|Street view of St George's Market|
|Who knew worms could travel so fast?|
Cuddling up on the couch, and watching the very entertaining game was the perfect way to end a day.
Showers, and not the warm, wake you in a good way kind, we what we rose to this morning. We were to head south today and a few places we wanted to stop were outdoor activities. Today was cold, wet and damp. Definitely the wettest day since we have been here, it didn't let up. We headed toward the aquarium at the mouth of Strangford Lough. Exploris is Northern Ireland's only aquarium but also acts as a seal rescue centre for orphaned seal pups. Gavin had fallen asleep on the scenic and winding drive around the lough and was particularly clingy and sensitive for the first 30-45 minutes we were at the aquarium. He freaked out when cod fish swam quickly towards him much the same way he does with dogs that get too close to him. His curiosity finally got the better of him in the middle of the presentation at the touch tanks that enabled us to learn about and touch dogfish sharks, rays, sea urchins, starfish, scallops and even a shark egg. After then, he happily explored all the exhibits making his own fish faces and excitedly pointing out details to the rest of us. We were able to see jellyfish, the same as the ones we had spotted on the beach near Galway, moving through water rather than in the sand. It answered the curiosities that we had had at the time about how long their tentacles were and why they had purple rings inside. We observed back-lit shark eggs just like the ones we had handled that you could see the actual baby shark swimming inside. And we also go to see six rescued seals all between one and four weeks old. They had been rescued from all parts of NI and all named after tropical islands. In two to three months, after they learn to swim and when ready, they will be released back into the wild.
A short ferry ride from Portaferry to Strangford brought us to Castle Ward, an 18th century home that is classically designed on one side and Gothic on the side over looking the lough.The property is 820 acres and not ideally explored on a damp rainy day. there are walking trails, bike trails (and rentals) and you can even explore by horseback if you have a horse and a permit.
The house was magnificently displayed. Self guided tour sheets were given to each of us when we entered the home. The little ones got a scavenger hunt to keep their interest. There were pictures of feet from each room. Statues, table legs, silhouettes, urns and taxidermy squirrels were among some of the feet they had to identify from the close up photograph.