Saturday, May 18, 2013

Belfast and the time I stood right where the Titanic stood


Before I say anything else, I would just like to say that there is no way that Kate Winslet fit into the dress they have on display. There is no way I would fit into it and I think I'm a few sizes smaller than Kate in Titanic. The thing is like 20 inches around.

Now that I have that off my chest.

So, Belfast. I don't think any of us were expecting snow in April, but sure enough there was snow up in the hills and I could definitely feel it in the wind. Oh. that wind. That freezing arctic wind. Sometimes I still have dreams about the wind. They are very cold dreams. 

There's really not much to do in Belfast as far as sightseeing goes. Probably the best and coolest thing to do by far is to see the Titanic's dry dock and pump-house. You can take a highly entertaining tour by an Irishman (again, the accent. It just makes their jokes funnier.) and you get to climb down inside to see how big the titanic really was. The dock itself is 40 feet in depth. The White Star House (in picture 12) is 40 feet high and was built to show how high the deck would have been when the Titanic was in the dock.That sure makes you feel small. Then add on the smoke stacks and you feel even smaller. 

It was really surreal to stand in the same place the Titanic was 101 years ago exactly. We visited on April 1, 2013 The Titanic set sail for Liverpool on April 2nd, 1912. They told us that pretty much nothing has been changed in the dock. So what we see is how it looked over 100 years ago. Except maybe the graffiti on the walls (which was done by the dockworkers by the way).

We also visited the brand new Titanic Experience. It has recreations of the cabins (which were really cool) and so much information about every tiny detail of life on board. For example, the Titanic carried every linen it would need for the entire transatlantic trip. It had 45,000 napkins on board. I'm kind of a sucker for fun facts like that. They must have had a really big linen room.

There was an exhibit that listed all of the last transmissions to and from the Titanic as well as to and from ships that had received its SOS. The saddest part was the huge walls of life stories of the passengers on board that died. I don't even remember what any of them said specifically, but it makes me sad just thinking about it. I guess when you put names and faces to people, it makes the tragedy all the more real. 

The last part of the exhibit was a giant screen that recreates the first discovery of the sunken Titanic. There is also a screen under a glass floor that travels across the length of the ship like you are actually in a submarine. Or floating in the water or something. It was pretty cool I guess. It showed the captain's bathtub. 

The Titanic Experience is built right beside the Titanic's slip dock where the shell of the ship was built. The picture of Forrest above is of him slipping on the slip dock. Just for anybody who was wondering about that. That guy kills me. 

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