From Ireland to Austria Series: For the Love of Belfast
This is from a series originally posted on my original blog: Seefahrer Thayer. While I don't recommend it, you can view the original posts here. Because the content had value and useful tips I've decided to repost them here, however, they've since been heavily edited and updated.
I hopped a train from Dublin to Belfast upon Mike's advice. I met the nicest people on the train, who told me all of the places to go in Ireland. Sweetest people ever, they even gave me whatever the Irish equivalent of a Tylonol is for the headache that only allowed me a few hours of sleep the night before. Little did I know, all of Belfast is full of kind helpful people just like them. I was so over the hustle of Dublin, it was nice going to a town where everyone wanted start a conversation, ask where you're from, make sure you weren't lost, give you directions, and advise you on exactly where to go to get a pint of Guinness.
One time a gentleman across the street saw me with a map in hand and called over to me, asking if I was lost and needed directions. For once I actually wasn't lost! But he walked me back to the hostel anyway. On the way there he told me all about where to eat and go. It was unbelievably refreshing.
Also, they're serious about giving up your seat to elderly on buses- people jump up to do it.
The town was gorgeous. Beautiful architecture, wonderful people, green hills in the backdrop. So much to see in such an itty bitty town! I got the best food so far in Ireland from a place called Maggie Mae's (see picture). It was some kind of chicken and mushroom concoction with chips. Soooooooo good.
I got in around noon, and walked all over town until about 4 or 5. I covered most of the little town of Belfast, as well as most of the surface of my right foot in blisters. I went back to the lovely hostel I managed to find and took a nap. My new roommate, Rina, and I slept 'til around 9 PM, when our newest roommate wandered in- Corinne.
She quickly convinced me to shower and get dressed to go out and get food with her... which was also delicious. Then we went to a local pub, where they sang some Johnny Cash and loads of other songs I can't name. Remarkably my nose started getting better after some local cider... which was delicious. Belfast lager... not so good.
The women's bathroom was a cruel joke. When you walked through the double doors the four walls of the tiny room were all painted plainly, with no signs of another door, except for a blended in "push" sign. I had to walk in and out several times to figure out what was going on.
Belfast is sooooo inexpensive. Two half pints were £3.70... maybe $5? Which, by the way- changing from Euros to pounds between southern and northern Ireland gave me whiplash. I keep pulling out the wrong money and confusing clerks.
The hostel was really nice, clean and reasonably priced. Got my first night of good sleep. Most of the sinks here have two faucets, one for hot and one for cold. This makes it really hard to get anything but buring hot or freezing cold water to wash your hands in. Though at first it was kind of weird, I've gotten used to calling bathrooms "toilets" too.
I've met so many great people. Corinne (she's an au pair from Switzerland by the way) and I went out to the Titanic museum today- which was really interesting. It was this titanic silver building that looked a bit like a propeller, and cost about £19 to get in (ouch) but there was a ride, and lots of technology involved. And, when we were done, we took a cute English-style cab home... but I forgot to get pictures of that.
OH! At one point also said, "Ich brauche einen kleinen Löffel," which to anyone that knows me, probably has a good idea of how excited I got that someone actually used it for an organic purpose.
To those GoT fans, apparently the "Titanic Studios" building is where they make the magic happen.
I forgot my battery for my real camera today, so I left the photography up to Corinne, but I'm excited to see how they came out.
I'll sincerely miss Belfast between my new friend and a fabulous city, I didn't want to leave at all.
I also got some scarves at the market I just so happened to see while coming up to the train station, so now I can look like a real European!