Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Smorgasbord of Craic

It's is high time that I posted some photos from the past 2 weeks, especially for those who like visual proof of how I'm spending my days here! (With respect to the entry's title, *NB*: "craic" means fun here, not an illegal addictive substance.)

Most important: FOOD. Within hours of arriving in Belfast, we located a tasty restaurant called Robinson's, which is directly across from the train station. The super-yummy (mmhmm, my vocabulary is expanding daily) option is always the catch of the day, which is probably related to our prime location on the coast of an island. Below is the mouth-watering Fisherman's Pie that seduced half of our group with its cheesy, potatoey deliciousness:

Since potatoes (in all shapes, sizes & textures) have been included in almost every meal, I knew it was necessary to stay in shape. Last week I got my Boost leisure centre membership and have been going to work out regularly. My one experience with lap swimming thus far was a bit like playing dodgeball. A few older men decided that they'd like to swim the short length of the pool, forcing other swimmers to swerve out of the way to avoid collisions. Oh well -- will try again, possibly at a different (less busy?) time of day. However, there are many other opportunities to burn off (some of) the calories ingested from massive amounts of fries, wedges and champ. Our first weekend here, we packed picnic-lunches and hiked up Cavehill. The pictures don't completely capture the immensity of this "hill," considering we all woke up the next day with incredibly sore calves.

After 3 hours of climbing, we made it to the edge of that cliff, which offered an amazing view of Belfast and the surrounding areas. The hike down went by much more quickly, partially because I slid down some rocky slopes -- leaving my hands a bit dirty and scratched.

Our adventure the following weekend was a trip to Londondery/Derry, which I will describe in a later post because I anticipate going back soon.

...Which brings me to this weekend! On Saturday morning, we caught a train for Bangor, which is about 30 minutes east of Belfast. As we stepped out of the station, a breath of Southern California blew over me -- I smelled the salty air, heard the ocean's waves, and felt the cool breeze. We grabbed lunch at a wonderful little sandwich shop, walked along the coast, and then ate on the rocks overlooking the sea. The weekend continued yesterday with a lazy-day marathon of the Bachelorette & SYTYCD viewing. Even when you're somewhere new and exciting, sometimes you still need a relaxing day off...

Oh, and by way of introduction, here are the DukeEngage Northern Ireland ladies (from right): Ashly, Courtney W., Colby, Courtney D., and Lindsay.

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