Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ireland!!: Derry

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Friend T had to be dropped off at a bus station in Derry by 6pm, and we didn't want to have any chance of missing it, so we headed Derry-ward after our late lunch. T could only join us for the UK portions of the trip because she has no visa for EU travel, and after Derry we planned to cross back into the republic. Once in Derry, we were feeling a bit lost on the roads in the city center and ditched the car at the nearest parking lot before walking to the bus station, which was in a really depressed-looking mall called Quayside. (Put your personal pronunciations of this word in the comments!) She headed out on the Airporter bus back to Belfast, where she had a flight out very early the next morning. While we were all waiting for it, we ran into a girl who'd been on our Falls Road tour in Belfast!

After T left, we checked in at an apartment on Beechwood Avenue, west of downtown. We were a little early but someone was there to meet us before running out to bring in a whole bunch of provisions for breakfast, even though the place was self-catering and we didn't expect to have anything provided! She brought a loaf of bread, carton of milk, carton of orange juice, butter, margarine, marmelade, and Weetabix, in addition to the usual tea and coffee and fixings! The apartment holds three people (one double and one single room) and we got it for 55 pounds, which was the best deal of any place we stayed. I really can't say enough good things about it. It even had a bathtub.

After getting some great info from her on how to get around and places to eat (there's a 30% off dinner trend going around Derry at the moment - good to know!), we walked up to the walls of Derry via Free Derry Corner, which we had no idea was going to be so close to our apartment. We couldn't have avoided it if we tried. We saw a few murals, then climbed up a giant lawn to the city walls and walked halfway round the center on top of the wall. There was a great view of the neighborhoods west of center and some pretty buildings inside the wall too. We hadn't had high expectations at all for Derry, which was why we were only spending an evening there, but that might have been a mistake. It was really beautiful and everyone we encountered there was remarkably nice, especially for a city. (City people tend to not be so fond of tourists relative to more rural places.) It was probably one of the biggest and best surprises of the trip. It's not without its potential problems of course - on the radio as we pulled into the city they were talking about a grenade being thrown at a police officer the previous day.

Derry Mai 11

We had dinner at Fitzroy's, one of the places which was offering 30% off meals. It was here that we figured out what tobacco onions and Bombay potatoes are! The first are crispy fried onions, and the second are potatoes with a sort of creamy curry sauce on them. After dinner we wandered around looking for a place to have a drink. On the way we ran into a couple of guys testing a film they were making for some festival with a projector and one of the city walls. We saw a bunch of ladies in high heels and short tight dresses wandering into the bar we thought we'd go to and since we weren't looking to pick anyone up on a Tuesday night, changed our minds for something a bit more relaxed and divey, which we found at River Inn. Afterward we went to the bar to ask for the number of a cab service, and a guy sitting at the bar gave us the card for the one he drives for. Alas, the number didn't work for us and we ended up going to the diamond (local equivalent of the Marktplatz or town square) and hailing one. It was only 3 pounds back to the apartment! Take that, overpriced Heidelberg cabs! (I don't think you even can stand near a Heidelberg cab for the equivalent of 3 pounds...)

By the way, the Weetabix was actually pretty good! Next stop - county Donegal!

1 comment:

  1. Ha, I read the name Fitzroy the other day on the subway in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes", "Silver Blaze". ;-)

    Anyway, it is apparently worth a little visit to Ireland. Great write-ups, keep it going (and water our mouths!).

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