English Adventures: Cambridge and Birmingham

Over the last week I’ve made two day trips to explore more of England. I went up to Cambridge with Sophia and Joe to visit Rhi, and also up to Birmingham to visit Elisa. 

Cambridge was a lovely, relaxing Sunday, including roast lunch, wandering, punting and beer. 

The day I picked to go to Birmingham was the day Storm Doris hit. Managed to avoid the rail chaos however almost got blown away. Again this was a pretty relaxed day of exploring a new city.

Here’s a selection of photos from my days out, enjoy!

Some fancy doors

Kings College, University of Cambridge 

Corpus Christi College

Kings College from the Cam

Swan buddy

St Johns College

Punting fun!

Bridge of Sighs

Duck friend

Birmingham Back to Backs

Birmingham Museum

Birmingham Town Hall

St Phillip’s Cathedral

Canal Boats

Canals!

Gin of course

Canal exploring

The best Chinese in Brum

Saint Martin in the Bullring


Commuter chaos post Storm Doris

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Belfast and Norn Iron

After several days of solo travel and reflection (read: Nigel no mates no more), it was time to meet up with Jess and Jeremy for Northern Ireland exploring, hostel styles. Sometimes I really think I am past hostels now, and I definitely felt this way given our below par hostel in Belfast. Never mind…

A sleep in and delicious brunch got us all sorted for a day of exploring. First we visited the old Cumlin Road Gaol complete with underground tunnel to the courthouse to prevent priosoners being assassinated before they stood trial. After ‘The Crum’ we made our way to the Titanic museum. This is an activity I would 100% recommend if you’re ever in Belfast. Not only did we learn about the history of the city but also that of the Titanic complete with ride! Next we wandered into the Cathedral quarter in town and enjoyed several drinks, dinner, and some fantastic live music.  

Saturday dawned freezing and windy which was perfect since we were off on our Game of Thrones tour. We visited several locations from filming near Belfast, including Melissandres cave, the rope bridge, the iron islands, Renly Baratheon’s camp and the Black Woods. Our tour even included a stop off at the Giants Causeway. That night we had dinner out and a few drinks, again while enjoying Belfasts fantastic live music scene. 

Sunday we checked out Belfast’s Georgian markets before doing a famous Black cab tour. These tours sometimes get a lot of flack for being bypassed, however our driver, although blatantly Protestant, seemed to present the facts of the conflict in a very honest and fair way. After the tour, we failed at getting the airport bus so we had to über to the airport. 

I assumed Belfast would be just another English city, however I was very wrong. It’s probably my favourite UK city after London, with its vibrant music and pub scene, and the locals were all so friendly. Every taxi/uber driver we had was hilarious, and they all had a different opinion on what we should be doing while in town. It really was quite funny. 

The Old Courthouse. Now derelict due to lack of developer funds

Inside the Crum

Outside the Jail

Looking pretty menacing 

Don’t let go Jack! We’re flying!

Cathedral quarter as the sun sets

Murals 

Belfast on a wall

Murals!

Best bar interiors at the Duke of York

Belfast Town Hall

Enroute to Melissandres Cave!

Game of Thrones tour excitement 

Way too excited about a rope bridge

We made it!

On the way back up!

The beautiful and rugged Nothern Irish coast

Getting a bit carried away in my Iron Islander get up

The Iron Islands *cough I mean Ballintoy

More stunning Coast line

Enroute to the Giants Causeway

Tourist pose

So much sea air in one week

Travel buddies!

The Black Woods


More Belfast murals on the Black Cab tour.

Dublin (and some big Cliffs)

In line with my becoming funemployed again, I decided to take a trip to Dublin for a few days before meeting friends in Belfast later in the week. 

I arrived in Dublin on a windy and rainy afternoon, and after checking into my AirBnB, made my way to the Guinness Storehouse, via Dublin Castle. What trip to Dublin would be complete without a trip to the Guinness factory to see how this stout is made and pouring your own pint to enjoy?

My second day in Dublin I enjoyed a sleep in and brunch and then just generally explored the city on foot. I visited the famous Cathedrals, Saint Stephen’s Green and Trinity College Dublin and its library. In the afternoon I joined a walking tour to learn more about the history of ‘The Troubles’, the uprising and the revolution. Next was a beer and whiskey tasting tour in the evening and then swiftly to bed.

After an early start on the Wednesday, I was on a bus, enroute to the Western edge of Europe. After a few hours we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher where I enjoyed walking along the cliffs in the sea air and might have taken a tumble in the mud. After the Cliffs we drove to Galway City via the Burren, before making out way back to Dublin in the evening. 

Thursday was my last day in Dublin, which I kicked off with a wander through the streets and some genealogy research at the National Library of Ireland. After lunch with a former colleague I headed up to Belfast via train to meet up with Jess and Jeremy. Interestingly, when the train crosses the Boarder, a siren goes off on the train!

Dublin Streets

Dublin Castle

Pouring my own Guinness

It’s true, Guinness is better in Dublin

Cliche Guinness factory photo

Ha’penny Bridge

St Patrick’s Cathedral

From the gardens

St Stephen’s Green

The Library at Trinity College Dublin where they keep the Book of Kells 

Brian Boru Harp

Trinity College Dublin

Garden of Remembrance 

Craft Beer Tasting

Bangers and Mash

Sunrise

The Cliffs of Moher

Mud…

Pretty happy being back by the sea

Rebel at heart

Battling the wind for a selfie

That’s better!

The Burren 

Grumpy skies and wintery light

First beach I’ve seen in a while

The Lunar landscape that is the Burren

Galway City

Irish Stew


The Famine memorial