Belfast, Northern Ireland

Packing up and preparing for your trip is probably one of the most tiring and dismaying part of traveling. Imagine going on a trip for almost a month, and you need to fit everything in one big luggage and it shouldn’t exceed 30 kilograms. Oh dear! It took me days, even weeks I guess, to finish that and no matter how many times I carried and weighed my luggage, I never had full confidence that it won’t fail me when it’s about time to check it in. I organized everything, from clothes to more clothes, in a way where I can easily take some ‘less important’ stuff out of my luggage in case worst scenario happens.

Not more than 48 hours in since I had set foot in the UK and I found myself packing up again, and this time we’re headed to Belfast, Northern Ireland which is known for being where the Titanic was built, and where some of the Game of Thrones scenes were shot! I’m an avid fan, and yes I like how the series ended. Fight me! HAHAHA! πŸ˜›

From the airport to the AirBnB, I had seen nothing but lush greens. It sort of felt like I was in a province somewhere in the Philippines, except that it was exaggeratingly cold and windy! Worst combination ever — chills the whole time! But hey, let me just brag about this AirBnB which I find cheap for everything it has to offer: mini patio, country-like vibes, spacious room and bed, in-room self-catering breakfast that includes a selection of teas and coffees, fresh Danish pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt and cereal bars as well as other drinks and snacks, and let me just say how happy we were to see Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machine! It was so hard to leave this place!

If there’s one thing I didn’t like it would probably be the distance of this AirBnB from the town proper of Belfast. If you take Uber, it would easily cost you β€ŽΒ£40. Ouch. It’s a good thing that the Uber drivers we booked were so friendly and good company. So we arrived at Belfast City Hall where you will find the Christmas Market. We got ourselves a hot chocolate, of course, and Dutch pancakes. There were so many sweets to try but I can only eat so much. LOL. Some other things you can find here are handcrafted goods, artisan products, and yuletide tipples. I super love the festive vibes with Christmas music playing all around!

We went inside the city hall where there is an exhibit and a giant Christmas tree. It doesn’t look like the typical city hall because it seemed like a museum to me. LOL. You will see photos and stories of significant people who were part of the history of Belfast, and a miniature model of Titanic among others.

I would say that a trip to Belfast isn’t complete without going to the Titanic. You will know pretty much everything you need to know about the Titanic — how it was built from the ground up, the first time it sailed, how the different suites looked like, the stories and the voices of the actual survivors. The experience was surreal. There was a lot of emotions going on inside and it was like re-living a very melancholic moment. For a minute, it felt like I was also a survivor.

Belfast in general may seem like a boring place to visit since it’s just the typical ‘Europe’ but if you’re an explorer like me, you’d know that there’s so much more to see if you just look carefully online. I usually read blogs about the country or areas am planning to visit to make sure I maximize my time and my stay in a specific place. I’d say the Parliament Buildings is one of my favorites just because it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s obvious in the photo! Sad ‘coz we didn’t have enough time to enter the building and see what’s inside.

I had my first fish and chips at John Long’s which is the longest running fish and chips shop in Belfast. I had been looking forward to this moment just because I don’t feel like I will ever be in the United Kingdom without trying its staple food. There’s really nothing special about it aside from the fact that the serving is overwhelming, and that it’s super oily and unhealthy. LOL. This is not me trying to discourage you but if you are very conscious of the food you eat, you would know what I’m trying to convey. It’s still worth trying though!

While in the search for Ulster Fry, which is the ‘English Breakfast’ version of Northern Ireland, we ended up at Sweet Afton. This cozy bar and kitchen serves from brunch to dinner up until it’s time for drinks and cocktails. We had Crispy Chicken Wings tossed in BBQ sauce with blue cheese dip and celery, Turkey & Ham with onion and sage stuffing and whipped mash, and the Silverside of BeefΒ  with mashed potato, pearl onion and red wine. It was simply one of the the best dinners ever!

I’m so happy I didn’t push through with the original plan to spend few days in Italy but instead, I decided to explore more of the United Kingdom. I realized it would’ve cost me a lot more since I would be needing a Schengen visa to go to other parts of Europe. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and there’s just so much more to see in this country! I thought at first that 25 days in the UK is too much but, it’s not even enough to explore half of the country. I shall return! πŸ™‚