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.
|The Belfast Bigfish|
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.
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 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|
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.
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|
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.