Summer is when most of us dream of taking an extended holiday and getting away from it all, but unfortunately not all of us get to go. Arun Yellamaty managed to get 40 days off from work to visit his sisters in Northern Ireland, and he couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
Meeting my family after four years was the best part of the trip, but one of the finest things about Northern Ireland is the weather. I’d signed up for a marathon – nothing beats running in Northern Ireland – so I spent some of my days training for the event. I even bought new running shoes and went out irrespective of the time of day (it got dark very late, and I took advantage of the weather to work on my fitness).
Apart from running, I was bedazzled by the scenery: mountains, seas, greenery, rain, and (sometimes) clear blue skies. These were all just so brilliant that they melted away my stress. I waked a lot, visited many museums, made a few new friends, and planned a spontaneous day trip to Ayr in Scotland. Travelling by ship to this town, I visited the very popular Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. As a writer, it’s something I will remember for a long time. After Ayr, I headed for County Londonderry, a beautiful place close to the Republic of Ireland. It’s a remarkable place with a rich history of battles and splendid buildings. I got to visit Garvagh Forest, 200 hectares of trees older than 80 years old (you must visit if you come to Derry).
The family planned a three-day trip to Carrickfinn in Donegal, a beautiful place surrounded by small towns. We enjoyed some solid time together, away from distractions and with a stunning view of water from the holiday home. The men tried our best to catch some fish, but we were unlucky and went back to a home-cooked dinner. But the time we spent together was good!
The capital of Belfast is a very busy place constantly packed with tourists. Luckily for me, I was there during the sales at all the stores, so I shopped quite a bit. In fact, once I got back home, I had to clear my existing closet for the new purchases! But Belfast is a truly beautiful city. City Hall is a huge monument right in the centre and features with the world’s largest Titanic-themed visitor attraction. The city was the birthplace of the Titanic, and it was great to see how the beautiful ship was built, and learn about the struggles and the history behind it.
A solo sojourn to beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh was something I’ll remember for a long time. The three-day trip was completely unexpected, and when I checked in the very popular and affordable backpackers’ hostel, I met a lot of people from China, Canada, Spain, Germany and other countries. I was told that the world’s largest arts festival was taking place at the same time; it was a complete surprise, and my excitement reached a new level.
Edinburgh is a breath-taking city with great buildings and fabulous mountain views. The walk to the castle (and its history) was brilliant, and walking tours gave me quick view of the entire city and its rich heritage. I got to visit the dog statue of the very popular Skye Terrie at Greyfriars Bobby, I did the very popular bus tours, and I enjoyed the famous dungeon tour. The city is always full of hundreds of talented people organising dramas, comedies, and concerts at various pubs.
The food was the best part of my trip: baked beans, eggs, bacon, waffles and pancakes. However, nothing beats the Irish beef steak, which has to be the best in the world. I also tried haggis, a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) and served with potatoes and onions. And nothing was complete without the very popular Guinness stout. The Irish and Scottish people I met on the trip were very warm, welcoming and always helpful.
I remain inspired by this trip, so I’ve decided to travel once a year. In fact, I’ve even started planning my next sojourn to Europe or the Americas! Because if there’s thing I realised during my time in Britain, it’s that travelling helps you to become more confident and outgoing. ..... Arun