Thursday August 31. There is a coffee shop around the corner and we decide to have breakfast there. The friendly waitress turns out to be Dutch and we have a quick chat about life in Dublin. Dublinia, a museum about the Vikings and the origins of the city, is the first visit. The building is connected by a bridge to the Christchurch Cathedral, which together forms a beautiful picture. Then walking past Saint Patrick’s Cathedral through the park of the same name and after a coffee in the park, further to St Stephen’s Green Park. Green indeed, but not very special. The house at the entrance of the park is worth seeing with its English style and wood-carved roof trim. We visit the National Museum of Ireland, National History. Here we are immediately looking at the skeletons of the Irish Deer. These are or were apparently the size of moose. Many stuffed animals and displays where they are shown in a natural setting. Also the necessary fossils, strong water fish, butterflies and moths. Nice to take a look. Then a little further on the National Gallery of Ireland. A large building with many paintings. The old Italian and Dutch masters still stand out. Then enter the university grounds and buy a ticket for the Trinity Library. At 4:00 PM we can enter and first learn about The Book of Kells on large displays. The famous early medieval book with beautiful colored plates and writing. Then we can see the book ourselves. I understand why photos are not allowed. There is little to photograph, the page shown is a table of contents and not at all representative of the beautifully illustrated book. There are no illustrations on here. Disappointing. Then the library itself. A beautiful long room, with busts of scholars and rows of bookshelves. The first sections are filled with books, the rest has been cleared out as they are restoring the place. Not pretty. This feels a bit like a scam. Across the University grounds past the old buildings back into the city. We skip the Whiskey Museum and have something to eat in the Temple Bar district. The live music starts and it’s time to look further afield. We have a drink at The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub.
Friday morning we walk into an industrial district. This all turns out to be Guinness’s brewery. A large complex, with a lot of old buildings and of course some new ones. With the ticket we enter and visit different stages of the brewing process. Nicely done with many interactive displays and videos. At the end of the tour the 360 degree view deck. This is completely full, but we can order a Guinness and drink it at the bar. Of course we also walked around to see the city from above. Going to the ferry in a traffic jam and having a look on the deck after lunch. We see dolphins passing by three times, probably Common Dolphins. Always cool. We are allowed to leave at Holy Head and it is now almost seven o’clock. We drive on the main road towards Liverpool and leave at Dwygyfylchi to eat in The Gladstone. The hotel with restaurant has a view of the beach and the sunset turns the sky orange. After dinner continue to Liverpool. The main road is closed, so we opt for an alternative. In Liverpool we suddenly find ourselves in front of a tunnel that is closed. No sign or anything like that. but pawns on the road. Well great. We looked for an alternative with Maps and via the other tunnel we arrived at the other side of the water. Winding through the city we arrive at the hotel in the center on the river.
Fortunately, the breakfast buffet also has real English food and can include an egg with bacon and a sausage. Also some fruit and yogurt to compensate. We walk to the other side of the road and see the building that we already saw from our hotel room, The Royal Liver Building, a beautiful building from around 1900 with two Liver Birds, looking like cormorants, on the roof. Later we see that they are the birds from the Liverpool coat of arms. In addition to the building, other beautiful examples are The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building. These old buildings adorn the quay. A little further on the modern Museum of Liverpool and a little further the Albert Docks with some old ships in the dry docks and old harbor buildings. Then the Merseyside Maritime Museum. For a change, entrance is free and we start on the 2nd floor. Also here is an exhibition about the Titanic, as the Star Line had its headquarters here. Interesting museum from old to new ships. A coffee at the harbor and then into the city. The old center has much more to offer than we thought and the old buildings are appealing. We walk past the Town Hall, the station, Saint George’s Hall, The Bombed Out Church and finally the Liverpool Cathedral. The cathedral from 1904 to 1978 is built from red sandstone and has a Gothic character. Special. Back to the car and then towards London. We largely follow the M6 and eventually reach Milton Keynes where we spend the night.
Sunday morning breakfast and on the road. Fifteen minutes later we are at the gate of Bletchley Park. A large security guard lets us in and tells us where to park. We are too early and have to wait until 9:25 am before the museum opens. We wait in the sun on the bench next to the entrance and the security guard comes to have a chat. He was stationed at Ramstein in Germany, but has also been to the Netherlands more often. The museum opens and we go inside. We only have 2.5 hours and so we have to make choices. The intro, the mansion and cabin 1, 3, 6, 8 and 11 should not be missed. Lots of information about encryption and how to crack it. About the people who worked there and that at the end of the Second World War about 9,000 people worked there. We see the workplace of Turing and his colleagues, the Enigma, how it works, read about the Bomba and Bombe, how the Poles helped the English on their way. Lots of encryption methods and machines, what it meant for the course of the war and much more. Very interesting. It’s almost 12 o’clock again and we have to wrap up. Quickly through Block A and then into the car to the tunnel in Flagstone. We are on time and can catch the train earlier. Have something to eat along the way and then the beautiful trip is over.