Monday, August 11, 2014

Giant's Causeway

(As I write, I'm listening to Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.  You can sort of see how it's going to go from the start -- the restaurant has no customers and they blame the community:  apparently, the public doesn't know what good cooking tastes like.)

Yesterday, we went to Giant's Causeway.  This is a cool volcanic, er, thingy in Northern Ireland.  Geological feature.  Honestly, the only things I remembered that the tour director told us about the place is that it was developed between 45 and 10 million years ago and that the features are polygonal in appearance.  Our tour director, in the mis-speak of the day, said that we'd see "five-, six-, or seven-sided hexagons," and maybe even some "eight-sided hexagons."  At this point, I actually heard murmurs of "eight-sided hexagons?" up and down the bus.  As Inigo Montoya famously said, "You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means."

Kidding aside, though, it's actually pretty effin' impressive.

It was largely impossible to get pictures without people in them because there were people (damn near literally) crawling all over this.  The (mostly) hexagonal posts of differing heights sort of create a natural walkway or staircase.  I was kind of entranced by this particular section of it because of its two-tone nature.

Now, see that little flow of water on the left over there?  If you step out beyond it (which I was able to do on the left, out of the picture) and look back, you can see some really cool, well, balls.

Here they are up close.

I was able to get fairly near them.  I just walked a path of stones (of varying, but similar) column heights, over towards the edge, where they abruptly ended.  Here's one of those standard pictures of one of my shoes ... this one is a few hexagons from the edge.

It was really pretty impressive.  It's located at the bottom of a half-mile road -- we took a shuttle out there (in the rain) and then, when it dumped us off, I just climbed out onto the stones and saw all that.  I then went back to the road where the shuttle stop was and continued along the path.  I stumbled upon a much less crowded area, with some really tall columns.  (I actually took this picture of someone taking a picture of someone else standing next to the columns, but I think it helps for scale.)

I then walked back to catch the shuttle, and the line was long.  I did a little math and decided I would be better off just walking back, rather than waiting in the rain and the wind for the next shuttle.  On my way back up the hill, I got this pretty view of the next cove over.

Last (and totally unrelated) picture was from before Giant's Causeway -- our tour group had a lunch reservation at noon, and we were a little early getting there, so the tour director took us on a detour over to Castle Timekiller for a photo stop.

Obviously, it has a real name, and a story (which involved the kitchen collapsing -- probably into the sea -- and a haunting), but it was basically a really nifty photo. 

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