Bridges, Black Taxis, and BooksMay 1, 2015
We are in Northern Ireland enjoying the sights in a wonderful country. Pretty soon we will be back preparing to meet the tourists and passers-through, welcome back the seasonal residents, and share our new menu items with the locals. This is a place similar to the U.P. in so many ways. We have had rain, hail, sleet, and sun all in a matter of a few hours! We have strolled through small coastal towns, hiked wooded trails, picked through shells and stones on sandy shorelines, climbed among large and unusual rock formations, and driven along the Irish Sea with breathtaking views. But most of all we have fallen in love with the people and their friendly ways, quirky accents, and their old well taken care of buildings that house their pubs, coffee shops, cafes, bookstores, and curiosity shops.
We cannot resist entering bookstores in other cities and countries that we visit. We like to see who their local authors are, and which books are their favorites about the local history. While in Belfast we bought several books about the “troubles”, the decades long conflict between the Protestants and Catholics. Jeff picked out his favorite genre, Non-Fiction, and I chose a well recommended novel. To go along with these books we took a Black Taxi Tour, led by Steven, who stayed impartial while he drove us around the neighborhoods, showing us the tall, thick walls that still exist, the gates that still lock at night, and the murals honoring those who lost their lives in the conflicts.
Tomorrow we will settle in to our seats for the long flight back, reading our new books, remembering the beauty, honesty, and devotion of Northern Ireland, while contentedly knowing we will soon be back on the shores of our truly favorite body of water, Lake Superior, enjoying the company and friendship of our beloved Yoopers.