• Nadine Almer

Day 117 & 118: Green Glasgow & Tales of the nearly impossible task of getting to Northern Ireland

28.4. & 29.4.2021


Two days, two parks and a lot of walking taught me once more the importance of letting go of expectations. I am grateful for that lesson even if it took a toll on me during my first day here.

After my arrival on Tuesday evening I just had a quick survey of my surrounding area, basically green spots for Marjorie's as well as healthy, vegan food for my own needs. Having found all that I focused on researching green, dog friendly spaces online. Thanks to a wonderful website called borrowmydog, I was looking forward to a four parks in four days exploration during my stay in Glasgow.


Glasgow Green turned out to be lovely and it is rather big considering that it is a park practically in the city centre. Filled with huge areas of plain grass, a nice river on one side and a lot of dogs off their leads, Marjorie and I enjoyed a couple of lovely, spontaneous chats and sniffs with friendly two- and four-legged beings. The weather was treating us to a lot of sunshine and no rain at all. I was even able to find some magical shots.

After four hours of exploring the whole park and promenading through the city (getting lost and finding our way several times), we returned to our hotel room. While Marjorie was fast asleep, I turned my attention to booking the next part of our travels.

On Sunday, 2nd of May, we are expected by our next host at the Stena Terminal in Belfast. There are basically four options to get there. Firstly you can book a coachservice that is all inclusive, meaning you get on in Glasgow and get off in Belfast including the ferry ride. Or you can take the train to Cairnryan, which is the town from where the ferry takes off to Belfast, so you buy the train ticket and ferry ticket sepratedly. Also you can take the car, providing you own one of course. Therefore option one seemed to be the one to go for. Since there are only two bus companies that operate this route (Hobbard and Ulsterbus/Citylink) and one of them states on their website they will not provide this service until the 6th of May due to government guidelines, and the other one has a no pet policy for medium or large dogs, the carefree and easiest option turned out to be no option for Marjorie and me.

By this point my brain was already overwhelmed with finding travel possibilities, reading terms and conditions sheets from various coachservice providers, research for possible alternatives to get to the ferry terminal in Cairnryan, mails to and from Citylink customer services (the only coachservice provider for this route), as well as government guidelines and restriction research for travelling from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

Returning to option two, the train with Scottish Railway, also turned out to be a dead end because this service apparently wasn't provided too, the train would only take me halfway to Ayrn.

I was gutted and once more a lump was forming in my throat with the feeling of hopelessness- was I stranded now, how was I supposed to get to Northern Ireland?

Best thing to do after spending hours in front of the computer with a troubled heart and mind- order food and go to sleep. The most delicious vegan burger with the best flavoured fries (rosemary and salt) and a mouth watering vegan vanilla milkshake, combined with a lot of cheering up and encouraging words from my newfound friends on the Isle of Lewis as well as my best friend from Switzerland, a sleep in without a set alarm, and the next morning things did not seem so dark anymore.


Kelvingrove Park turns out to be another nice green dot on the map. Although the river is fenced and it is smaller than Glasgow Green, Marjorie and I enjoyed it very much. We sneeked a few times over the fence though because it was a very sunny day and what better for a dog than step with their paws into the cooling stream and refresh themselves with a nice, cold drink. For lunch we stopped at a nice corner cafe which was situated on a street but still had a view on the pure green treetops of the outskirts of the park. I treated myself to a vegan falafel and salad plate with coffee, accompanied by a vegan cinnamon roll, Marjorie enjoyed her sausage.

By this time it was absolutely clear that I would not be able to travel with the bus company and since I could only achieve half of the distance via train I just let go of the plan I had and formulated another one, which again was kind of a huge endeavour in itself, yet again.

I spend two hours researching BnBs, hostels, hotels and guest houses in Ayr that would take me in with a dog. My, my, this turns out to be the challenge of a lifetime. Finally I am able to report that I found an AirBnB host that welcomes dogs as well, so Marjorie and I will travel from Glasgow to Ayr and stay here until Tuesday. This should buy me enough time to find some local bus company that will take me to Cairnryan, from where I ant to board the ferry to Belfast. If I am lucky enough all will go according to plan, which, as I am writing this, brings me to laugh out loud since nothing has worked out the way I planned since I leaving Switzerland. Either way, I will acknowledge that everything always turned out for the best even if I had not realized it back at the time.


So please, everyone out there, fingers crossed for Marjorie and me, that we will find a way to get to Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

I sent you love and light and thanks for your support

Nadine

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