December 27th, 2014


Christmas saw the beginning of the accumulation of some very useful hiking gear. With that comes a renewed commitment to start a productive training program so to be ready for the Coast to Coast in September.

With new boots and trekking poles and an eye on the right pack we are well on our way. So with the aforementioned in mind we decided to meet back at McRae’s Bistro to discuss the finalization of the itinerary for the entire month. We still need to lock down continental travel and accommodation.

First off was a quick search of the Ryanair website to make our first reservation from Stanstead to Rome. Several minutes later it became apparent that was not going to work. We had already booked a room near the Vatican at our last meeting so a “little” panic was setting in.
Never fear, easyJet is here. I logged on to the easyJet site without any bother and quickly organized the following travel for week three of this journey. Luton to Rome was in the bag! From Rome we head to Prague in the Czech Republic. From Prague we move on to Paris and after a couple days there we move back to the UK.
As if London, Oxford and Cambridge was not enough for the final week, we decided to spice it up a bit and do a day trip to Belfast mid week. Ryanair came through there and we booked a quick hop over to Derry. Who knows what one can see and do in 24 hours in Northern Ireland but at the moment it appears that our flight to Derry will lead to a rental car that will take us Northeast to the Giant’s Causeway.
En-route to the Giants Causeway just happens to be the oldest distillery in the world. It will be our pleasure to stop off and tour the Bushmills Irish Whiskey Distillery and maybe even sample a very wee dram!
We will then head south to Belfast and what can be described as more of a interactive history lesson than anything resembling a holiday. We are booked to stay at the Europa Hotel. You may recall when the “Troubles” were front and centre in world news. The Europa was home to the world press and the hotel that was a target of several attacks in the form of explosive devices.
The good news is that with time comes renewed optimism and renovation. The Europa withstood the untold millions in damage and once again stands proud in the Belfast Skyline.
With the luck of the Irish, we hope to fair well during our stay. We have decided to take a suggestion from tour guide extraordinaire Rick Steves once again and spend 90 minutes with Mr. Paddy Campbell and his wonderful black cab tour of the city.

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