August 2, Belfast, Northern Ireland
The weather forecast for every day of this cruise shows that there is a chance of rain and sure enough we were greeted with a light drizzle as we moored at Belfast’s Stormont Wharf. It wasn’t bad enough to require an umbrella, a light rain jacket was enough to stay dry for the most part.
There was a small tent on the wharf housing a few tables with some tourist information and a small band playing some traditional Irish music. The HAL tour busses were all lined up on one side of the wharf with the other side being dedicated to private tours and a taxi stand/drop off. If you didn’t mind a couple of miles walk, it would be possible to walk from Stormont Wharf to downtown Belfast. Taxi fare to downtown Belfast was about 7 Pounds. Our group had arranged to visit the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum located in Lisburn, about 10 miles south of Belfast.
Traffic was light heading out of Belfast to Lisburn and we arrived in about 25 minutes. Our bus dropped us off and would return in about 2 hours.
We divided our group in half and each group was assigned a docent to lead us thru the museum’s three main exhibit areas:
- The history of linen in Ireland with a spinning demonstration
- A display of looms used in Ireland back in the 1800’s
- Three interactive displays featuring drop spindles, mini looms and peg looms.
The exhibits were all outstanding and we enjoyed the spinning demonstration and the chance to experience the interactive exhibits. After the tour we had time for a little shopping in the museum gift shop before heading back to Belfast.
By the time we returned to downtown Belfast the rained picked up to a point where an umbrella would have been nice, Judy brought one and I made due with my rain jackets. About 6 of us wanted Fish and Chips and we discovered a place called “Fish City” that was highly rated and won several awards for the best Fish and Chips in Belfast. We pushed on thru the rain through a pedestrian outdoor mall called Victoria square, for about ¾ of a mile, and scurried inside the nearly empty restaurant.
Service was quick and the food lived up to its billing. Everyone ordered the standard size Fish and Chips (they had small, standard and large) with a beer or soft drink. We had to meet our bus back at the Visitors Center – so we didn’t have a lot of time to shop in the way back. By now the rain had stopped so walking back wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as walking over. Twenty minutes later we were back on the ship and were glad to get back into our cabins to dry out.
The Zuiderdam was not leaving until 7pm, so we had time to return to Belfast if we wanted to, but we chose to stay on the ship and relax before dinner.
As expected, early seating was about ½ full and service was especially quick. I had the Thai Shrimp Bisque, Classic Caesar Salad and Short Rib with bIack olives. Judy had the French Onion Soup and the Pork Rib Roast. Once again the food was wonderful and the service exceptional.
The Holland America Dancers were in the spotlight tonight with their presentation of the relatively new show “Musicology”. All the music and singing for this show is recorded – only the dancing is live. The show has about a dozen different dance numbers featuring the dancers playing the role of various musica; instruments under the watchful eye of a conductor. The dancing is wonderful and the show was very entertaining. We enjoyed it very much. Later we learned that the dancers enjoy this show a lot since they are on stage every number and have a chance to showcase their exceptional talent. Don’t miss it.
This show was developed for the 270 degree stage, with its high definition screen on the Koningsdam. Since the Zuiderdam has a 180 degree stage they had to re-stage the show to work on this class ship.
Tomorrow will bring Dublin for an overnight visit – with rain in the forecast.This entry was posted in Uncategorized