We left our Paris apartment at 5 am Monday morning and flew on Easy Jet to Belfast. The flight was very nice - only half full - about 90 minutes. We each had 3 seats to ourselves - and stretched out to sleep. The cab to and from the airport cost more than the ticket - $99 round trip.
We were in our Fitzwilliams Hotel by about 9 am - we did go back one time zone. They let us right into the room early. It is a very nice hotel - right downtown in all the action. We had a very hearty lunch at The Harlem - what they think an American pub would be like. It was old old - the food good - a little too hearty for me.
Temp is only in the 40s - what does one expect for Europe in November! Sky was clear - but a little blustery. City Hall has a big museum on the main floor - we spent over and hour touring that. No charge. Then we did the Christmas Village Shopping which is right around the city hall. We didn’t buy anything but that does not stop Nancy. We are back in our hotel resting up for a second run.
Tomorrow we are taking the train to Londonderry/Derry. It is on the other side of the country facing Ireland directly. This is where much of the Catholic/Protestant feud went on for 30 years. They are in a truce now called the Agreement for 20 years. Still Catholics and Protestants - do not mix a whole lot. Catholics are generally working class - Protestants were/are management - just like back home in the Coal Regions. Protestants go to public schools - 95% of Catholics still go to Sister Schools. They call it voluntary apartheid.
We will take a black cab tour of Derry (Catholics call it Derry - Protestants call it Londonderry) the Netflix series - Derry Girls was filmed here. It is about 5 kids going to sister school in Derry - during The Troubles. They would sneak out and date Protestant boys. It reminds me of the school in Tamaqua in the 50s and 60s. I went to the public school in town and across the street was Saint Jerome’s School. For those 6 years - I never went into the sister school - but I had a lot of friends that went there - and we played together after 3 pm - until the street lights came on. I was on Lehigh Street - next to us was Gay Street - that was full of kids that went to Saint Jerome’s school.
We will be here until Thursday - and all we brought is a backpack. That includes Nancy’s computer. She has classes Wednesday night from 6 to 10 - but it will be 11pm to 3 am here. She teaches on the computer - live! She has her work cut out for her.
Belfast’s where the Titanic was built - it was the biggest shipyard in the world then. The shipyard is there and there is a big Titanic Museum - we will attend - probably Wednesday or Thursday. 5 pm Thursday we fly back to Paris. Se have 3 days in Paris - then 5 days in London - then we fly home from there. Dec 7. I like that we fly home all during the day. I cannot sleep on day seats - I wear a CPAP machine to sleep - and I do not want to look like I am a lung cancer patient! So in daytime - I can stay up. I have lost a little weight - and it helps my boney butt form not getting sore.
The flight from Atlanta to Paris was full every seat. The seats were packed pretty tight. I envy those folks that travel in business class with beds. Our buddy Joan does that.
We have no other long trips scheduled until spring. But that can change quickly.
On Sunday I enjoyed the Paris Auto Auction. They auction off a beautiful 1990 Citroen 2CV - the car I covet. Lulu said I could bid - but I got cold feet. When I was young I wanted stuff so badly - but could not afford it. Not that I am 75 - I can afford it - but I do not need to own it. The only thing I have kept 52 years is Lulu. It is hard to find things in our home we have near that long. The car of my dreams was auctioned off for 18,500 euros. Some cars went for over $1 million. Many were in the $100,000 range. Some bike lots went for under $1000. It would have cost me $3000 for shipping and taxes to get it home. The car was 33 years old - one family owner - garage kept - only 17,000 miles - recent restore and paint. But you really must check - all bids finals - no refunds - there was a period when they would start it up for you. I visited the car 2 days earlier. It was just a short 2 euro bus ride from Keith’s apartment.
On Sunday - the Everhart 6 - took the TGV train to Strasbourg. They have the biggest xmas shopping village in Europe. Lulu loved it. It was cold for me. The kids functioned the day - 12 hours - walking - no strollers - no carrying. The train was 300 miles each way - 2 hours each way - very fast - very smooth. That is the way to go in Europe. Last year for xmas we came over - and spent a week in Malaga - south of Spain. It was much warmer than Belfast. :-)
We check our home a pool by camera every day. Everything looks good. We had rain today in Tallahassee. The pools full to the brim. The cover stays on - filter is on - heat is off. It looks good.