Belfast Titanic Museum

Belfast 2016

This past weekend, B and I went up to Belfast for an overnight stay. There was a big tattoo convention on up there at the Titanic Museum. The drive up from Dublin is only about an hour and a half, and is a simple easy straight shot up on the M1. We left early Saturday morning and arrived to Belfast about Noon. This enabled us to go through the Titanic Museum and then on to the convention.

Belfast 2016

First the museum. It’s on the waterfront of the harbor at Belfast (view above) where many ships were built about 100 years ago. Among others for the White Star lines were the Olympic, the Titanic and many others. To commemorate the building and launch of the Titanic, and its subsequent sinking -there is now a museum built in a modern architecture style – which is designed to look like the prow of a ship. You can see it just behind us, below.

Belfast 2016

The museum itself is 5 stories and it costs 17.50 for the basic entry to the museum and the ship nearby. What I expected was not quite what it was though. The place was packed full of people (it was a weekend) and you went up to the main museum based on the time on your ticket. We started out by visiting the large ship nearby – the SS Nomadic. This was the ship that ferried passengers for the Titanic from the port of Cherbourg, France to the Titanic. The vessel itself is dry docked, and has been restored on the inside. There are a few tables, some wooden benches, and a partially interactive museum system. There are some displays of old luggage and some history of a few of the passengers that crossed on the Nomadic to the Titanic. The ship itself is a “supplement” to the larger titanic museum, so while it did lack in information and history (they could have told more about the service of the ship itself) it was ok. The decks were easy to wander and it was good for the 45 minutes we were there.

Belfast 2016
The main steam pipe for the Nomadic

Belfast 2016
Iceburg Lettuce Ahead!

After touring the SS Nomadic we headed inside the main building and were herded into a line with everyone that was on the 1:15 walk through. They promptly had us stand in front of a green screen to take a picture (to be super imposed on a deck of the Titanic, in front of the museum or any of 5 other poses you could later buy for 7.50 each). Then we were sent up an escalator. What we were expecting was a museum of history and artifacts and lots of details on the people who were aboard the Titanic. It’s not really what we got. There were lots people – and as you shuffled through – it was walls of reading and posters and old blown up pictures that were about Belfast, the manufacture of the Titanic (and other ships) and then about the white star line. You walked though area after area like this – much of which in such crowded conditions was impractical to try and read. (It was also quite warm). Eventually, you get to a point they send you up an escalator to the third floor and you stand for about 20 minutes to take a “ride” in a bucket around a room that comprises most of the 2nd and third floor). The ride moves you about from video screen to video screen while you listen to a radio broadcast telling you stories from those that worked building ships. They talk about the heat, they talk about the riveting process, and so on.

Once done with that, you’re marched into another room with more reading / large photo displays, a replica of two rooms of the titanic, a display of carpet samples, and some china samples from the manufacturing process. Eventually, you end up in an area with a repeating video of an ocean (and a fake railing which everyone poses in front of) and the lone item from the time – a letter sent before the Titanic disembarked from Ireland. Finally, you’re sent into a theater room with a repeating video of the underwater oceanographic view of the wreck itself. It is pretty much the same video you see in the movie Titanic with DiCaprio. Here, you take a breather – and then are sent through a bunch of oceanographic displays of old diving gear and modern technology (scuba type subs). There’s also an interactive display on multiple screens where you can “pilot” the subs over the computerized video of wreckage and try to pick out what’s there.

The last rooms are dedicated to the telegraph dispatches from the titanic, the lifeboats, and the survivors. There’s also an interactive computer system set up where you can look up individuals on the ship – and get some other very basic details. Again though -with the crowded nature of the museum – there were bottle necks and folks just didn’t try to read what was there -because it was almost impractical.

After leaving the museum, we headed downstairs for some refreshments at the cafe. I ended up getting a sandwich and white star lines piece of carrot cake:

Belfast 2016

The cake was fine, but it was served on a replica Titanic plate (let’s all ooh and ahh):

Belfast 2016

After that, we went up to the 5th floor of the building and into the Tattoo convention. This was very cool (though I didn’t take any pictures – how did I not take pictures?!?). Before heading to our hotel – the Tara lodge. The Lodge is straight downtown Belfast – and within walking distance to just about everything including the bars, the Queen’s College, and the Botanical Gardens. More on the botanic gardens tomorrow.


Waffles… New Shoe Dance… and Sunshine!

The sun was out for a brief time this weekend. It was so bright and shocking that it woke me up at 8 AM on Saturday (ok so it woke up the dog) and forced me outside to see if some big huge disaster was happening. Nope… it was the SUN.


It instantly put me in a good mood, prompted some cool eye fashion (sunglasses) wearing, and a need to be outside – no matter the temperature. Pleasant, but after a brisk walk (it was Decidely FREEZING outside) started me coughing and wheezing I decided to head back inside (I’m still getting over my cold) before I gave myself pneumonia or something.

I saw Lost season 4, episode 3 (OMG! Sayeed is in BERLIN in this one!!) , a movie, then decided to head into Berlin. I’d been looking for some new kind of dressy black walking shoes and after a couple shops headed over to the kudamm. Wound up with my shoes, a new set of comic books to start reading (hooray), a Newsweek, A Foreign Policy Magazine, and then, dinner at Ming’s Garden (Pot stickers and Orange Duck RULE!!)

Sunday, I woke up and headed into Berlin for a 1pm meetup for brunch. I HAD WAFFLES BABY. Yep, the only place in Berlin that has make your own Waffles. It took me 4 trains and 1 hour 15 minutes to get there, but the food was super and the chatting with some old and new friends was fun. We left at 4 PM (yeah, that’s 3 hours later) tipped our waitress well, and then were off for the night.

Considering I’ve had a hankerin’ for some waffles for the better part of a week (and no waffle maker) I was quite pleased.

One final walk of the dog and then I’m off to bed….


Busy Weekend – Museum, Democrats and Got “LOST!”

It was another busy weekend for me. Friday night, I went out to dinner and hung out with “Bubba”. It was great. We went for Norwegian food and – despite having norwegian heritage, it was an amusing experience. We had some kind of meatballs with gravy, potatoes and berries. And we had blueberry crepes for dessert. Bubba was happy because he got to eat some comfort food and speak Norwegian for a bit. Personally, I think he’s having a bit of culture shock (it’s normal) and looking for something from home. I was only to glad to accompany him – it was a super meal – even though I still don’t know exactly what it was that I ate. BTW – Bubba, when you read this, you need to give me the name so I can have the recipe – and make it for ya.
After that, we were going to see a movie, but truly there was nothing playing. Well, except for Berlinale films – which are the artsy fartsy things that you’re never truly sure what you’re watching. And a one line blerp “a drama of a girl who travels and blah blah” doesn’t truly tell you much. Let’s just say that the way Sundance is set up is so much better than here in Berlin – and the book for sundance has the movie and a page number to find the blerp. Berlinale doesn’t – so by the time we found the blerps about the movies playing, they’d already started. As a result, we wound up people watching from the upstairs windows of Dunkin Donuts. That’s always fun.
Saturday, Rids woke me up at 7AM and wanted to go for a walk. We went out and came back. I hung out there for a while playing on the computer, then headed to Berlin to meet up with Bubba again. I had promised that we’d go to the Egyptian and Ancient World museum in Berlin. Having seen the real thing in context when I was in Egypt, it wasn’t half so interesting to see the stolen Egyptian artifacts in the Berlin museum. I was able, however, to impart a bit of knowledge (Ok so Bubba, you were bored – admit it!) from what I knew of these things. Otherwise, the most interesting point – the bust of Neferitiri – I saw it for about a minute and a half (I wanted to get photos but didn’t) because there were tourists around it 5 deep. Yeah ok, well, At least I’ve been to Egypt – which is more than I can say for most of the people gawking at the bust behind glass and lasers.
What was interesting of the museum (Again, Poor Bubba – being subjected to my dawdling in there) was the ancient Greek and Medeterrian artifacts. There was a whole display on mythology – and of course, I had to take pictures of the statues. Thereby – I had two favorite photos:

Dionysis feeding the cat

From there, we headed over to the Democrats Abroad party – and met up with JTW and Jong for drinks, some hideous bluegrass music (it was all about coal mining and revolution) while people voted, and then went to dinner at a Turkish Restaurant.
Sunday was great. I wound up heading to JTW’s where several of us “GOT LOST” and watched the mobile episodes, first two season episodes and had plenty of munchies. Then, I headed out for my dinner plans – and had a steak and salad. Oh – I almost forgot to mention the wandering around the Hauptbahnhof in Berlin and the eating of yummy ice cream. (Humm.. nearly my entire blog revolved around food…. must be close to lunch time.)
Ok well, that’s that. I’m going back to bed… maybe this time, I can sleep!