Postcard 1 from Belfast – Monday
I fancied the Titanic Museum in Belfast for some time but never got around to doing anything about it then, last year, we read a Simon Calder article encouraging the purchase of Interrail tickets being offered for half price and we bought a couple of months worth.
The use of these tickets has a reputation said to be challenging so a start in an English speaking country would be useful.
When you put the two together then a 40 minute flight over the water and the use of a few Holiday Inn points gets us a night in a four star pad for £80 – result.
The flight from Leeds Bradford is bumpy but we’re charmed by the conversation of a lovely Irish lady who is statuesque to say the least. I offer to lift her bag out of the locker but as she stands up and in the process becomes taller than me, it’s clearly well in hand.
We’re at the Holiday Inn which is a shuttle bus journey into the City and the Pilgrim manages to harness the front seat on the upper deck – result! The only thing that would enhance the experience would be a steering wheel on a big rubber sucker stuck to the screen and i can pretend to be a bus driver.
There are police in alleys and road junctions which is a minor worry when coupled with the recent paddies thrown by the DUP (sorry 😇) but it turns out to be preparation for the visit of Joe Biden although we do witness a bunch of flag waving drum beating marching men who look ridiculous but create an air of intimidation.
Once passed, the atmosphere returns to friendliness and care. We are in the cathedral quarter and the streets seem devoid of bars which is something of a mystery and contradicts what we’ve been told then, as if by magic, we look through a passageway into a narrow street that’s lit up with strings of coloured lights and two very popular bars with people spilling out on to the pavement. This is now showing some promise.
The promise is indeed fulfilled as we push our way into a loud and joyful throng and we harvest a beer or two as we pass the bar and walk into an anti-room where a couple attract our attention and tell us they are going, “would you like our seats?”
…Well, do dickybirds fly and fish swim?
An absolutely outstanding night is had as we meet two ‘actor lovies’ who are clearly well read and wonderfully interesting and they’re sitting with a vivacious, bubbly and archetypal Irish Colleen who could not have made us more welcome.
A few pints of the black stuff later and we’re in a burger joint with the wonderfully alliterative title of ‘Bunson Burgers’. It was much enthused about by our new thespian friends and lives up to their description well.
The restaurant claims to only use beef that mooed with an Irish accent and it brings to mind the Ameglian Major Cow in Milliways Restaurant who declares to the patrons that she has been bred to be eaten and encourages them to enjoy her most succulent parts. Douglas Adams has a lot to answer for!
We wash this down with with some bottles of Perone to enhance the holiday spirit.
The walk back to the Holiday Inn across the city is wobbly but event free although the number of police has increased, especially where ‘The President’ is to stay and we see the odd mirror (or camera) on a pole being removed from the back of a seemingly well equipped van with ‘stuff’ that we’re clearly not allowed to see as the door is quickly and firmly closed as we pass by.
Not a bad opener for the first day including flight. Sleep comes easy and suddenly, it’s Tuesday.
Enjoy the snaps. G x