We all gathered at the crack of dawn. Even in the morning, I noticed that the city was just as busy as it is during the middle of the day. Although some of us still needed to finish waking up, we were excited to get away from the busy streets of Belfast to tour Giant’s Causeway. I knew this trip would be fun, but I never expected that this tour would be so restoring to my mental well-being. This visit to the coast was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Our first stop was to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. After sitting on the bus for a while, we were glad to be able to stretch our legs. We were very excited to cross a rope bridge that connected two giant cliffs over the ocean, like we all had seen in the movies or read in a book. As we headed to the bridge, the sun beamed down on my back and a strong gust of wind almost blew my hat off. It had been raining the past couple of days in Belfast, and a sunny day was very refreshing. Then, we began to be surrounded by other tourist groups coming off of their buses to see the cliffs as well. I could tell that many people came to marvel at these beautiful cliffs throughout the year, but we really lucked out with the weather we had today.
I also noticed that people kept staring at our group. I wasn’t an evil stare, but it wasn’t a kind stare either. It was difficult to see how some people felt about us being there. Some others, though, we could tell were friendly. No matter how they stared, I could tell that they just wanted to enjoy this amazing day as well.
We began to walk towards the bridge. The wind grew stronger as we walked along the edge of the first cliff and the waves were crashing on some sharp, black rocks at the bottom. Once it was our turn, we each nervously started to cross. I carefully walked along the bridge that was held together only by rope and wood and felt my weight cause the bridge to bend. My heart started to pound as the wind continued to blow, sending strong waves crashing in on both sides of the cliffs below.
Once we got to the other cliff, we started to take lots of pictures. We climbed the rocky stairs to the top of the smaller cliff, and it felt like our own little world. On one side of us was the mainland with waves crashing against the cliffs, and on the other side was the wide open ocean. I just took it all in. It truly felt like I was on vacation there.
On the next stop, we had lunch in a nearby town called Bushmills, home of the oldest whiskey distillery in Northern Ireland. While most our group went to the visitor’s center, some of us decided to go into town to try some good food this part of the island had to offer. We stopped at a place that claimed it made award-winning fish and chips. I, however, decided to get their savory cheese steak sandwich. Once we had finished eating, it was time to go to our last stop.
The last stop we made was at Giant’s Causeway. The almost setting sun lit up the side of the cliff as we made our way down. As we approached the beach, I noticed that the rocks were formed in an interesting pillar structure, as if someone had sculpted them. A tour guide told us the rocks were formed from volcanic activity when this part of Northern Ireland used to be fused to the North American continent. We took pictures on the rocks, going out to the water as far as we dared. The rocks were surprisingly comfortable to sit on, and there I began to read my rook. It relaxed my mind and was a much needed time to be happy in the moment.
I napped on the way back to Belfast. It had begun to heavily rain. The rain did not last long, though, and it produced the most gorgeous rainbow I had ever seen which arched its way across the entire landscape. I had never seen such a huge rainbow! I could see every color distinctly. Sadly, my phone died and I could not get a picture of it. I guess some things are meant to be enjoyed in the moment only.
I am very happy we got a chance to get out of the city for a bit to enjoy the quiet and serene part of the island. I returned to Belfast fully refreshed, physically and mentally. I had been feeling anxious in Belfast, from the heavily scheduled days to the over whelming feeling of not being wanted, but the Causeway somehow was able to erase this stress. The time here put me at peace, and I also could tell it put the rest of my group had their stress lifted from their shoulders and left to wash away with the shore.