Note: There’s a reason this post is called Belfast+ rather than just Belfast. As the observant reader will be able to tell, the featured image is from Giant’s Causeway. Belfast was just the starting and finishing point of the trip and I didn’t feel like I had enough content to split the post into Belfast and Country Antrim.
I went to Belfast for a visa appointment because I’d been told the visa office there was more efficient (and that the staff were nicer because not as many people went there) than in London. Obviously, I decided to make a trip out of it, seeing as I was going to be paying for buses on both ends regardless of how long I chose to stay.
I kicked the day off at 4am (fantastic time to be awake, it challenged my positive outlook on life in ways I’d previously thought impossible). I’d tried to fall asleep at 8pm, but thanks to the fact that I’d slept until11 am that morning, I didn’t experience anything resembling success. It didn’t help that someone I could speak to for a straight month was active on Facebook Messenger.
Exploring (Day 1)
Titanic Belfast & SS Nomadic
It was sunny when I was in Belfast, so I lost track of time shopping for sunglasses.I was speed-walking to Titanic Belfast. The museum is fantastic, but at times I felt there was a lot of information that I didn’t know what to do with. I feel like it’s one of these things that would’ve been better with a friend, where you could nudge them, point to the writing on the wall in front of you, and say “Oh my goodness, did you know this?”
I headed over to SS Nomadic after a tea break in the Titanic Belfast café and to be honest, I preferred that. I’m a sucker for museums designed inside objects of historical importance, so this was right up my alley. I love feeling like I’m part of history and in spite of the obvious modernisations, that’s exactly the feeling I got on board SS Nomadic. You could dress up in period clothing and crew uniforms, which I thought was really neat.
Cost: £12.50 for students
My main problem with travelling alone is trusting other people to take photos of you. I have a photo of me in period clothing, but the kind photographer didn’t point out the bad lighting or bother to focus the photo. Oh well. I’ll live without a high quality photo of me as the Unsinkable Molly Brown.
I didn’t get up to much else in Belfast. What I quickly discovered was that Belfast isn’t the city of my dreams. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing about the city bothered me. It was really quaint for a capital, but I just didn’t feel in tune with it at all. It’s hard to explain, but it just didn’t have my kind of vibe.
Food and Drink
I had an amazing dinner at Café Renoir on Botanic Avenue. I paid less than £20 for a glass of wine, an amazing pizza, and a slice of cheesecake that I still dream about. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good price, but then again, it depends on what you’re comparing it to. It was kind of on par with Glasgow.
Paid under a tenner for a bed in a 12-bed dorm, so no complaints there. Nobody in the room was talking, so I went downstairs to chat with the staff and some hostellers who were sitting outside drinking beer. I didn’t realise how much I needed to socialise, so it was nice to be around other people to engage in conversation.
Exploring (Day 2)
The second day was amazing. I haven’t a single complaint. I went on a day trip to the Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, and Dunluce Castle. It set me back less than £25 (Paddywagon Tours) and it was honestly an amazing use of day. The driver was a chatty Irishman who somehow made it possible to overlook the fact that we were on a bus for at least a few hours.
The Dark Hedges
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
When I say that we went to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, I mean we stopped and there was the option to cross it. But I was too cheap to pay a fiver to cross a bridge with everyone else on the bus, so I spent an hour walking along the coastline. The views were phenomenal, so I don’t regret that decision.
Unsurprisingly, Giant’s Causeway was the highlight of the tour. I’ve been wanting to visit it for absolute ages, so it was pretty much a dream come true. It was gorgeous. I was in no way let down, although I wish I’d been able to spend more time there, as I didn’t have enough time to walk every single trail there.
Did I get super sunburnt? Yes. Was it my fault for forgetting to buy sunscreen? Yes. It was worth the pain. The sunburn was temporary. These memories are forever. I loved every moment and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Life is great and there are no words to describe how happy I am.