It is a proven fact that both of us will fall sick at least once throughout the course of a cycling trip.

For Jess, her time was now. As she woke up to the sound of rain, she was painfully aware that everything in her body hurt and she needed some medication, fast. But what we both craved more than anything was sleep. So after a lovely breakfast by Pat, we crawled back upstairs and hung out for a bit, relaxing and talking about how we wanted to spend our first rest day.

 Bishop Street Without - literally the name of the street outside the city walls.

Bishop Street Without - literally the name of the street outside the city walls.

 Once you're inside the city walls, the name changes to this.

Once you're inside the city walls, the name changes to this.

First up was a walk through town to the nearest pharmacy, where we stocked up on the strongest over-the-counter pills money could buy. Jess walked over to the till to pay up, where an amusing exchange then occurred:

Cashier: "Do you happen to have two pence?"
Jess: "I think so...ah yes! Here's two cents."
Neil: "PENCE, not cents! God, Americans. You can't take them anywhere."
Entire store: "Oh ho ho ho."

We then decided to wander around for a bit to pass the time until our tour of the Bogside. Derry is small enough that you can comfortably walk around its winding streets and sharp hills in a day.

It was raining softly as we came across the Guildhall Square, and everyone looked tired. There are reminders of Derry's tumultuous history everywhere. And even though people have worked hard to move past it and look ahead to the future, what happened here is inescapable. You can feel it in the air.

 The Guildhall. Its neoclassical architecture makes it seem as if it's a church of some kind, but it's actually where local political parties meet each month.

The Guildhall. Its neoclassical architecture makes it seem as if it's a church of some kind, but it's actually where local political parties meet each month.

 "I used to be a knight like you. Then I took a shrubbery to the Ni."

"I used to be a knight like you. Then I took a shrubbery to the Ni."

 A happy reminder of home. We were surprised that Erdinger had even made it here.

A happy reminder of home. We were surprised that Erdinger had even made it here.

 Ah, the ol' Norn Iron wit again.

Ah, the ol' Norn Iron wit again.

After nipping into a diner for a quick lunch of toasties and beef stew, we made our way to the Museum of Free Derry, where our tour was to originate from. It's in temporary premises right now as they refurbish their usual home, so Jess gave them a call to find out where we should go.

"He said Shipkey Street, but that's not on the map"
"That's because it's Shipquay Street"
"But that's a stupid way to pronounce that word!"
"Mutter mutter Americans grumble grumble"

At the entrance of the museum, we were welcomed by the curator, who gave us a short introduction. He was the younger brother of one of the victims of Bloody Sunday, and you could tell that this place held a great deal of significance for him. The museum was a mausoleum of sorts, filled with personal effects of the victims that were either taken from the bodies directly or donated by their families. Regardless of whatever perspective you subscribed to, the overwhelming feeling as you walked through the exhibit was one of loss. So many of the people who died were too young.

At two o'clock, we walked back to the museum entrance and met up with the rest of our tour group. Our guide was a self-proclaimed "former political prisoner" (read: IRA member) who took an immediate interest in the fact that Neil was "a local boy".

"I'm sure you already know all the crack about here", he said grinning.
"Not as much as I should. There's always something to learn", Neil responded guardedly.

This wasn't the first time people here had wanted to know more about Neil's history. For the most part, the inquiries were completely harmless curiosity from people interested in what this guy from their tiny country was doing cycling around it on a tandem. Our guide was nothing but cordial and polite to us during the tour. But growing up in Northern Ireland had also taught Neil that you never really know who you're talking to, and whilst that person might be innocent enough, the people they surround themselves with may not be so kind. It was just easier to keep your guard up, keep your head down, and not associate with anything if you could help it.

The story began at William Street, and for the next hour, our guide led us through points of importance for the Bogside residents, almost all of whom identify as Irish Nationalist or Republican. The stories we heard and the murals we saw highlighted the struggles which had befallen this population. There's always multiple sides to any tale, and this tour was very much a local's perspective which it would be hard to get elsewhere.

 Walking towards William Street.

Walking towards William Street.

 The roundabout at William Street, generally considered the start of the Bogside.

The roundabout at William Street, generally considered the start of the Bogside.

 The Peace Mural - one of the more recent ones to be completed. Finished and unveiled in July 2004.

The Peace Mural - one of the more recent ones to be completed. Finished and unveiled in July 2004.

 This used to be The Hunger Strike Mural, before it was vandalised and repainted over.

This used to be The Hunger Strike Mural, before it was vandalised and repainted over.

 A Tribute to John Hume, which also features Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela. The Brooklyn Bridge is also featured, as they were all seen as bridge builders within their communities. All four had also been the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

A Tribute to John Hume, which also features Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela. The Brooklyn Bridge is also featured, as they were all seen as bridge builders within their communities. All four had also been the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

 Crossfire.

Crossfire.

 The Saturday Matinee - named because many of the riots in the Bogside took place on a weekend afternoon. Our guide told us an anecdote about how he and his friends used to watch the riots happen in the morning, go home for dinner, and come back to catch the rest of it. 

The Saturday Matinee - named because many of the riots in the Bogside took place on a weekend afternoon. Our guide told us an anecdote about how he and his friends used to watch the riots happen in the morning, go home for dinner, and come back to catch the rest of it. 

 The Civil Rights Mural commemorates the beginning of the struggle for democracy in the Bogside.

The Civil Rights Mural commemorates the beginning of the struggle for democracy in the Bogside.

 It was rumoured that the police had been the ones who had desecrated this memorial.

It was rumoured that the police had been the ones who had desecrated this memorial.

 The Runner, which depicts the extensive usage of tear gas during riots, shows a young boy running away after a canister has just exploded. Beneath are two portraits commemorating Manus Deery and Charles Love, who died as a result of The Troubles. 

The Runner, which depicts the extensive usage of tear gas during riots, shows a young boy running away after a canister has just exploded. Beneath are two portraits commemorating Manus Deery and Charles Love, who died as a result of The Troubles. 

 Bloody Sunday Mural, unveiled on January 30, 1999 during the 25th anniversary of the events that occurred on that day. British soldiers shot into a crowd of unarmed civilians and 14 people died. What you see is a local Catholic priest (later identified as Bishop Daly) carrying the body of Jack Duddy from the scene. Not pictured is the bottom portion of the mural, which depicts a bloodstained "civil rights" banner, used to cover one of the bodies.

Bloody Sunday Mural, unveiled on January 30, 1999 during the 25th anniversary of the events that occurred on that day. British soldiers shot into a crowd of unarmed civilians and 14 people died. What you see is a local Catholic priest (later identified as Bishop Daly) carrying the body of Jack Duddy from the scene. Not pictured is the bottom portion of the mural, which depicts a bloodstained "civil rights" banner, used to cover one of the bodies.

 "Join RNU Now"

"Join RNU Now"

 The Petrol Bomber, which shows a young boy in a mask running away from tear gas whilst holding a petrol bomb. 

The Petrol Bomber, which shows a young boy in a mask running away from tear gas whilst holding a petrol bomb. 

 Under renovation when we were in Derry was the famous mural depicting Bernadette Devlin addressing the crowds on the streets of the Bogside. At age 21, she was the youngest MP ever elected to Parliament at the time, and she was convicted of incitement to riot in December 1969.

Under renovation when we were in Derry was the famous mural depicting Bernadette Devlin addressing the crowds on the streets of the Bogside. At age 21, she was the youngest MP ever elected to Parliament at the time, and she was convicted of incitement to riot in December 1969.

 Free Derry Corner, originally painted in January 1969 to indicate the self-declared autonomous nationalist area of Derry that existed between 1969 and 1972.

Free Derry Corner, originally painted in January 1969 to indicate the self-declared autonomous nationalist area of Derry that existed between 1969 and 1972.

 Memorial to the deceased as a result of Bloody Sunday.

Memorial to the deceased as a result of Bloody Sunday.

After the tour concluded at the Bloody Sunday Memorial, we took a walk back into the centre of town for a wee break and game of cards at the Central Bar. In the corner was the obligatory unruly drunk, remarkable only in that he was three sheets to the wind at 4PM on a Wednesday. He was harassing a blonde-haired woman sitting at the counter, convinced she reminded him of somebody. We could see the cogs in his addled brain turning as he figured out her doppelgänger. "Yer woman... Singer... Country... Kenny Rogers... DOLLY PARTON!".

Minutes later he realised just how drunk he was and threw himself out of the bar before the handful of other punters had the chance to take exception to his continued presence.

This entire interlude reminded us how different environments sound when you understand the language natively. In Berlin, unless we're really concentrating and trying to listen, most of the conversations around us float in the air like white noise, and our ears just tune it out. Once you re-enter a place where you speak the native language, it's as if the volume is turned back up to 11, and it can be exhausting.

We were headed across the river for our last meal in Derry, when a woman came over to Jess and started talking to her like they were long lost friends. In her feverish haze, it took a moment before she realised that it was the cashier from the pharmacy this morning, who had remembered her specifically due to the "Americans. Can't take them anywhere" comment. Laughs were had, and the cashier wished us well for the rest of the journey. Moments like these are what stand out to us the most, and it was a lovely reminder of how kind people are here. 

Onwards to the Walled City Brewery, which prided itself on providing food and drinks that were purely from Derry or the surrounding areas in Northern Ireland. They had a nice selection of tapas and pricey craft beers, with a lovely view of the Peace Bridge and city on the other side. It was a relaxing way to end our two days here, and we again went to bed early, filled with anticipation over what our trip to Omagh in the morning might look like.

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