The 2nd of 2 Titanic weekends

Welcome home to us. 4 days in Madrid later with a bare minimum of tweets, facebooking and blogging and Belfast Times is back in NI. Well strictly speaking I’m typing this from Madrid airport, but by the time it goes live, we’ll be home. Did we miss much?
I guess the whole Titanic thing has really calmed down a lot now, its seems so long ago as well! But we made the most of it during the whole centenary weekend. Starting it all off with a 3 night stopover right in the middle of Belfast at the Fitzwilliam Hotel. The 5 star Fitzwilliam is very modern and stylish and the staff are friendly and helpful, it almost reminded us of our last hotel stay in New York in the Royalton Hotel. Having just had 3 nights in a 5 star hotel in Madrid, I would question how star ratings are worked out in different countries as one 5 star was at a different level of service than the other.
Our first day in Belfast was up to the fabulous Ulster Museum, and wow..loved it so much. The consequences of that are my MAC expectations are sky high. Then walking back in through the city past a few Belfast Times stockists to say hello, and on to the Titanic Walking Tour then finishing off the day with the fun, but very cold Titanic Sounds concert.
On the 14th we were up and ready for our second Titanic day, but breakfast, a bit of window shopping, then lunch got priority. Lunch was in our favourite Deane’s Deli, yum!
The afternoon was my first official press conference, and who was it with, but the great Dr Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic. Could I get a more impressive first press conference than that? The man was totally inspirational as he spoke about his discovery of the ship and his passion for preserving it.

Followed up by a Titanic Belfast tour with my chums who, as most people seem to be, were impressed by the building and are all set to go back for a second visit.
That night I had tickets for an event which no one really knew what to expect, and after a bit of persuasion with my chums, it turned out to be the absolute highlight of the whole weekend. We arrived at the Drawing rooms just before 11pm to find a row of candles outside and the rooms lit up purple and looking stunning. And there a commemoration of the Titanic sinking began. We were each given a piece of paper with 9 names on it, which we were told we’d need later.
By 1140 we moved over to Titanic Belfast and gathered on the balconies inside. Then, on the interior wall, we watched the projection of the virtual choir I have already posted on here. I left the main crowd and went to the window overlooking the slipways. I looked down at the lights on the ground marking the ships journey across the Atlantic, and focused on the point where the lights ended, depicting the exact point the ship sank. It was here I held my own personal commemoration as watching the end of the lights, I realised that exactly 100 years ago, people were dying alone in the middle of an icy Atlantic Ocean.
We all headed outside to what was described as a place of beginnings, to a point where we could see where the Titanic was born in the Drawing Rooms, where we could see the slipways it was built on, we could see the Nomadic which took the passengers to the ship, and behind us was the new beginning of the Titanic story for Belfast. It was here we got out our bits of paper we had been carrying for the last hour. The names we carried were, in total, the names of all the passengers who didn’t survive. All at once, we read these names out loud, to remember all those who died. It was touching, emotional and a moment we will never forget.
I don’t know what it is with the Titanic story which has captured the imagination of so many people around the world, but at that moment at the place of beginnings, we all felt part of history.


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