You go to a Thai restaurant, study the menu, then order a Thai Green Curry or Pad Thai. Go out to a Chinese restaurant, look at all the tasty choices, order the usual curry or Honey Chilli Chicken.
Each time we say the same thing - promising to try something new the next time rather than sticking to what you know. Well, you are in a higher state of hunger after all.
Fear of missing out. #FOMO
The same truth exists with a trip up to Northern Ireland's Causeway Coast - each time we promise ourselves we'll go a little further. Check out somewhere new.
TO THE NORTH...WEST
No messing about on this occasion.
After a quick bit of research and arranging a few things ahead of the weekend, alarms went off on a cloudy Saturday morning and in no time we were on our way to check out some new places.
We had to pick up the usual Greggs coffee-and-breakfast-roll favourite – plus stock up on picnic supplies to save on time later.
Skip forward an hour though and we were on the way out the other side of Limavady town heading in the direction of our first stop for the day.
JUST YOUR TYPICAL SATURDAY MORNING...HOVERCRAFTING
Foylehov is one of Ireland's best outdoor activity centres based in the sprawling flatlands beneath the awesome Binevenagh mountain. The picturesque location is the perfect spot for 'L' plate hovercrafters - i.e. less things to bang into.
A quick look around the old farm buildings that now serve as the centre's reception, you get a good idea of what to expect from your day ahead. We had two activities booked - though we were getting the feeling we'd be back to try the others sometime.
(^ Zoom in on the names on the Top-Gear-like leaderboard. Hoping to get our names on that with our first activity.)
A warm welcome from the staff was followed by a swift change into some super-chic overalls. Our limousine for the afternoon then arrived...
...and after a quick safety/kit-check...
...we were off to the practice area, looking like absolute professionals.
^ Check this out - the guy in the foreground below was booked onto our session as a surprise from his family. He was celebrating his 80th birthday. EIGHTY YEARS OLD. #LifeGoals
Fasten your seatbelts please and stow away tray tables.
Our guide quickly gave us the ins and outs of FLYING the hovercraft and then 5 minutes free 'flying time' to get used to the controls...
The noise of the thing was unbelievable and a bit daunting at first. With a squeeze of a bike-brake-like lever the rotors roared and gradually propelled the craft forward. Quickly the awareness of a large fan being just at your backside was replaced with the feeling of fun flying the thing around the field.
Practice session in the bag, it was now time for our official timed lap over on the hovercraft track - a mixture of fast straights, short stretches of water, chicanes and hairpin turns. Brilliant fun.
...and let's just skip over the fact neither of us made the top of the leaderboard.
HOVERCRAFTING VIDEO JUST ADDED!
With little time to reflect on the hovercrafting action, we headed on over to our second activity - the Powerturn Buggies.
As weird as this sounds, probably the best way to describe these vehicles is like a wheelchair with two engines - each driving a wheel and the only way to turn was like an army tank - giving one side more or less power.
Just like the hovercrafts, a bit of practice (messing-about) time was needed before letting us loose on the timed race track. Getting your mind round the 'no steering wheel' situation took just a little longer than the hovercraft practice. The front wheels spend more time being a passenger than a functioning bit of kit.
...but on this occasion, chuffed to say I made it to 2nd* position on the all-time leaderboard! C wasn't too far behind ;)
*brushes dirt off shoulder.
And on that bombshell, it was time to jump back in (on) our limo, say goodbyes to staff (super-friendly and professional they were) and find somewhere nearby for a picnic munch.
*Oh! One of the other activities on offer, not on that sign pic at the start of this blog post, is football golf. We drove past the course on the way to/from the hovercrafting - looked like great fun.
Pic below is also of the laser-tag combat area - again, another one that looked like great banter (we watched groups ducking and diving about in between our hovercraft laps).
Handy link link to Foylehov's website here.
With dinner around five hours away and hunger having truly kicked in from the exploits earlier, we thankfully didn't need to drive too far to find somewhere with a decent view...
...and you know it's gonna be a great sandwich when...
^ Yes, I lost a sock in the process of post-hovercraft changing. If you get up to Foylehov, can you look for a navy and white-stripe lonely foot coat in the changing area please?
Not a bad view, eh? That's Binevenagh ahead there. On the list for tomorrow if the weather holds up!
But for now, a little bit of luxury was just around the corner.
ROE PARK RESORT, LIMAVADY
While a day of random road-tripping is hard to beat, there's always that tiny thought in the back of the mind once the sun starts to set - "we need to be heading back home soon".
So knowing that the second half of our day (and tomorrow) would be filled with a bit of four star fun - courtesy of Roe Park Resort - and further adventuring, saying the mood was good would be an understatement.
How nice an entrance is this?
Even with the sun all but gone from earlier in the afternoon, the hotel's lovely courtyard made for a very warm welcome. Passing the various top-notch golf and spa facilities, we made our way through to the hotel reception, where the warm greetings continued and also the first proper feeling of Christmas this year.
After a quick overview of the facilities and confirmation dinner was still booked for 8pm (getting hungry again just typing this), our friendly receptionist informed us we would be staying in the Roe Valley Suite tonight. Sounds fancy we thought.
A few minutes later we were outside the room. Does anyone else still get that excited anticipation of opening a hotel room door, seeing where you'll be laying your head for the night?
For a change, we actually remembered to take a few pics on entering (usually too quick to nosy about, switch off and sprawl out) - so rather than trying to explain, here's what greeted us...
....and yes, for some reason I thought Top Gear was the perfect TV programme to have on while taking pics of such a luxurious room. :-/ Note to self - put on Grand Designs or Downton Abbey next time.
Quickly moving on - what about that view from the sofa?
The other side of the room looked out over the golf course - equally as nice but the ceiling to floor/door at this end was the eye-catcher.
**At this point I realise we haven't taken any pics of the views from the other side and jump onto the Roe Park website to see what I can borrow. But, instantly distracted. Check out the 'Luxury Suite' - now that's fancy!
Essentially the other view was similar to this -->
A SWIFT CHANGE OF FOOTWEAR
...for a few hours in the health club's steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and pool...
(^ Grabbed these images off Google/TripAdvisor - no cameras at the pool remember)
...and then, finally it was time for...
3-COURSE DELIGHT AT GREENS RESTAURANT
Just like the lobby area, the restaurant was nicely lit with festive decor, making the experience that little bit more special. The mobile phone camera didn't enjoy the low mood lighting though - so here's a quick snap from breakfast the next morning to get the idea.
Having read the menu during the week (excited much?), both C and I pretty much had our 3 courses picked before the waiter said hello. We did need his help though the debate of white or red wine.
For starters, we both opted for the Crisp BallyBrie Frit - a smooth Irish Brie in a crisp coated crumb, with cinnamon poached pear, raspberry vinaigrette and baby leaf salad. Outcome? Superb.
Then for mains...
I went for the Peppered Rib Eye of Beef, with balsamic roast mushroom, tomato & basil concasse, port & redcurrant sauce. Creamy mash for side.
C had the Lemon & Dill Crusted Fillet of Salmon, with steamed vegetable medley, rocket & toasted walnut salad.
Outcome? Again, both superb. I would go back to the hotel again just for that steak to be honest - flavour-rich and medium-done to the lightest of textures.
C: Trio of Braemar Ice cream, with brandy snap basket & macerated strawberries.
Me: Carrot & Coconut Cake, with orange buttercream & candied pecans.
Both passing with flying colours, they didn't stand a chance of leftovers.
Thought a few pics of the full menu would be handy, for nosiness...
After two more drinks in the hotel bar and more than a few winks in the unbelievably comfy, huge bed, our room's Nespresso Machine and balcony door made for a super-relaxed start to Sunday.
(I'll not post any pics of our tasty, big Irish and Continental breakfasts, presuming you're still full from the dinner pics)
Until next time, Roe Park - thanks for your kind hospitality, superb food and relaxing facilities :)
^^ That's the golf-course-side entrance we exited through by the way ^^
BINEVENAGH: AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY
Less words, more pics now... with no real plan made, we slowly made our way through the Limavady countryside and coast before heading down the road...
^ Spotted these guys not too far from the hotel - apparently there are some good horse-riding experiences in the area. One for the list (I've never been on a horse).
^^ Spotted a short walking trail just inside Binevenagh AONB. Apparently if you catch a falling leaf, it's good luck. #HarderThanItSounds
Only a flying visit to Gortmore View Point, as although the sun was beaut, the temperatures were sitting around 5 degress. Baltic. Plus the wind was starting to batter us; we quickly agreed to come back for a proper look around another time.
(Apart from the messabout photos above, we took a few panoramic vids - will add in here soon, so here's a Google image for now.)
Heading on down the Bishops Road, we came out onto the coast at our final stop of the day, Benone Beach, under the watchful gaze of Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne.
...via a quick stop at the quirky and cool Sea Shed Coffee shop.
And with that, our whirlwhind weekend of Limavady (and surrounding) area was over. As the winter sun began to quickly drop and the temperatures with it, we headed down the road with thoughts already on our next trip back up.
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