Northern Ireland Adventures: How to Get There

I mentioned last week that I will be travelling to Belfast to celebrate the end of my internship, so isn’t it a surprise that I am currently typing this post up from a backpacker’s hostel in Belfast? And a damn good hostel, too, with its own Netflix subscription and multiple wi-fi networks. I’ve been to my fair share of hostels. and let me just say that Lagan Backpackers near Queen’s University Belfast is definitely in my Top 10.

Anyway, if you’re curious as to how my city-break-turned-geeky-adventure is coming along, just keep on scrolling It’s only the first day and already I’ve gone over budget because I left my train tickets at home – silly me!

LiberaTarts Tackles Northern Ireland

THE PLAN

Take a train from home to London Victoria train station. Ride the National Express coach from the coach station to Stansted Airport. Fly to Belfast using the ever so friendly budget airline, Ryan Air. Total cost for all this plus the return tickets back? £51.21.

WHAT WENT WRONG

I left my train tickets at home – or more specifically, I forgot that I had them sent to my by post weeks ago because I like to prepare for these kinds of things. The earlier you buy your train tickets, the cheaper they tend to cost. As it turns out, being prepared like this is counter-intuitive if your memory is as bad as mine. I had to buy another set of train tickets to go to London and for my way back.

But then! More things went wrong.

The train links in the north Kent and south London area has “planned engineering work” so as it turns out, London Victoria was out of commission. I would not have been able to make the coach to Stansted Airport even if I took an uber from Otford, the station closest to Victoria that I could get to. What I had to do in the end was to make my way to Tottenham Hale and grab the Stansted Express train, which cost $$$ that I was not willing to spend.

suitcase and backpack in a train station platform
an attempt at “travelling light”

Once I got to the airport, it was all smooth sailing.

I had a hearty breakfast at Stansted Airport, where I whiled away the time waiting to board my plane by looking for fun things to do in Belfast. I impulse-bought a cycling tour for several Game of Thrones film locations – because really, as a millennial brought up in the digital age, my first thought when someone says “Belfast” is GoT, not Titanic. Apparently, this was where the so-called Ship of Dreams was built? They have a museum dedicated to it and everything.

The Ryan Air flight I took arrived 10 minutes early at Belfast International Airport, though whatever amount of time it saved by doing that was undoubtedly reversed when they took f o r e v e r loading the luggage carousel. From there, I took the Airport Express bus, which cost me a pretty £8, and walked all the way to my hostel because no way am I paying for another bus ticket when I could just walk for 20 minutes.

My total for the day? I would like to say that the ballpark figure for that is £110, which includes all the food, snacks, and coffees I had today. I could have saved around £30ish if only I didn’t lose my train ticket and if I knew in advance that London Victoria was closed for the weekend. But oh well, I’m not complaining… this adventure is only starting, after all!

“It’s not a LiberaTarts trip until I…

  1. forget something at home
  2. get lost while using Google Maps, and
  3. somehow manage to go over budget.”

Ancient Wise Proverb (probably)

Complain as I might, the lovely views I get to witness as I travel will always be worth it.

gif of the view from a plane
flying over Belfast

Over to you guys: Have you ever been to Northern Ireland? Did you mess up travelling there just like I did? (Oh, the woes of those who cannot drive…!) Let me know if there are any hidden gems you think I should visit; I’ve already bookmarked all the popular tourist-y locations and I will attempt to visit them all at some point this week, but I’m always open to suggestions.

My next post will most likely be about my morning trip to all nearby Game of Thrones filming locations, so keep an eye out for that if that tickles your fancy.