After a brief stop at Monstraboice (sp?) high crosses and graveyard, we drove on to Belfast to get some money and lunch before our Titanic visit. Potato wedges were nice, but the large cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso really did the trick for me. My eyes are now open and I’m no longer nodding off on the bus.

We ran into a bit of a snag with the wee credit card machine at the Queens Cafe. This held us up a bit more from getting back on our bus to make our way to our 2pm Titanic reservation. But I covered a few lunches with cash so that we could hurry up paying for the girls’ meals. Note to self….recover the £24 at some point.

The Titantic exhibition is amazing, though, it is also a two hour long vertigo episode. There are a least five storeys of various stages of the Titanic story from the design, the build, the outfitting of interior luxury, to the launch, and of course the sinking. As best I can tell some levels are on the half-storey, and makes for an ambitious engagement. I enourage you to find a map of the building online and try to wrap your head around it! As a group we tend to gravitate toward the screens. Movie-like portions of the exhibit catch our American attention much more quickly and consistently than other parts that are more reading intensive. Shocking! 🙂

All of us are showing signs of jet lag (it is surprisingly real and and the sensation surreal…I almost feel drunk!) and finding any opportunity for rest. Seating here is sparse, so we are taking advantage of some spare floor space. In order to type this, I, too, must cop a squat on some granite floor, with a much appreciated wall for back support (the wall looks like a ship’s hull).

If I were an interior designer, I would garner great inspiration from this. Oh, let’s face it, I’m already thinking of clever appointments for the new house. 🙂 in case I can’t convince my husband of some eclectic steel and natural oak, I did pick up a postcard suitable for framing!

The wind in Belfast is a force to be reckoned with. Breathtaking. Really. Sucked the air right out of my lungs. So far, it has rained on us twice (though not a downpour, enough to make me appreciate this new raincoat). Best trip purchase ever!

On a recent smoke break, I asked an employee here where to put my butt…. (ah-hem) He told me, “we bum out right here”. Bum always sounds nicer than butt. Further, I enjoy verbing nouns. Like I just did.

After the Titanic museum, Jim reviewed the itinerary with out coach driver, Noel, who was incidentally born on Christmas eve. Noel is a great guy, and I appreciated his commentary as we drove through the countryside from Dublin to Belfast…except his soothing, melodic voice made it difficult not to slip into a nod. I struggled to remain awake to see more Irish cows and farm houses. Oh! Almost all of the roofs on buildings around here are tile or slate. Tim and I are looking forward to a new roof on our house. Asphalt dimensional shingles and labor will run us just over 16k. When I see these roofs, all I see are dollar signs!! They must cost a small fortune!

It’s raining again, we are driving to the hotel, and I need another cappuccino. It is going to be hard to convince the girls (and myself) to push through until 9pm bedtime.

The city of Belfast isn’t unlike Chicago in a lot of respects. Store display windows, older and newer architecture side by side, and corrugated sheet metal garage-like doors covering the facades of closed buildings. It’s easy to forget it’s Sunday now. (happy mother’s day to all the moms!!) I have caught myself seeing my children in the faces of boys. *sniff*

We have checked into our first hotel, Ibis City Center. It is modern, clean and the staff is very friendly. The manager comped me an hour of Internet (generally runs £2 for an hour or £5 for 24). I plan to upload two blog posts then, and attempt Skyping my boys. So far we have only Skyped from one end of our house to the other. I hope it works, and my family is available to answer since I only have one hour of access. It is an hour before dinner here, but I’m waiting until 9pm this time (which I believe is 3pm at home). That will be my last action before passing out tonight.

If TripAdvisor is correct, our next place, Paddy’s Palace, should have free wifi available. Yay!

Jim and I scoped out the street a bit, walking to one corner, then down the other way. As i decided to go to my room instead of walking the blustery streets of Belfast, a few of the girls admonished me to stay awake. If i did go to sleep before dinner, I would never live it down since I have been the No Nap Nazi since we got off the plane! Instead, I’m finishing up this post and taking a shower.

I think my post is as tired as I am.

Ciao for niao