23.04.2013 - 23.04.2013 14 °C
We sailed from Ireland to England today. More specifically, our voyage took us from Dublin to Liverpool which is a less travelled route by tourists. There is a trucker's ferry that plies this route and the boat accommodates a limited amount of car traffic as well. It takes eight hours from casting off to docking but the trip is really nine and a half by the time you have accounted for the complicated loading and unloading.
The ferry trip is certainly a change from more traditional ones in that there are two meals included in your ticket price with the first being served even before the boat casts off and the second near the end of the voyage at 3:30 pm. The common areas are a bit worse for wear, but not terrible, while in contrast there are quite nice cabins to be rented at reasonable prices. We booked one and the kids decided to book and pay for their own as well. In one way it felt a bit like a cruise since we could nap and read in the comfort of our own room and look out our own window. In another way it felt like we were emigrating as so many have from Ireland. We have left part of our heart behind on that island. Unlike most stories of Irish emigration, it was a very smooth crossing.
The entrance to Liverpool is unique in that it involves going through a lock. When you approach Liverpool it is hard to believe there can be a port here at all, with all the sand bars and wide beaches and no real natural features that indicate a harbour. Once the lock is negotiated you enter an active industrial shipping port complete with coal loading facility. Not your normal tourist port of call, but quite interesting, to me at least. The rest didn’t give more than a sideways glance while I looked around the ferry continuously during the lock passage and the very involved entry into our docking slip.
Our final destination for the day is Blackpool. Why on earth Blackpool, you may ask? It has been the destination for a working class holiday for over a century and a half and can be considered the ultimate in tackiness. Think of a rundown Reno crossed with a midway. It really is a snapshot of British holiday culture in a way. Unfortunately, it seems Blackpool has fallen on hard times in the 21st century. We will still give it a go. It doesn’t hurt that it has what used to be the biggest and fastest roller coasters in world. It is on the top of our to-do list.
Our accommodation for our time here matches the atmosphere of decline that permeates Blackpool. It is all just very tired looking. It is a one bedroom and there is a Murphy bed in the living room/kitchen which is a cultural artifact in itself. At least the place is clean and the kitchen is well equipped.
It is time for bed and to dream whether or not tomorrow is a rollercoaster kind of day.