Sj and I had a long weekend in Belfast last week courtesy of the folks as a birthday present. With everything that has been going on this year it was really what we both needed and very welcome. We’d been booked on the Game of Thrones Tour (or “Pretty places in Ireland that are connected” to give it a more accurate title), but mainly we mooched around and enjoyed a couple of days peace away from everything.
Belfast is lovely – it felt like a European city in terms of temperament, but still UK enough to mean you weren’t struggling with the added complexities of language, culture etc., (although that can be fun). We lucked out with the weather in that it was mainly cool and dry, and sat around drinking coffee and having a rest between sight-seeing. We did do the touristy thing of an open topped bus, but that meant we actually got to see a lot more of the city and that I got to see a little bit of the political side of things in the city – the Peace Wall is just an astonishing sight (and brings home how far things still need to go) and one we wouldn’t have seen without the tour.
The GoT tour was fun, and we discovered that we need to return with a car next time (if only to avoid propeller based planes – I really hate flying) so as to have more time to spend at places. The Giants Causeway is every bit as impressive as everyone says, you could easily spend a day just watching the water come over it, although it felt a lot less angular than I was expecting (unsurprising given the constant abuse it receives from the sea). The countryside felt a bit like the Highlands, without the sense of immense verticality. Plus we saw dolphins, which is always going to brighten your day.
We’re both back home now, feeling a bit more relaxed for the benefit of a break. It’s been a bit of an extended birthday celebration that really started with the bike ride a month ago, but that’s been okay – although a few quiet weekends now wouldn’t go amiss.