It was 9am and I was ready for my black cab tour. I had booked this tour two months in advance – that’s pretty good for me, because I’m someone who doesn’t ever book anything whilst travelling. I had found out about the black cab tours two years prior when I was travelling though Belfast. A follow traveller said it helped him better understand what happened during “The Troubles” because his tour guide gave him first-hand accounts because he actually lived it.
This was something that I wanted to learn more about and I have something to tell you: I am emotionally shattered from this experience.
When the tour finished, I felt like I had been though some sort of emotional war though reliving what my guide, John, experienced. And to be completely honest, I’ve been battling with the idea all day whether or not I should write anything about this.
The reason why I’m struggling with writing about this experience is because whatever I write won’t do this time of history any justice. I don’t want to get facts wrong and I don’t want to take away from what “The Troubles” was/is. People died… and it really bothers me.
What I can say is, I’ve been incredibly affected by the experience and I can only imagine how it affected the locals. While at one of the stops on the tour, John pointed to a another guide and said, ‘He survived a gun shot wound’ and then followed up with, “he’s a lovely fella.”
I’ve been thinking about John’s stories all day and I’m still reeling from them. Why? Because for an hour and a half, my guide gave first-hand accounts of what he lived though.
I won’t be saying much more because I don’t feel that it’s my place. In saying this, I do suggest that if you are in Belfast, to take a black cab tour. Your guide has the knowledge and sadly, the experience.
To be honest, I did a bit of ‘internet’ research. I spent a few days reading up on my Northern Ireland history, but I was completely and emotionally unprepared for what I heard and saw.
I wish I had something compelling or profound to say, but I don’t. And, since the stuff I write is usually only a few short paragraphs, it wouldn’t give this topic any justice. Instead, I’ll just leave you with a few powerful images.
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!