recognize the work of Antonio Gaudi. His work is uniquely distinct. It is his passion for nature that has his work flow as a paint brush would traverse across a canvas.
As I learned more about him I found that his hands and mind were never idle. He worked tirelessly. Seven of his works have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.