29.07.2008 - 31.07.2008 16 °C
I'm now back from my very fast trip to Belfast for my visa. My first train to Liverpool was a hassle as they swapped the train at Manchester Piccadilly for some reason! This resulted in me losing my reserved seat and having to stand for the final hour! I was a little annoyed to say the least.
Once I arrived in Liverpool I had a good walk around town and worked out where I would need to take the bus from to get to the airport. I wandered down towards Albert Dock and then west along the Mersey. I came across the port and in a fitting introduction to my new life at sea I came across a huge British cruise ship - Grand Princess. She was amazing and I couldn't get over the sheer size of this thing! And to think in less than two weeks I will be aboard one of them, it blows my mind!
Next I found my way to the Museum and had a good wander around in there, where I took advantage of the airconditioning. I came across an exhibit called 'The Beat Goes On' which was basically a look at all the stars of the Mersey, from the Beatles to the Coral to the Wombats. It was mildly entertaining but I was annoyed by the millions of screaming kids... I couldn't use any of the interactive features because all the little beggers had taken over.
Then I headed back to the bus stop and took the next bus to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and quickly made my way through checkin and security. Lots of people seem to have problems with the way the airport is run and although I can see most of their complaints, I had a very easy time getting through everything and getting to my gate. The flights was about 30 mins delayed though and they didn't really tell us, we went through the boarding gate about 10 mins late but then stood in a long corridor waiting as the finished loading the plane and doing everything they do to them. The flight itself however was very quick and painless. I landed safely in Belfast and caught the bus into town.
I quickly met my hosts for the 2 nights and then proceeded to the movies to see the new Batman movie and then on a late night walking tour of the city centre. The next day I had my interview for my Visa which was relatively painless and quick and then mailed the passport back to Colchester by the very next morning!! How's that for service!
After the interview I spent a long time walking all over Belfast. I walked up Falls Road, across the Peace Line and back down Shankill Rd, taking a million photos as I went. Then I headed into town and then right across to the east, over to the docks and along the Titanic trail. Unfortunately you can't see a great deal of the ship yards where titanic was built and it is all a bit old and run down now. But I did happen to run into my old friend Grand Princess in the Belfast harbour! I'm not sure where she was heading after Belfast, but I was sure it wouldn't be Liverpool again where I was going.
The flight and train back to Leeds was all a bit long and exhausting but I finally managed it. I then had a day of rest and packing before sitting on a bus for 8 hrs to get to Colchester. Now I'm here and practicing hard, I only have 12 or so days before boarding and my chops are no where near ready yet!