More thoughts of Paris

Notre-Dame, Paris - unnumbered
 As I sit here in the Airport Lounge, waiting for SAS to call out for my flight to Paris. my third or fourth visit in 12 month, it is hard not to be enfused with memories of wonderful time spend, love  both long lost and new found, family and a myriath of other things.
Paris seem forever entangled in my personal life.

This time is a little different though, I leave a small family behind to spend 3 and a half busy days with back to back meetings and eveninge engagements.

Perceptions of a scattered mind, Paris 2017

One might say my thoughts are scattered and seemingly confused, yet completely focused on all the things truly important in my life.

My hope is to get a least a few hours sqeezed into the early mornings to explore a few of my favourite gems and do a few morning runs along the ever wonderful Saine.

More to come soon :)


Belfast - an instant love affair

On rare occasions you a presented with a chance opportunity to visit a city you have heard of many times, but where impression and expectation has not yet fully formed.

Belfast was such a city to me and I fell in love already on the flight in.
Belfast from above

The flight in on cloudy and misty afternoon, slowly revealing the relatively small city, rolling hills behind it and the gorgeous bay areas, set the expectation high.
The old cab drivers pleasant chat on the 5 minute drive to the Europa Hotel where I was staying only reinforced the wonderful impression, as did the hotel and the attentive and friendly staff.

My time in the city being short, just shy of a day and a half, I had to prioritise.
First order of business was to sit down at desk and get my plan and thoughts sorted.
Priorities were give to the city itself and leaving the surrounding areas for another time.
Town Hall

A brief walk downtown, past the beautiful Town hall a massive but beautiful old building, I found my self circling it just to take in the details.
The Belfast Bigfish
Bigfish Square

Paying a visit to the famous Bigfish by the water is highly recommended too. Not only is the Belfast waterfront wonderful. The Bigfish is covered in ceramic tiles with interesting tidbits of information and images from the history of Belfast.
It a very nice place to spend a while exploring the fish and the surrounding harbour area.

Tunnel View

I spend some time exploring small alleyways and other aspects of the city center, Belfast is a fairly old city and luckily most of the original buildings still stands, creating an interesting environment of low and old builds and storefronts to explore

Victoria Square
Looking Down

Victoria Square is more of a modern shopping space, a square sitting under a glass roof and with a viewing platform on top, providing a 360 degree view of Belfast from above and a in my opinion as interesting view down from above. best part is that it blends reasonably well with the rest of the city.
The Crown Bar

Just across the street from Hotel Europa is the famous Crown Bar, a stunning facade and busy and equally stunning interior. I am usually weary of tourist trap like locations, but it is worth a visit I think.
Empty morning Streets
Mixed origins

On Day two I set out very early in the morning, my destination was the Botanical Gardens and then a walk along the River back downtown.
The walk alone was a wonderful set of discoveries and cozy street scenes to walk through. not surprisingly it had a, dare I say almost British, Countryside feel to it and was  very relaxing.
The Old Greenhouse
Subtle shades of Pink

The Botanical Gardens are fairly small, but really beautiful, From the old wood structured greenhouse to the meticulously kept garden areas.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the gardens and surrounding areas. Even in March and early Spring there was plenty of greens and flowers to enjoy.
A coxed eight doing morning laps on The Lagan

From here I continued to the river and the first thing striking me was the crazy amount of rowers on the water, the silence was constantly breached by the persistent directions from the Coxswains of the coxed shells.
Riverside homes

Idyllic and wonderful were the two words that I kept coming back to. Perhaps it is thanks to me being a Dane and growing up in Copenhagen, but there were just something about Belfast that stroke a chord with me. Familiar yet completely different from what I know.
St George Market from outside
Browsing the market stalls

Next stop on my list was the Old St George's Market.
A very interesting and rather cozy indoor market, I am not a big fan of random stuff when traveling, but the stalls seemed a good mix of local food and local artwork and handicraft.
Empty kegs at Bittles
Random Street

I finalised my stay touring the small streets and other random bits of central Belfast, enjoying the language, the people and the architecture.

During my short stay in Belfast I have barely scratched the surface, but it is quite clear to me that I will be going back, both for Belfast city itself, its Titanic Museum and the surrounding areas stunning nature.