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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Thursday, 12 July 2001
Belfast, N. Ireland --> Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

I woke up with the Orange Men marching through the Belfast streets and left the country on a sponsored ferry towards Scotland. Some people already said I was just in time, but I believe only half the story now. After a six hours trip I arrived in Edinburgh and stayed with my host Mark Southgate. Bright lights, big city!
This morning Samuel woke me up with a cup of coffee, so there would be no way he had to wait until he could give me the coffee.

While I was starting to get awake a bit more, I heard the noises of the bands passing by in the neigbouring streets. The marches of the Orange Order had started. Sally told me that all the music bands from this district, gather on the end of Templemore Avenue and then all walk through the rest of Belfast.

Out on the street, just outside the house, the empty street had changed in a street with a lot of people standing on both sides of the roads. Bands passed by and every band had a different style of clothing, but mainly all had a big drummer and a lot of men playing a very high sounding flute. It was not really Irish music coming out of it.

While I was watching the parade outside, some people even approached me to wish me good luck on my travels! Some people even offered me some Pound coins! They\'d seen me on television last night and recognized me on the street.

Sally was right when she told me that if I had seen three bands, I mostly had seen them all. The whole parade took not even half an hour and the street was empty again.

In The Netherlands we also have parades, but more to celebrate our Qeens' Birthday of to start the Dutch Carnaval season in the south of the contry.

Today I had to prepare myself for the big move to another country.

So it was time for The Gift exchange. Sally got a hand-made candle from Carol and Terry in Dundrum; made by a local Dundrum artist. And as Sally packed her gift for my next host, I packed my rucksack and got myself ready for the departure.

My ferryboat would leave at 14.15 and had to check-in one hour before, that meant there would be some time left.

So we all jumped into the car and Sally showed me the parts I had not seen yet: Belfast shipyard Harland & Wolff, whose high cranes deliver some skyline to the city (and even the Titanic was built right here!). And Sally brought us up to the Northern Ireland’s big parliament building.

After a short look around from a distance, we got back home again. Had a quick lunch afterwards Sally dropped me off at the [url= www.steam-packet.com/photo-gallery/rapide.shtml]Seacat ferryboat[/url] terminal in Belfast.

Seacat sponsored me the ferry to Scotland and I am really really really grateful for that!

On the Irish Sea the weather was very windy, so the boat was wavering a log. Some of the young kids on board even got sea sick of it!

When we almost arrived at the docking pier in Troon, Scotland, I asked the crew if they could ask if anybody was going towards Edinburgh and perhaps could take a hitcher with them. They announced it on the intercom, but unfortunately nobody showed up.

And a few minutes before arrival, one of the crew member came up to me, looking very disappointed and said: “If the SeaCat has sponsored you this ferry, we can’t just drop you off in Troon and let you find your way to Edinburgh. We want to pay your train ticket to Edinburgh!

Wow, I did never expect that.

Together with most of the passangers I made it all the way to the Troon train station and got on the train to Glasgow. When I arrived in Glasgow, half an hour later, I just missed the train to Edinburgh by a few minutes.

So I walked around a bit and called my host in Edinburgh. I told him about the train tickets and he would pick me up at the train station.

I loved the Glasgow train station. Everything was built in on old style, using a lot of dark brown wood; it even looked like a oversize pub!

I arrived in Edinburgh around 8pm and met Mark Southgate, my host for tonight. He once stumbled upon my website and liked the idea of just putting me up for a night.

We walked a bit through the centre, down the hill, towards his apartment. Edinburgh is built on a few hills. And it even has an extinct volcano. During the Ice Age the ice moved around it and created two big lakes on the sides of it. One of the lakes has been pumped empty and is now the beautiful green Holyrood park in Edinburgh!

Mark has his own independent business and is a sort of online travel agents. His website is www.oneclicktravel.com and connects everybody, who’s interested, with the right hotels, car rental agencies and air lines all over the world. It’s a smart idea, I must say. You just have to be the first and the best.

For dinner Mark made oven baked garlic bread with a cheese and tomato toppings. It did not look as a lot of food, but it was filling up very well.

As the night set in, I settled down on his computer and enjoyed his fast ADSL-connection to the internet.

But still it’s getting harder to report. I start to think I have to decrease the details in my reports, to make it easier to write. Or just take more time to type everything, which –I think– is not that enjoyable for my host. What should I do?

Around 11 o’clock Mark took me for a walk through Edinburgh, to see a part of the city by night, which was very impressive. All the historical sites have big light spots on them, making the atmosphere very stirring.

In a pub across his street, we enjoyed a few beers, while some people on another table were playing their violins, flutes and guitars.

It is not a big change from Belfast to Edinburgh, however the 6 hour trip to Scotland did make me tired. When we got home I just had to finish my Belfast reports and typed away into the night until I was shocked to see it was already 4 am in the morning!

I quickly shut down the computer and climbed into the bed in the same room.

Got to move again tomorrow, hope I’ll do fine during the day…

Good night Edinburgh!

Ramon.




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