A Travellerspoint blog

We heart Eddie Izzard

Guinness, Bushmills and champ

overcast 5 °C
View Jac and Chalky's Excellent Adventure on JacChalky's travel map.

See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

Belfast, Belfast... how cold thee were...

(Ok, ok, we hear you those in London and NYC)

Having not a shred of knowledge about Belfast and it's stormy history, we arrived in Belfast two weeks ago with a bit of trepidation, particularly as we had discovered our hotel was in the hot bed of the "Loyalist Area" after we had booked. However all it took was a couple of Guinnesses at the nearby Robinsons Saloon to discover that Irish laughter and merriment was just as alive in the North as it is in the South, and we had nothing to worry about.

Belfast was smaller and quieter than expected, however scars of its past are staunchly on display - for example right by our hotel was a row of houses with the end-wall painted in its entirety: "YOU ARE NOW ENTERING LOYALIST SANDY ROW" with a terrorist (defender of faith, depending on what side you're on) swathed in camoflague, holding a machine gun, pointed at any one who dared enter without Protestant love in their heart.

We started our visit by taking a Belfast Black Cab Tour which was truly excellent. I've never felt the desire to write reviews on any excursion I've ever been on, but was moved to post on Trip Advisor. If any of you head there, take a look: http://belfastblackcabtours.co.uk Our guide and owner Paddy Campbell showed us the murals and memorials of Shankill and Falls Road, and gave us an unbiased look at both Catholic (Republic) and Protestant (Loyalist) sides. From what we saw, the Protestant murals seemed to be triumphant and staunch, with one dedicated to one Stevie 'Top Gun' McKeag, who was celebrated for shooting 30 Catholics to death. The Catholic memorials on the other hand, seemed more morose and mournful. After the trip he dropped us off at the town square to wander the Continental Christmas Market. We were so impressed that we booked his day-long trip to Giant's Causeway for the following day where we shivered at each of the dramatic sights, but warmed ourselves on Whiskey tasting at Bushmills Distillery. Photos to come!

Our final day was spent hunting for an 'Irish Santa' that Mavis had her heart set on, but surprisingly Belfast was devoid almost completely of souviner shops, and it was only by asking around that we found one 'Irish' shop, where Mavis found a leprechaun Christmas decoration instead.

Jac's friend from Dublin, Helen, joined us for the afternoon, however, not without a bit of drama as Jac realised she stupidly emailed out a mobile number that didn't exist, well for her at least. Some poor bugger in NZ would have received a fair few texts at stupid o'clock on Sunday morning, as Helen tried texting in the northern hemisphere Saturday afternoon... oops.

So as the title of this entry suggests, we're huge fans of Eddie Izzard... Jac had booked tickets (second row, no less!) to see him about nine months ago and it was a brilliant show. How he comes up with his material is baffling.

So it was back to London on our foe Ryanair, unfortunately both flights to/from Belfast were abnormally quiet and relaxed, despite Jac and Chalky gearing Mavis up for the typical eating-time-at-the-zoo type experience of air travel. However.... the highlight of Belfast was to be had at the airport... Jac and Mavis were sitting in the airport, waiting for our gate to be announced when Chalky came up and said, "Do you guys have time for a photo?" Despite thinking, "Um, in the airport?" upon looking up, Eddie was standing in front of us, smiling! With typical grace and decorum, squeals echoed through departures as did gushes of every star's favourites, like, "We came ALL the way from NZ to see your show!", "We have every one of your DVDs!" and completely destroyed Chalky's assurances of a discreet and quick photo. Poor guy, but Mavis and Jac got the prized souvenir of their Belfast trip, which is a cheesy photo with a bemused Eddie.

Posted by JacChalky 13:58 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

The Intrepid Itinerary!

If you fancy joining us...

sunny 23 °C

Hurroh!

So after three weeks of languishing in Matarangi, Coromandel (catching snapper, squid and seagulls; and Chalky diving for scallops as Jac has the 'tough' job of manning the boat) and travelling back and forth to Aukalofa for Jac's round-eye oops we mean laser eye surgery... it's now only 6 days until we depart! Mavis, Jac's Mum is accompanying us for five weeks.

First stop is balmy Shoreditch, east London, where we rest at Jac's old flat named Club 66. We'll then fly to even balmier Belfast (Eddie Izzard being the attraction) before back to London... then begins our big adventure!

Here's our rough itinerary of where we hope to be... it's not exact and will may even veer off course as we discover that Jac's trail created solely by using Google Maps has glaring errors (e.g. India in July = hmmm).

December: Belfast, Morocco
January: Egypt, Jordan
February: Jordan Syria
March: Cyprus, Turkey
Apr, May, Jun: Central Asia (the Stans, Siberia, Mongolia)
July: Bhutan, Nepal, India,
Aug, Sep, Oct: Peru, Galapogas Islands, Columbia
Nov, Dec: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia

As we've said, if you fancy joining us somewhere along the way, we'd love to have you. Chalky likes long walks along moonlit beaches and Jac loves trying bizarre and unpalatable foods.

We dunno how this blog works at this stage but we'll have fun updating it where and when we can!

Cheers and sláinte for now,
Jac & Chalky

Matarangi, Coromandel

Matarangi, Coromandel

Posted by JacChalky 04:02 Archived in New Zealand Tagged preparation Comments (3)

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