My blog was dead for over a year because a person who was dearest to me is dead. I couldn't write, couldn't focus on anything because I was in grief. I still am but I'm slowly getting back to life what means that I'm getting back to writing about my trips.
This one is about Belfast and is difficult because memories are strongly connected to the death of my Granny - she died a day before the trip.
I've decided to go because I didn't want to stay at home crying, I was far away from my family and I wanted to make myself busy, luckily my fiancee was with me during all that difficult time.
It was an awkward trip and I don't remember much about it, even when I was browsing photos I couldn't recall taking many of them. But I still think Belfast is worth to write about because this city makes really interesting first impression.
The thing that drew my attention the most was the art present almost everywhere, on every street, every place, every corner and gate in forms of murals, paintings, drawings and sculptures.
Unlike Dublin, which seems to be cozy, quiet and small town, Belfast looks quite the opposite - it's big, crowded and loud and seems a bit dangerous - when walking down the streets in the night I didn't have the feeling of being completely safe like I have in Dublin.
We arrived by aircoach at the early morning and then went to see the City Hall.
The first thing that stroke us was the specific Northern Irish accent so different than Irish with it's distinctive "sch" like in the word "street" pronounced as "schtreet". I enjoyed the tour of the hall and we were surprised by one very particular thing - we were asked to sign on a list because of the security precautions but nobody checked our identity after that.
Tour lasted for over an hour when our guide told us about history of the Hall, counsellors and Belfast in general.
City Hall looks pretty impressive with that classical Renaissance design, stained glass windows and many sculptures and paintings.
If you're interested in going there more information on the city's official website
We also went to see the Smithfield Market described on the Belfast City Council website as a place where there is a lot of cafes and shops but to be honest it made quite a weird impression - like some sort of deserted ghost town - we saw quite a few of dusty shops selling everything, from board games, cards, car figures to an old furniture and music equipment but not too many people. I wonder if that was because of the time when we arrived or maybe because we're rather used to the overcrowded markets that you can see in the eastern part of Europe.
At the evening we spontaneously went to the Belfast Film Festival where we watched "Blue Ruin" - a grotesque and naturalistic movie about revenge. It was definitely one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen but I have to say that it was good and I didn't have a feeling of wasted time. If you're interested of what's going on during this year's festival then here's the link.
Before the movie we found really good pizzeria called Speranza - when we got there it was full and we had to wait for about 10 minutes to get the table but it was totally worth it - pizza on a crispie thin pie with unusual topings was amazing and the service was great.
The next day we went to The Cavehill which offers amazing views of the whole city. Tomek managed to get into one of those caves with some other people and I'm sure that they have a lot of fun climbing in there. Unfortunately because of my fear of height I had to stay at the bottom of the cave. We also went to the McArt's Fort on top of the hill.
On the hillside of the Cavehill lies the Belfast Castle and there's a legend saying that the castle is safe as long as there's a cat residing there which led to creating the Cat Garden with nine cats hidden in different places.
Afterwards we went to the restaurant recommended by Michelin's guide called "The Potted Hen" which I totally recommend, I just advise to book in advance - it was very busy and we didn't have a lot of time to eat our food. We had a seafood mains that were done absolutely perfect and the price was reasonable.
For the whole weekend we stayed in a three star Ramada Encore Belfast City Hotel, the main reason for that was that I especially needed privacy at that time and it's so often difficult to find in crowded hostels. And as long as I cannot complain cause I had in there everything that I needed I missed a bit this vibe of good hostels where you can meet and talk to a lot of different people and which are usually located in some cool old buildings.
We didn't manage to see The Giant Causeway or Titanic Museum so we will have to go back some day, this time in better circumstances.
I hope that after coming back with that entry I will somehow manage to add one entry a week and I want to open a Facebook page to show more photos from the trips. It's a difficult task for me as soon I'm going to Poland, I'm not sure what will happen with my life, and I'm getting married. But I want to keep this blog going as for the Honey... erm... year we would like to go for a trip around Europe focusing mostly on food, using CS where possible, WOOFing where possible (that's me) and working or volunteering in some cool cafes (that's also me). So then it will be my way of saying to friends and family: I'm ok, alive, look where I am. ;)
So next week you can expect the entry about Greece when we spent amazing holidays, saw a piece of paradise and got engaged: