Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Northern Ireland outdoors (well, most of it) is amazing.

Here's the thing, Belfast is a bit of an industrial city, but it's up-and-coming.  Great food, some great stuff to do, but the real gem of Northern Ireland is the countryside and the nature.  If you know us, you know we pretty much hate nature, and yet N. Ireland encouraged us to love it.  Except for the stinging nettles.  Those can go into a hole and die as far as we're concerned.  Just about all of us got stung (so... thanks geocaching X stinging nettle nature) and it's not an "ouch that hurt" sort of pain but a 12-24 hour hivey swollen stinging misery.  Oh, and the spiders.  Those should really just stay outside even if it rains 2 out of every 3 days and spiders don't like rain and prefer the warmth of a cozy curtain in a bedroom.  Stay. Out. Side.  Otherwise you will meet the bottom of Nicholas's shoe.

Back to the loving... and yes, we even liked the rain.  Almost all of us.

That's Rebecca looking miserable at Inch Abbey (GoT: The site where Robb Stark was crowned King of the North). It probably had something to do with the shoes she was wearing that were more holes than shoe and that the field was more puddle than grass.  And yes, it was still raining.

Here she looks a little less miserable.  I think.

Next to our house, we had cows.  We called that lovely guy in the back SkullFace.

We rode bikes around Audley's Castle (GoT: One of the Twins), through pasture land and forest and alongside Strangford Lough.

So, no question we don't really like nature.  What we discovered is that Ian really doesn't like bike riding.  At all.  Even more than his dislike of nature. We did two separate circuits  and for the first (through the fields and pasture) all 6 of us rode.  For the second, only 5 of us went out.  Ian would have none of it.  Truth be told, Rebecca didn't enjoy the first round either but took on the second and found it much more enjoyable.  Though the area was described as "flat" and "good for families" even the smallest of inclines proved challenging for our non-bike-riding family.

But you know what?  It was still tons of fun.  Even if we did walk up most of the hills. 

And look what else we found?

Cute story.  When we arrived in Edinburgh, we met up with another Embassy Amman family who we happened to cross vacation paths with.  At lunch, we learned that their 3-year old daughter was fascinated with Nessie.  We pulled up this photo on the camera and showed her that Nessie was in fact real and was vacationing in N. Ireland which is why they hadn't seen her in Scotland.  

My favorite take-away from this trip was a sign I saw in some shop:  There's no such thing as poor weather, only poor choice of clothing.  

It's absolutely true.  It's also good to remember up north that it's going to rain whether you go out and do fun stuff or not, so you might as well go do it and have fun.  It makes the best stories when your activities are just this side of uncomfortable or chaotic.  For this trip, we were soggy more times than I can count, and survived.  We missed the 110F and massive duststorm in Amman in exchange for 65F with rain every day, and it was awesome.

1 comment:

  1. Looks wonderful! We enjoyed our hiking trip to the Welsh borders too. Even the bad weather--most of it, anyway!