No one slept well last night.
The hostel assigned Featherdawn and Sophia to my room last night, so for once I knew my roommates. All three of us spent the evening drinking the free tea the hostel provided, and the tea contained more caffeine than any of us expected. I didn’t even go to bed until 1:00 am, and Sophia gave up on sleeping to take a shower at 2:00 am.
I knew I could sleep in, as they only serve breakfast from 9:00 am to 10:00 am. I planned for a slow day today, but the day decided not slow enough. The hostel provided a great breakfast, with each meal a custom order and individually prepared. Tasty, but with all the meals cooked by only one person, not a fast process.
Sophia and Featherdawn left before me, with the plan to hitch into Bushmills for groceries and whatnot. I passed them on my way into Bushmills, on the road where everyone headed towards the Giant’s Causeway, instead of into the city.
I enjoyed the Bushmills Whiskey tour. Unlike the Jameson tour from years ago, the tour runs through the actual production plant (where they also handle surplus Jameson bottling). Stunning that such a small facility produces the entire world supply of Bushmills. As a production plant, no handicapped access existed. If you use a walker or cane, you could not take this tour.
From the tour, a short ride brought me to Coleraine and the train to Belfast. I used the time on the train to make some changes to how the website and the blog work. Time passed quickly, and the next think I knew I arrived in Belfast, with the hostel just down the street. Unsurprisingly, the main hostel in Belfast is big and institutional, such a change from the small independent hostels after Galway.
I arrived early enough to get to Tourist Information. Someone at the last hostel highly recommended the city bus tour, but didn’t clarify whether she meant the “Belfast City Tour”, the “City Tour Belfast”, or the “City Sightseeing Belfast” tour. Belfast constructed the Titanic – the city “claim to fame”, along with “the Troubles”. I’m glad I didn’t plan two full days here.
The last few hostels provided Internet throughout the building, an advantage of small hostels. In Belfast not only must you sit in the lobby for Internet, but the sheer number of residents slams the performance. Usually I manage to meet someone in the communal kitchen or the common area, but no such luck tonight. Not surprisingly, many people are just on holiday for the weekend from Dublin. Occurs to me that not only am I not a fan of most big cities, I’m not a fan of big city hostels; I have more in common with the small city travellers.
While a few short rides remain, back and forth between trains and hostels, cycling effectively ended today – out of time. The last few days things have gone well, a much better note than my expectations of cold and rain. I don’t have the urge to turn around and ride back off into the wilderness, but I certainly feel a sense of loss.