Derry, Northern Ireland
During the night we were both woken several times by hurricane-like winds outside. Even though we were securely inside four solid walls instead of a flimsy campervan, Mother Nature still disturbed our sleep. The howling gales continued on for most of the day, and we heard on the news later that they reached up to 160 km/h. Trees and power lines had been felled all over the country. Clearly, it was a great day to drive to Derry.
Rain appeared in bursts throughout the day, so we had to pick our sight-seeing moments in Derry carefully. We managed a dry walk along the city walls, passing several canons, rows of identical-looking houses plus a handful of barricades. Just as we had finished the round, the heavens opened up again. We escaped inside a busy restaurant, eating lunch until the rain passed.
Once it was safe to venture outside, we strolled along the river, passed the heart-breaking Bloody Sunday and Hunger Strike Memorials, then conducted a self-guided tour of the political murals displayed around the city. The events that the paintings depicted were horrific, and I couldn't imagine living here while these atrocities occurred. At one point we saw several police blocking off an entire main street just to arrest one man. I wonder how much of the past is still present here.
We chose a B&B at random, and we knew we picked the right one when the owner gave us a piece of Christmas cake on arrival. It's not even December anymore! After stuffing the cake down we headed out to dinner at a sushi bar/Thai restaurant (not a combination you usually see together), where Danny swore he ate the best sushi rolls he had ever tasted. The rest of the night was spent indoors, escaping the rain.
The B&B continued it's fantastic reputation the next morning by providing us a well-cooked breakfast, as well as a huge range of cereals and fruits. With our stomachs full to the brim, we wandered back into Derry. The only sight I had yet to see was the Free Derry Museum, a tiny venue that described the events leading up to and including Bloody Sunday. I didn’t know much about the history of Derry before arriving here, and overview of the conflicts was enlightening to say the least (even if it was mainly from a Catholic point of view). It was quite a depressing way to start the day really. Once the history lesson was over, it was time to jump in the car and drive back into Ireland (of course, through wind and rain).