August 16, 2016
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Turning 25 this year was a daunting prospect. It's the year that you realise you're actually an adult and it's probably about time you got your shit together. Before I get into the more serious life decisions I felt it's probably best to have a weekend away somewhere and for something a little different, Belfast seemed like a great choice for my boyfriend and I. Here's what we got up to.
First thing we did when we arrived to Belfast on the Friday (on the shortest plane journey ever), we visited the Titanic Museum. For those of you who don't know, the Titanic was actually built in Belfast and in the area it was built, they've dedicated a huge museum to it. It takes you through it's entire journey from all the materials used, replicas of the rooms inside the ship etc and as you go through the museum the atmosphere changes to feel very sad and cold once it goes onto explaining how the ship came to crash into the iceberg. If you need an activity that will kill a large chunk of time (approx 3-4 hours) then it's definitely worth a visit. There's even a "rollercoaster" inside.
Our Saturday was a bit more of a chilled out day. We stayed in the Ibis Belfast Queens Quarter hotel which was located in the more studenty area of the city. While lively at night, overall it was very quiet during the day. We never had any issues with noise at night or any sort of anti-social behaviour and it's a 15 minute walk from the city centre so it's the perfect location. After a long lie in we explored the city, taking a free tour of City Hall which was absolutely gorgeous (and full of pokemon..) We finally settled on dinner and chose Villa Italia which was pretty close to our hotel and we knew it was good because the queue was right out the door. Luckily the people of Belfast are extremely friendly so we got chatting to some locals which made the wait seem much quicker. If you like Italian food, you'll love this place. I don't think I've had a fresher Italian experience outside of Italy. Of course we had to sample some of the nightlife and Filthy McNasty's seemed to be the hotspot, with pretty much everyone recommending it to us, we weren't disappointed.
Our night didn't last too long as we headed off to bed early for the main event of the weekend. On the Sunday (my actual birthday) we took a coach trip to the Giants Causeway which was definitely the highlight of the trip. It's essentially these huge piles of rocks which have been created by an ancient volcano eruption but there's all sorts of stories and legends attached to it. Mainly that it was created by a giant called Fionn mac Cumhaill who was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Aside from that, it has breathtaking views and definitely a must see if you plan on visiting Northern Ireland. The other part of our coach trip was to walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge which is essentially a rope bridge almost 100ft high above the sea. At first glance it looks pretty easy to cross, I planned to take a selfie while crossing but once I got on the bridge I was holding on for dear life. Once you cross you get wonderful views of the sea and you of course have to walk across the rope bridge to get back again. At least this time I was a little more brave! Even if you're not much of an outdoorsy/hiking mad person, definitely don't miss this on your trip.
With a little bit of time before our flight home on the Monday, we tried to see everything we could before we had to leave. I was always a bit sceptical of bus tours but after Lisa's recommendation we hopped on for an hour and a half and thankfully filled quite a few gaps in our trip. The hop on hop off bus tours takes you through parts of the city you'll probably miss, including all the famous murals and explains quite a bit about the divide between catholics and protestants. Sectarianism is something that us as Glaswegians know all about but it was quite shocking to see the impact it has on Belfast still to this day.
Overall it was a great weekend in the city and made getting older a little bit more bearable. As much as I love to see countries outside of the UK, it makes you realise what you're missing out on a stone throws away. Now that Rome, Manchester and Belfast are out the way.. what will be my next trip?