We left off the last post, if you recall, concerned about the weather for the next leg of our journey. Snow was in the forecast directly over the Highland mountains through which we’d be driving.
We started our day down in the hotel restaurant, which offered a lovely view of the snow capped mountains. Our waiter from the previous night greeted us excitedly, letting us know that his friend down in the glen reported no snow on the roads. No longer nervous about the drive, we packed up and headed out, making our way down to Glasgow.
Our drive twisted through the Glencoe mountains, one of the most iconic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. It was absolutely breathtaking. Fresh snow and mist covered the tips, but the dramatic colors of the mountains remained. We stopped to take pictures, but it was clear there was no way we could capture the beauty around us. I only wish we could’ve stayed longer, could’ve walked through more of the area. It was rainy and cold that morning, and we had a plane to catch, so our stay was very brief.
The rest of the drive wound through the Trossachs National Park and around Loch Lomond. The rain helped to accentuate the colors of the trees and the greenery around us as we drove through. The streets were small in this area, and surrounded by cobblestone walls that threatened to scratch your car on every turn. There were quite a few trucks or lorries in this area, making the squeeze through the streets even more difficult.
The drive went by quickly and I won’t bore you with the details but suddenly we found ourselves already in Glasgow. We had a tough time finding the car return area – especially without proper navigation – and we ended up having to pay money for taking a wrong turn into a parking deck! Eventually we got the car returned and scrambled through the rain to the airport. We had hoped to have time to go to the city center but it was already 1pm and we didn’t think it was worth £20 for a bus ride to the city where we’d be rushed. Instead, we treated ourselves to lunch in one of the airport’s restaurants.
The Glasgow airport is pretty small and a little confusing. This was also our first time flying on EasyJet – usually we fly British Airways, American, or Southwest. There was a good bit of sitting around and waiting until the very last minute to find out which gate you need. We did stop in a store and pick up a few last minute things we had talked about getting. I grabbed a lambs wool scarf, something I meant to grab earlier but once we left Edinburgh, I had completely forgot about it.
By the time we were boarding, it began raining harder and I started to get my flight nerves again. It would be a short flight, thankfully. While we were waiting to board, Bob and I ended up talking to a couple from Glasgow behind us. They were very friendly and were surprised to hear our accents – apparently we did a good job blending in as locals! They also told us about their friend who moved to Raleigh before realizing we were from there! While waiting, we also talked to the airline staff assisting with boarding passes and found out that she got married when she was 14 and she’d been married for 30 years!
Anyways, about an hour later and we were landing in rainy and cold Belfast. Noticing a weather trend? I felt like Kate Middleton getting off the plane, climbing down the metal stairs with wind whipping my hair. Only difference was the number of busy common folk rushing past me. The Belfast International airport was smaller than I expected and we were in and out within minutes. A kind fellow at the information booth sold us bus tickets and surprisingly guessed we were on our honeymoon within seconds. We hadn’t really told anyone that we were traveling for our honeymoon, surprisingly. He told us to say hello to the Queen and to the Waltons.
The bus to Belfast City Center took a while and after a long walk through the practically silent streets, we made it to our hotel at about 7:00pm. We checked in and ate a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant and then made our way back out to see if anyone had come back out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The streets were now busy and bustling with young people, some decked in St. Patty’s decorations, some already very drunk. We ran into one of the nearby pubs and ordered a cider and listened to the local musician. This pub was crowded but not nearly as bad as others and we found a nice place to stand. The guitarist played some classics that got large groups in the pub singing. It was fun to be with so many excited people and to see how the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
This is where you can tell that Bob and I are old, old people. While we enjoyed the pub we were in and seeing the local Irish enthusiasm, there wasn’t anything really calling us to stay out much longer. We got our St. Patrick’s Day experience, and enjoyed walking through the streets, and that was quite enough for us. It was pretty late when we got back to the hotel and we had an early morning awaiting us, so we ended the day with some British TV.
Tomorrow we will embark on a Game of Thrones tour around the Antrim Coast!