….. Belfast has a very special place in my heart … my home city for 10 years and I absolutely love to go back to enjoy the spirit of city and soak up the Belfast atmosphere. There is something about the city and its people that make me feel so good.
When I lived there all the major changes start to happen – the peace agreement, Bill Clinton’s visits … and the city center got a life again.
Moved to Belfast in 1999 the city center was dead after 8pm. Not a soul around. All action was up in the University area and from what I understand during the real problems, people went outside the barriers to have fun and the area they went to was the University area.
That is why Belfast has a secret shopping street full of fantastic restaurants, bars, cafes and lovely boutique shops … a 10-15 min distance with bus 9, 9a and 9b from the city center – the Lisburn Rd.
My days in Belfast was all about catching up with my friends … and that meant great lunches and dinners. Belfast is a brilliant city for foodies – fantastic food … and great service. And there are new hotels popping up all over the city center. There is a big shortage of hotel rooms in the city, but do all new hotels have to be 5*?????!!!
I always return to my favorite pillows at Premier Inn, neither at Alfred Street or in the Cathedral Quarters. Great price, locations, warm welcoming, so comfortable beds, loads of TV channels, and good breakfast …. and brilliant prices: for 4 nights with breakfast (add-on) totally £155/€178/$214/1770SEK.
There was very little shopping going on this time, don’t really need anything. I did my visit to Mark & Spencer (found nothing), Primark (bought 12 packs of cotton buds), Boots (bought some small items) and Simply Bee (a very nice long skirt/blouse).
My first morning I had to solve all the problems out with my pin code to my British debit card and my sim-card that didn’t work. The sim-card with Orange was the easiest one – it took about 45 min in total to get it up and running again. All because I hadn’t used the number for more than 3 months???!!!! Never happened before during 8 years I have been back in Sweden, only use the number and phone in the UK. But now I know.
The pin code problem was another matter – sitting at a cafe and talking to customer service at Lloyds Bank – took about 1,5 hours to get it sorted, I thought. Was told to go to Halifax AMT and use the last code I was provided with. Because Lloyds Bank doesn’t have a Belfast branch. Which I did and it didn’t work – so back to square one, but after all, I can be very smart. So I decided to use an Irish bank’s ATM and use the first code that was sent to me – Voila!!!! It worked – I was up and running.
Then there was lunch with my friend Barbara – we went to “Made in Belfast” for lunch. A brilliant and funky place just steps away from the City Hall. Enjoyed my fish cakes, a starter that I asked them to make into a main – lovely glass of white wine. A restaurant I been to be before and it has never let me down. Barbara and I were catching up for hours … it was over a year since we had lunch together the last time.
In the evening I was dining alone and just a short walk from the hotel to one of my favorite spots for solo dining in Belfast, “Deanes Deli & Bistro”. Micheal Deane is the big name in Belfast with 6 very popular restaurants up his sleeve. I had my first ever dining adventure in Belfast at his Brasserie, have now been converted into 3 different restaurants. He was named the best chef in the whole of Ireland about 10 years ago. His restaurant “Deanes” hold their Guide Michelin Star for 13 years, that restaurant is now converted too.
The Deli & Bistro is a cozy place with great service and food and at a walking distance from the hotel without blowing the bank account. I enjoyed Goats cheese & fresh fig salad with
walnut, port & balsamic, Salt & chilli squid served with aioli & ginger (a starter again they made into a main) and a Lemon posset, berry coulis & shortbread. Pre-dinner drink (vodka & tonic), a glass of wine and cappuccino is my standard add-ons. I great meal, and very good service at a great price.
It was a nice evening … so I gave Oscar a chance to play around while I walked back to the hotel. The 5 min walk took about 45 min.
Back at the hotel I jumped into bed and watched one of my favorite programs “Law & Order; Special Victim Unit” and on the USA channel. Watched 3 episodes – a great ending on a great day.
“Belfast is a city which,
while not forgetting its past,
is living comfortably with its present
and looking forward to its future.”