I still owe you Londonderry and driving to Belfast, but that will be my last post that I will work on next, but first again with a video is my Titanic Day.
I walked up to the train station in 10 minutes, allowing 30 minutes to get there (I now cannot get enough train travel). NI Railway is fantastic to travel anywhere in Northern Island, and I could have today all day for 6.50 pounds – on Sunday that is what you pay for unlimited travel (unless the fare to where you want to go is less). When I took the train yesterday fares are 1/3 off, if departing after 9:30, but today I traveled before 9 to make the 10AM opening for Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic Visitor Experience which opened on 31 March. Tickets have to be purchased/reserved well in advance, and my hostess, Pauline, at Hargreaves House is so gracious and caring that she made my reservation awhile back for the exhibition as well as my tour with Susie Millar of Titanic Tours Belfast who is the great grand-daughter of a Titanic crew member that was lost with the Titanic.
TITANIC BELFAST is in the shipyard area, which now named Titanic Quarter is undergoing a wonderful redevelopment for offices, residences, entertainment complex and the like. This effort is similar to what I have seen with US Navy bases that have closed through the US. The exhibit is well done and tells a progressive history of Belfast developing its industries, the building of the ship and its launching and fitting out, followed by the maiden voyage, sinking and the aftermath. The exhibit concluded with myths and legends and then a movie of the ship and debris field. My only disappointment was the lack of actual objects from the ship, but at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, that I spent almost 3 hours at Friday afternoon, there is a fine exhibit with recovered items, and extensive ephemera of White Star Line and the building of the ships and life on ocean liners – just the “old stuff” that I enjoy.
I videoed the last two thirds of one of the most fascinating things I saw at TITANIC BELFAST to share below (expand to full screen) which is a panoramic recreation moving up from the engine room (not shown) through a dining salon to the grand staircase ending at the bridge (sorry again for the watermark on the image – I will buy the software).
I spent 2 ¼ hours in the exhibition, but if I had not finished another book on the Titanic before I left I would have had to spend more time. I then had a nice lunch there and met Susie to tour with her and a couple from Australia. The insights she provided on her family, life for the shipyard workers, and the like comes from her extensive time researching and hearing the stories and her involvement with the Titanic Society. So, below are a few images from her tour that I have captioned.
I then travelled back to Bangor and walked to the Bangor Castle, had a few moments in the museum before it closed and then strolled through the extensive gardens at the Castle and had an ice cream. Rick Steves was correct in saying that Bangor is the place to stay when experiencing the Belfast area, and I highly recommend the same. I will post this, have some dinner, and then work on my last post filling in the holes from Thursday and Friday. Then it is time to repack my bags and get ready to leave in the morning. I love travelling, and I love being home too. I am ready to get home. Catch you again later, yours, RAY