juliet: (audax)
[personal profile] doop and I spent last night variously sleeping on the (cold, hard) floor at Holyhead station[0], and on the middling-comfortable (why don't seats go back at all on UK trains? Coaches all manage this just fine) Virgin train from Holyhead back to Euston (thankfully no change at Chester this time unlike on the way out).

Things that I am forced to observe about the non-flying non-car option of getting from London to Belfast:
- your options are to go via Dublin, or to pay >5 times as much and have even worse timing (the Liverpool-Belfast ferry isn't part of the Rail/Sail cheap ticket deal).
- apparently Stena don't think that bikes are vehicles so Liverpool-Larne isn't an option even if cycling (which we weren't this time). Although I may contact them to discuss this.[1]
- it shouldn't take this long. 13 hrs on the way there (the main possible reduction: better linkup with the Euston-Holyhead train. You shouldn't need to leave Euston at 20:00 for a 02:40 ferry; 22:30 would be more like it. Better linkup at Dublin to the Belfast train would be nice as well but that was only 40 min).
- it really, really shouldn't take this long on the way back. Why no overnight train from Holyhead to Euston? (also, again, poor linkup between Belfast-Dublin train and ferry).
- it is v good value, though - £40 pp each way London-Belfast all in.
- the ferry has lovely squashy sofas to sleep on.
- do not eat the potato wedges available at Dublin Connolly station, under any circumstances. Pure evil.

However! We got to doop's parents' house in the end, and had a really lovely weekend. They live out near the coast, with a fabulous view over to the Mull of Kintyre, and we went for a couple of very enjoyable walks which involved scrambling over rocks and looking at seaweed and (in my case) standing in a big muddy puddle, whoops. The predicted horrible weather lifted after Friday, so you could see all the way across the sea to Scotland which I found v exciting, especially when I spotted Hadyard Hill wind farm. Also we slept a lot. And doop's family are great.

Today I intended to be largely quite lazy, but the to-do list is filling up regardless. How does this happen?

[0] After about 40 min I went in search of insulation, and came back with a pile of free papers. "I feel like a homeless person" [personal profile] doop said plaintively as I spread them all over the floor. Indeed, but a *warmer* homeless person. Query: why TF are there lovely soft squishy seats & nice carpet on the way *onto* the ferry, but on the way *back*, one is forced to spend the 4 hr wait in the rail station waiting area, which has metal seats and tiled floor.
[1] Vehicle-only ferries = "we have no method in place to get people onto the ferry on foot". If cycling you ride on along with the cars/lorries/motorbikes, so this shouldn't be a problem. I suspect it is FAIL on the part of their website.

September 2017



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