After some consideration I decided it was ok to include some of our travel experiences here. The first weekend of June I saw a sunset that left me breathless and although I can not transfer that experience through any words, I still would want to have a travel diary to remind me of such moments. I also thought it may be a quick way to keep our family and friends amused with our adventures as we are giving Manchester one last warm embrace.
Our trip to Belfast started with this article from the Guardian and the number one place: best place to eat oysters – Strangfor Lough, Northern Ireland. My partner got all excited, the Queen gave us an extra day to add to an already long weekend, I did my happy travel dance and we started planning. We booked our apartment, we rented a car, printed food suggestions and maps and off we went: Chris, Mr. ST and I.
Day 1 – Belfast
Chris and I arrived after a rushed trip to the airport. We managed to get the rental car without any of the regular hurdles but still disappointed the rental officer by not accepting and upgrade for air conditioning during the 20 degree ‘heat’. Soon after, Mr. ST joined us from London and we ended up in another Guardian suggestion from top budget eats in Belfast: Rocket and Relish, for a delicious burger. I am not a huge fan of burgers but I really enjoyed the Pesto and Mozzarella burger with Sweet Potato fries. While there, I read that the original street food van won second place in the Street Food Awards in 2010 or 11. The Fire and Knives magazine, the 2010 series, had an article regarding Street Food and the organization of the first Awards ceremony so it was great to find a winner so quickly after reading the piece.
Day 2 – Belfast
I love stories and walking around so walking tours make me very happy. Every time we are in a new place I try to find a walking tour for the first day. A quick search brought me to Belfast City Guided Walking Tours. Billy Dickson replied to my email with a few options for the day and we chose the Ulster Covenant Tour. I didn’t do any prior research and questions such as ‘ What was the Covenant?’ were asked. Luckily it was just the three of us so there was no shame in our ignorance. We asked and we were answered with great knowledge and flair by our guide, proclaimed by self and fellow tour guides as the best in Belfast. They were right. We loved it. He was also very amused by the nationality variety we provided him with an Australian, a Venezuelan and a Romanian.
After our guide walked away and left us pondering over how rich is the history of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, we wandered off trying to kill time until our dinner reservation. Surprise surprise Belfast is the home of the Titanic Quarter. I didn’t know that either prior to the trip. And what better year to visit the sites than on the 100 year anniversary of its departure. We walked around the Pier with the impressive Samson and Goliath cranes from the shipyard of Harland & Wolff, ships and a Museum dedicated to Titanic. Impressive, windy and entertaining. A promenade that also witnessed some intense teenage love on a bench and a small but very excited crowd waiting for Westlife.
While I didn’t know anything about the Covenant or where the Titanic was built, I did know where we were having dinner, at James Street South Restaurant. It was excellent and well worth planning for it with delicious Lobster Ravioli and Seatrout for main. We ended the day on a high note with a movie from the Belfast Film Festival, North Sea Texas.
Here is a photo of where our feet took us and with more photos in the Canon Highlights.
To be continued…