I headed to the National Gallery first thing in the morning and spent a couple hours looking at the beautiful art work they have. The brilliant thing about the National Galleries in the UK is that they are free – they are all by donation. So, everyone is free to enjoy them and those who can afford to pay have the opportunity to do so. But, great art is accessible to everyone.
It was raining on and off all day, so I scrapped the planned hike up Arthur’s Seat, and instead just wandered through the city. There are so many closes here – little offshoots off the main street – that you can wander in and out of and just get lost in. While it was nice, I spent some time in the park, then went and watched a couple more shows that were around.
Needing a bit of a breather, I grabbed a cheap book (new books are on sale for really cheap here), found a spot in the pub and hung out and read for the evening. Sometimes you just need a lazy Sunday.
The next day was a day for goodbyes, for travel and for hello’s.
I grabbed an early train from Edinburgh to Stranraer on the west coast. I said goodbye to Scotland as I hopped on the ferry to Belfast. Most people would fly, but I love the idea of slow travel, and thanks to the rail & sail deals always available, it’s a great value.
I loved Scotland and had an amazing time. Although I only caught glimpses, and there is so much more to explore, I thoroughly enjoyed all my time and look forward to returning again in the near future. I had such a varied experience of people and places and history and feel that I really got to be there.
But it was time to wipe away the tears, and head to Ireland. To head to Belfast to see an old friend and meet a new friend, to the beauty of the Giant’s Causeway, to the history of Derry, to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher, to the trad music in all the pubs at night, to the bar that’s also a hardware store or shoe repair, the beauty of the landscape, and to the people. The magical, lyrical, kind people of Ireland whom I have missed.
My friends Attracta and Joe picked me up at the ferry terminal and thus began 3 days of unparalleled hospitality. I didn’t even have time to think of something and food, drink and travelling companion were already arranged. It is the best hotel I have ever stayed at!
We went to a great little Indian restaurant that they frequent, where we had good service, great food and just got a chance to hang out and catch up. It had been a number of years since I had lived in Dublin and spent time with Attracta, and I had never met her partner Joe. We spent hours recounting memories and remembering friends we have in common… A great first night in Ireland! I was home again.