So officially Wednesday was the last full day in Belfast for this visit, but because of me not being clear about the dates I was going finish off with my friends, Geraldine and David in Dublin – there became another night add to my stay. They were over in Manchester and wasn’t coming home until Tuesday evening.
But it turned out for the best because that meant I got the chance to spend a fantastic evening on the Odyssey Complex and got to know the Script from Dublin together with 10.000 others and my ex-boss, his family and some of “my boys”. A fantastic extra bonus for my visit to Belfast.
Wednesdays mean that I spend a nearly full day up the Ormeau Road – first an hour or two with my brilliant hairdresser, Julie … then crossing the street and having lunch at “the Shed” .. and finally getting my yearly dentist checkup at Rossmore Dental Clinic by lovely Connor. And no changes to the program this year, but this year it was snowing.
And I wasn’t having lunch on my own … were in the company of Ken, a good friend of mine – but always comes in pair with Pat, but misunderstanding again???!!! By Ken. So Pat had other plans that she couldn’t change – so I had Ken all by myself over a great steak sandwich with the best fries in the city.
Pat and I became friends through my work at Stena Line. I visited the PR company that was handling all our public relations for the Irish routes and in their reception, they had the most fantastic flower arrangement, so I asked for the florist contacts and from there she started to do our’s too … and from supplier and customer, we went to friendship. And every time I’m in the city we meet up …. such a lovely couple.
In the evening I met up with … Gina, my best friend over there. We had a brilliant evening at “The Coppi” – the details I have already have published in: “Belfast on a Plate”.
Before sailing over to Scotland with Stena Line of course (free ticket!!!) – I spent some time at my old office at the V4 terminal … and I was lucky because of most of my old colleagues were in. Normally they are all over the place and all chairs are empty. So loads of catching up!!! Lovely to see them all.
Sailing with Stena is a true pleasure … clean, comfortable, friendly and helpful! Not saying that because I worked with them for 35 years and of course me returning for a visit I get special attention (free business class lounge). They truly maintain the standard that we worked so hard with once.
In all honesty, I don’t think some of the brilliant Stena-spirit isn’t there anymore – I think a lot of it left with the Voyager in 2011 – when it was tied up in Belfast.
It was a bit choppy out on open water, but nothing my old sea-legs couldn’t handle. Tried to catch up with so much crew members as possible.
Will come back to my fantastic days in Stranraer in the embrace of family Gaffney.
So for my bonus night, I had to fix an affordable bed – not easy when there is something going on at the Odyssey Complex, if not willing to pay £100 for 2 pillows. And I’m not.
Lucky me!! I found a lovely little B&B in the University area, “Harpers Boutique Bed and Breakfast”, £49.00/€55/$68/560SEK with Hotels.com – my Lloyd’s debit card loved it. It has 9.2 on Bookings.com and #4 of all B&B in Belfast on Tripadvisor. Great reviews everywhere!!! And they live up to it.
It was a couple of years since I was up in the area, but not much had changed… more cafes and restaurants maybe. I more or less lived at a lovely hotel, “The Crescent Townhouse Hotel” in the area for 6 months before I found a permanent address in Belfast. The pillows were a little more expensive there, but the company paid for them.
It’s in this area where all the night action is, but there is also some of the old Belfast left here and there.
For lunch, it started to snow and it was time for me to look for somewhere to get to eating. So I just walked on University street up to the Botanic Avenue I found a busy and very inviting place, “French Village Cafe & Bistro”.
It was a bit freezing outside and the right place for getting warm. I was met with a big smile and served great food. I went for one of their Ciabattas with Goats Cheese, Sun Blushed Tomato, Roast Red Pepper, Basil Pesto & Baby Gem – and it was beautiful and so tasty. Went very well with my 2 Gabapentin pills.
Back in my room, there was time for a little nap – before taking on the evening with the boys and the Script (“a musical vip evening with a view”).
Next day before lunch … the airport bus down to Dublin, to be picked up by Geraldine.
Go raibh maith agat as Béal Feirste le haghaidh gach rud …. féach leat an bhliain seo chugainn!!! Is breá liom go mór duit!
(Thanks Belfast for everything …. see you next year!!! I dearly love you!!!) –
“The reason for leaving sometimes is to return.
Simply to return.”