A Day in Belfast
During our exploration of a little part of the West coast of Scotland last month, a hop over to Northern Ireland proved irresistible. It was so close we could almost see it! (Well I couldn't with my eyesight, but I knew it was there). It turns out the ferry company have special prices on a Wednesday so we took full advantage and sailed over for a day trip for the price of a brunch. And it included bus travel on the other side! It's worth the 7.30 ferry and leaving out hotel at 6.30. We left in the dark and the daylight came into being somewhere on the Irish Sea. First stop: breakfast. Of course the beards have made it to this beautiful little city but the welcome we received at our first café, Established Coffee, set the tone for the rest of the day. I find that cities that have gone through any sort of turmoil tend to extend the warmest welcome and we had a lovely breakfast. I love how they served salt and pepper in little glasses!
We had amazing hospitality in Budapest in Hungary, a country that has so recently come out of communism and become a tourist pull.
We did pop into the Titanic museum but mainly explored the impressive Titanic Quarter. We stayed on foot although there is an old tram that could take you around. It was a little colder in Belfast than sunny Scotland so it's the best way of staying warm, tempted as I was to buy yet another coat while popping in and out of the shops during the expected rainy period. It's a shame that the indoor market wasn't open as that was going to be our shelter and recommended by many. I forget how many people I knew from this part of the world. We ended up in the rather fancy House of Fraser restaurant for a hot drink. I took a photo of the view and sent it to one of my aforementioned friends and yes, she recognised where I had taken it from. Maybe because she knew I would at least pop into HoF.
Before heading back into the central area, we came across The Dock, a pay 'what you want' café run by volunteers. They had soup and cake too. I wouldn't go back for the coffee specifically, but the idea is fantastic!
Upon returning, we had one of the best value meals in a while - since the Michelin standard meal-of-our-life in Budapest in August in fact. Home didn't open till 5 so we had to hang around, knowing we needed to leave to get our return Stena crossing in an hour! It was worth it!