Sunday, August 18, 2013

UK 2013 - day 3: Londonderry - the walled city

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dean woke up with a headache, which made me worry we might be off to a bad day. Besides, it was cool and cloudy. So, Dean's headaches are usually day killers because they just don't go away. And the Irish people were telling us about this heat wave they had been having, and I thought that might have been the end of it.
But, hey, what do you know, it turned into bright sunny day, and Dean's headache medicine actually worked!!!!!

To make things better, after breakfast, I finally got a number for my cell phone, via customers service. That did sound like another good thing. Just that it wasn't, which is why I repeat, don't buy Orange/EE for your travel SIM card. Don't buy your travel SIM card anywhere other than the airport.

The night before Stanley suggested that we headed to the American Ulster Folk Park and the Migrational Studies Library, right next to it.
So our plan of action was:
Migrational Studies Library, then through the Sperrin Mountains to Londonderry. 

I had checked the travel guide for the Folk Park the night before. If I hadn't checked it, I'd start blaming myself, as usual. It said open daily. Well, surprise, surprise! As we got there, there was a sign saying they were closed on Mondays!
We were not the only tourists deceived by the wrong info - there were at least two other groups of people there who showed up for nothing.
So, yeah, call the place before you head there. The day of, a week before you travel, it doesn't matter. Just call before you head there.
But, if worst comes to worst, then just go hit your next spot. Don't do like I did when Mom took us to Rio and the MaracanĂ£ was closed for repairs and I put on a mean face for the rest of the day. To my defense, I was 12 ... and I was always a little bit of a brat and a fool. But, yeah, if there's no fixing for something, that means it is fixed. Move on!
So we headed straight to Londonderry, not wasting a single moment to think about it. I had a parking spot address from my 2011 planning, but it was a free parking thing and it was full. So we headed into the unknown world of unplanned car park search. We did a paid car park near the city wall. There are plenty of them and, as you head there, they display the number of slots available at any given moment (on an electronic panel).
We paid £4.50 for 5 hours. Not bad at all. It's more than we paid in Belfast, but this is Monday, not Saturday. There is a website where you can find car parks and prices.

Londonderry is the only fully walled city in the whole British Isles. We parked near the visitor center.
From there, we went on a walking tour for £4/person.
The guide walked us over the wall, and gave us the one thing you expect a paid guide to give you - history insights. Why is this the one thing? Because the sight-seeing, the walking , and the main historical outline you can do on your own, online - it is cheaper and more fun.

Lunch: a pub called The Bentley. Then we went for a second walk around the wall, this time on our own.
Guess what we found! A place called McCartney and Casey Solicitors. If you know me, you know why I care about that, and why I took a picture pointing to it.

Since Dean used my last Ibuprophen this morning, We stopped at Super Drug to buy medicine. This time we didn't buy a bag. We just put the stuff in my handbag instead.

Later on in our trip we would learn the in England and Scotland they don't charge you for bags. But we only learned that when we got to Lu's house in Liverpool. But here in Ireland, they charge you for bags. You can pay 5p for a bag. We learned that at Boots Belfast. Then the same happened at ASDA Cookstown, and at Tesco -a grocery store - later that same afternoon.

Oh, if you are the kind of person that keeps careful track of your expenses, like me, make sure you ask for your receipts.
Receipts is something you have to ask for here in the UK. Most places won't simply offer you one.

After the walk on the wall, we walked to the  Hands Across the Divide statue.

Back to the hotel, at around 6:30pm - we noticed that nothing here is open after 6:30 pm.  As a matter of fact,  places start closing at 5:30.

Pubs on the other hand stay open till very late - but pubs that don't serve any food. As a matter of fact, I wonder how they keep people drinking for so long without anything to eat.

As we got to our tavern, we got a message from Stanley Watt to meet him at 8 at the Church of Ireland, the Pomeroy parish. He had scheduled a meeting between us and the church person in charge of the church records. And those that went back to the 1800's. So guess what, we did find some info - like some birth records for Dean's great-great-grand-uncles and aunts.

After some nice chatting and researching, at around 10pm, Stanley led us to a Watt family., I was a bit freaked out of showing up at someone's house anytime after 8pm. Maybe the British don't care about silly things such as time. Or maybe it is an Irish thing. We chatted til around midnight, they kept a copy of my book, and, best thing, they fed us.

Today we made sure we were fast to follow Stanley. He doesn't wait. Ever. Today, he hadn't even closed the door and he was already on the move. Holy cow! If we were not right behind him - too bad. Is that a British thing as well? Or maybe an Irish thing?

Stanley made an interesting comment when telling us the immigration history - "the smart ones migrated to America." Does he really believe that or was he trying to be kind? Did the people that thought they could do something with their lives leave for America, because they knew that they could excel there? Our guide at the Londonderry city wall talked about all the immigrants that left from Ireland and placed and Irish pub in every corner of the world. There are also those who went to Liverpool and Glasgow in hopes to save some money and gain the world and just stayed there. That is why some Irish people claim that the Beatles are actually Irish. Hey, it makes sense. After all I have seen McCartney and Lennon business places around. McCartney is actually a Scottish name. So maybe, like the Watts, the McCartney came from Scotland, to Ireland, then to Liverpool. Just crazy suppositions, ok? Don't take my crazy genealogical logic a history. I really know nothing about the McCartney or the Lennon Families and their history.

Today's expenses:
The Kitchen Bar in Londonderry - £17.50(cash)
rest stop snack- £5.00(cash)
Superdrug - £3.80(cash) Cookstown
Superdrug - £3.98(cash)
tesco - £8.63(credit)
carpark Foley side - £4.50(cash)
Derry visitor and convention bureau - £5.00(cash)

No comments:

Post a Comment