Friday, July 16, 2010

Epic UK Road Trip: Volume 6

We woke up early and caught the ferry from Troon (Scotland) to Larne (Northern Ireland). Taking a ferry in another country was a cool experience. First of all, it was a morning ferry, but that did not stop the passengers from enjoying some adult beverages in the bar - which I thought was funny and terrifically European. A group of men in the bar area (where we were also seated because there was a big bench seat on which we could nap) were obviously friends and all had moustaches. It was really funny and Collin actually took a MOVIE of them as well as some photos. hilarious. (See the Collin and Candice blog for the movie....)

But wow, am I getting off track! We landed in Larne in Northern Ireland, after leaving the Firth of Colin (in Scotland) and crossing the North Channel of the Irish Sea. Side note: Northern Ireland is a part of the UK, while the Republic of Ireland is its own country. However, because the UK and the Republic of Ireland are both part of the European Union, we were free to travel across all these countries without going through a passport checkpoint.

Leaving the Firth of Colin and headed into the Irish Sea

So we landed in Ireland, on the northeastern side of the island. And it was green and beautiful. Our plan was to meander along the Northern Irish coast, along the Causeway Coastal Road, stopping at things that we were interested in (like Giant's Causeway) and eventually end up at our hostel in Port Stewart, on the northwestern side of the island. This was really a great day, because of our ability to be flexible. As we drove along the coast road, we saw a sign for Glenariff Nature Reserve. Candice read to us about it from the "Ireland" book and it sounded awesome ... so we just drove up there and took a 1 1/2 mile hike to these waterfalls. It was beautiful!
someone had written "TIFF" into the shelter on our hike, so I was excited to pose with it

Matt, the photographer, at work. I love his bandana sticking out of his pocket.

Collin and Candice posing for a outerwear catalog.

The Waterfall Walk lived up to the hype

We wanted to capture the size of the waterfall, so made the boys pose with it.

The travelers at the bottom of the hike.

Later, the coast road turned inland a bit and so we detoured onto the Torr Road, which kept us closer to the coast and provided us with some awesome views of the pastures and the sea. I don't think I can put into words how much I loved our first experiences of Ireland. It was just a beautiful day, first of all, the sun was out and the sky was blue, and there was a constant wind from the sea (just like at home at my beach in LA!). The grass was green everywhere but there was hardly any houses or towns, it was just idyllic (not like LA).

beautiful views of the Irish Sea from the Torr Road.

Collin was super excited!

We were pretty excited too - the scenery was just breathtaking (not to mention how cute we were! LOL)

We all needed to get our pics taken with these beautiful vistas of Ireland.

On the drive, we went to Torr Head, and stood a mere 12 miles from Scotland! (Torr Head is the closest part of Ireland to Scotland) We stopped at a beach and later tried to cross the Carrick a Rede rope bridge (but it was closed by the time we got there). All the while, we just kept exclaiming over the beauty that was Ireland.

The travelers at Torr Head (just 12 miles from Scotland!)

And examply of why they call it "The Emerald Isle"

We had matching baseball hats - we're like the Bobsey Twins.

And I lost my heart.

We decided we'd better get a move on in order to get to the hostel, and we figured that we would just move some of our planned stuff for the day (that we didn't get to because of our meandering) to the next day and instead just go hang at the hostel and enjoy each others company.

One the way back to the hostel, Collin screeches to a stop on the highway.... then immediately reverses. He has found our version of ice cream heaven: Morelli's Ice Cream! We of course went inside and tried a few flavors before we ordered double scoops of delicious, fresh ice cream. What a great way to finish our drive!

Thank goodness this sign said OPEN!

Sad because her ice cream is gone.

Happy because it is so delicious!

Once we arrived at our hostel, we quickly arranged for us to have a 4-person room (with a bathroom  en suite!) and got comfortable. We spent the rest of the night sitting on the rocks on the shore and laughing together and then walking around Port Stewart. Great memories had by all that evening.

beautiful view from outside our hostel on the rocks.

I heart this picture of Matt - lets vote: don't you think it should be a profile pic!?!

When Collin and I hang out, he always makes these "Hmmmmm" faces.

It was pretty cold and windy there on the north channel - I was glad we had packed our rain jackets for wind protection!

Our view from the rocks. Tremendous.

Candice made me take this picture about 80 times to get the splash right so it deserves a spot in the blog.

Good friends.

Right here I think Collin looks like he's from 1978.

Another good one of Matt. This was probably right before he started laughing at me and Candice.

Not my fave picture, but one of my fave people.


Be careful what you do/say; its very likely Collin is filming it.

Walking around Port Stewart.

My walking buddy.

Sunset at Port Stewart.
We slept in the next day and then proceeded to adventurize Northern Ireland. Stories to come, and I do mean stories.