In Belfast we took the ships shuttle to town and took the Hop on Hop off bus around especially enjoying the stretch where we viewed the murals and the description of them and the troubles. On highway stretches it was very hard to hear what the guide was saying.We hopped off and had a Guiness in a cute little pub where they poured it slowly and it was delicious. Then we sat and talked to a local family enjoying the conversation.
Liverpool has so many wonderful museums within easy walking distance of where the ship docks. There are two wonderful Beattles museums. We saw both, enjoying the interactive experience and the addition of the Elvis wing which we also explored. We did the Fab 4 ride. Then we went over to the Maritime museum and learned of the history of Slavery, but didn't have time to visit the Liverpool museum or the Tate Art museum also right there. We could have used more time in Liverpool.
The bus was covered with windows so it was hard to take pictures through it. This was the frustrating part of the Hop on Hop off buses. Also the dialogue is not always well syncronized with what you are seeing.
Guinness Storehouse Rating:
We took the ship shuttle into town and got on the Hop on Hop off bus learning about Dublin history. We got off at the Guiness Storehouse which was a fun tour of the brewery but was very crowded especially at the top floor where we got our pint of beer and squeezed into a corner for our very limited panoramic view of Dublin. The energy of the young people there was contagious. We also got off at Dublinia and ChristChurch. Dublinia was a fun Disneylike walk through Dublins history, better done with a child in tow.
Bragi took us to the Blue Lagoon on the second day of his tour and we loved it,from the electronic lockers that locked and unlocked with our wrist band that we also used to order a beer from the swim up bar, to the hot blue waters that felt so good after the short walk in the cold air to the huge pool. What an amazing spa!
City Tour Rating:
We loved touring Reykavik on the morning of our second day with Bragi of brtours. We hit all the highspots including the amazing church, various residential areas- Bragi's own swimming pool and spa which was visited by a group of school children and some amorous lovers in the hot tub while we were there.
Geothermal Power Plant Rating:
We learned about how the amazing Icelandic phenomenon came about and how all that power is being used. The short movie however was not well syncronized with our small tour group, so we ended up seeing it twice. We fit this stop in after our Golden Circle tour on our first day with Bragi.
Geysir Walking Tour Rating:
We did this tour of the geysir and mudpots after our swim at the Blue Lagoon and it was a lot of fun, if a bit smelley. This was on our second day with Bragi.
Golden Circle Rating:
A fascinating look at Iceland and its geothermal phenomenon. We did it with Bragi of brtours and had a wonderful time.
Gullfoss Waterfall Rating:
We visited Gullfoss on the first day with Bragi of brtours and were amazed at its beauty and power. The lamb stew lunch with the homemade bread at the nearby cafe was also very good.
The Pearl Rating:
We toured the Pearl at the end of our first day with Bragi after our Golden Circle tour. It is a beautiful building and the panoramic view from the top is spellbinding.
Thingvellir National Park Rating:
It is a beautiful park with some amazing geothermal phenomenon going on. Don't miss it as part of your Golden Circle tour.
We took the Hop on Hop on bus which was the best of the bunch as we had a hilarious guide who kept us all interested and laughing at the funny bits of Edinburgh history.
Edinburgh Castle Rating:
Not only is this a fascinating castle, but it has museums in it detailing Scottish military history, the royal jewels, etc. We heard the cannon go off at 1 PM and were taken around by a guide who explained it all to us (free).
The Canal tour was in 4 languages which made the description of what we were seeing rather short and it was difficult to take pictures though the glass. Nonetheless Amsterdam is beautiful and it was fun to see it this way.
Delft Blue Pottery factory Rating:
We took an afternoon tour after the cruise which included Delft, the Hague and Maurodam. The entire tour was interesting and fun although the Delft authentic pottery was much more expensive than the supposedly imitation Delft found in all the nonsanctioned shops everywhere else. The Hague has all the government buildings and embasseys which are beautiful and Maurodam has the major buidings and monuments in miniature where we wandered about having fun.