Hurrah for our first (and only) vacation of the summer!
What with the world tightening its belt in this recession (and me loosening mine in pregnancy), we have been unable to take advantage of any travel of late. In fact, we had even booked a week’s trip to Scotland for this very time, but had to cancel for lack of funds. Not to be dismayed, however, we decided to make the best of things and take a shorter, closer holiday to Belfast, Northern Ireland!
You’ll probably notice that some (OK, most!) of the photos were definitely taken by a REAL photographer… 🙂 That would be my husband’s signature!
And what a trip it was. We spent nearly two days basking in the city’s glory and found it to be just what the doctor ordered. Even though Belfast is not a two full hours away by train, it truly does feel like a different country at times (which it is and it isn’t – Northern Ireland is part of the UK proper where the Republic of Ireland is not, but still Northern Ireland is and always will be IRELAND!). It’s a fairly new city, comparatively, with most of the famous architecture presented in ornate Victorian splendour. It has a very royal feel about it, in addition to its tumultuous past, and can boast great food, abundant arts, a welcoming population and easily navigable streets. At least, that’s how we felt!
My favorite thing we did was having dinner at Beatrice Kennedy, a lovely little restaurant just down the street from our hotel and near the Queen’s College campus. It’s been soooo long since Frank and I had a really nice dinner out, and this was well worth the wait. Situated in a red brick flat, the homey restaurant seated us at a table by the window with a white cloth and tapered candle. We enjoyed starters of pea risotto with smoked haddock and chicken and asparagus salad with soft-boiled egg and sun-dried tomatoes. Frank had a Moroccan themed lamb with chickpeas and I had roast pork with champ and apple chutney. We shared fresh brown bread, a side of fresh vegetables and, later, a large creme brulee with fruit compote. He had a home-brewed Belfast Ale and I had – oh the luxury! – a single glass of shiraz! All this, including tip, for under £50 sterling (€56 or $81 ) and I was convinced we should eat like this every night!
We packed a lot into the two days we spent “up da Nort,” from St George’s Market to the Royal Botanical Gardens to a couple of really nice meals out to a lot of just walking around the streets of the city centre, taking in the atmosphere (while trying to shed the rain!). All in all, it felt like a real getaway and I know we highly recommend it to anyone!