Our day off in Derry, Northern Ireland

If you, dear reader, ever decide to go on a trip like Dan and I are on, after a few weeks you might notice something. It’s just a general fatigue. Your legs are tired all the time from walking an average of about 8 miles a day. People keep you up at night at your hostel by coming in at 3:30 in the morning and chatting for an hour (rude…). The day tours keep adding up. You simply cannot see another church as they all begin to look the same and are all very old. What should be the greatest thing ever at all times is starting to feel a little, well, tired. How do you get the spark back in the trip?

You take a day off. Think about it. Working a full time job is exhausting even though most people generally aren’t really doing anything physical at all. You need the weekend, both for practical reasons like running errands, and also to recuperate from an exhausting work week. Well, when you are traveling long term, there are no weekends. Every day you are somewhere new and exciting so “taking a day off” would feel like wasting your precious time at whatever location you are in. Dan and I have gone over 3 weeks without a day off. I’m certainly not asking for pity (that would be crazy), I’m just explaining how travel can become exhausting when it is supposed to be awesome.

So we decided to take today and not overexert ourselves. We are lucky, Derry is a small town and we walked a lot of it yesterday. We felt like we wouldn’t be missing too much by taking it easy today.

So, what does one do on a day off? I decided that I needed a hair cut. I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures in the other posts, but my hair is long. Way too long to be anything but annoying to me. Plus traveling has damaged the crap out of it. The problem is that hair cuts are expensive! And I personally don’t think my hair is worth $50 or more… So with the help of a guy who works at the hostel we are staying at we found a hair and beauty school here. This morning, after breakfast, Dan and I walked over there. Unfortunately, they are out of class for summer so the long hair will remain until further notice. Much to my chagrin…

Then we continued our day off by checking out the Guildhall here in Derry, going to the Centre for Contemporary Arts inside the walled city, and finally we went to hear an organ concert at St. Columb’s Cathedral. (yes, I recognize that the last one is yet another church, but the recital was part of Fleadh Cheoil, an event to promote Irish culture, not just we went to the church to see the church.) I know it sounds like a lot, but really these events took place over 4 hours and none of them took up even an hour of time. It was a leisurely mid-day.

We had lunch back at the hostel, with groceries we picked up at Mark and Spencers (vegan options in Derry are slim, fyi. Best bet is to cook for yourself!), then we went out for our real Day Off activity! We went to the movies!

Minions in arcade game at Derry movie theater

Minions in the arcade game at the Derry movie theater

Things you should know about the movies in Derry: 1) It costs 4.50 pounds. For an adult ticket. That’s only $6.75!! Our movie tickets added together cost less than one ticket to a movie in NYC right now. 2) there are 20 minutes of commercials – not previews, but commercials – before the movie and then only 2 previews. A bit of a disappointment. 3) the movie times were weird. We went to a 4pm movie on a Wednesday. Who goes to a 4pm movie on a Wednesday?! The answer: No one. We had the entire theater to ourselves. Which meant we chatted and laughed very very loudly during the film. Fun!

We saw The Heat. Dan loved it, I liked it. Action movies really aren’t my thing, but at least it was funny! Regardless, it served its purpose. Our day off was a success. Plus the beauty of movies is that they are the same everywhere. We could have been at the Regal in Union Square, NYC for all we could tell once that movie was rolling. My scientific opinion is that this helps stave off home sickness as well, but who knows?

Now we will play board games and surf the web for the rest of the night and then tomorrow, back to the grind. Another long travel day as we head out of Derry by bus, bus, ferry, and a bus to Glasgow, Scotland. Thanks, Derry, for being small enough to give us a day off. We needed it!