Sunday, September 22, 2019

On the Other Side of the Pond: Part 3

She is handsome, she is pretty
She is the belle of Belfast city...
-- from the song "I'll Tell Me Ma"
We spent the second week of our holiday visiting my in-laws in Belfast. It was such a nice switch for me, because as much as I like sight-seeing, I also really like visiting familiar things. Even more than that, I really like holidays where I can wake up in the morning and just shlep around eating toast and drinking coffee until I feel like going out. Holiday perfecto, I say.

We arrived on Saturday just before noon and went straight over to see my mother-in-law for a couple of hours before went to find a cafe for lunch. Our Airbnb was in the neighbourhood where we used to live when we lived in Belfast, and so we just drove "home" and found a cozy place to install ourselves until we could check-in. It was a strangely comforting experience looking around the old neighbourhood and found that was just the same as it always was, except with way more restaurants AND a gelato parlour. That alone was worth the visit.

We checked into our Airbnb, which was a small house all to ourselves, complete with a full kitchen and washing machine and living room. I smiled as I thought of all the toast and coffee I was going to have in my pyjamas that I was going to have all week:




We went out one afternoon for a walk around Bangor, a coastal town east of Belfast. What is it about coastal towns painting their buildings in pastel colours? Perhaps it's a way of brightening up a grey day... which these ones did:


I was pleasantly surprised to see these little pods on the way back to the car park. They're converted containers which are rented out by small artisanal businesses. Most of them are set up as small shops, but one of them was an art studio open to visitors. It was Sunday so most were closed, but they were so charming and such a lovely surprise:


The rest of the week was beautifully sunny and dry. We went into downtown Belfast one day to run some errands, and while we were there we walked along the River Lagan waterfront:


I can't say I've ever spent much time along the waterfront, and was really surprised to see some of the art installations scattered about, like this panel of stained glass. I thought it was something to do with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table... and then I looked around and realized there were more panels along the way... and then I realized it was the Game of Thrones Stained Glass Trail Map. This would have been way more exciting if I actually watched Game of Thrones. No, I haven't watched it. By the time I realized it was a thing, I was so far behind that I couldn't fathom ever being able to catch up. But yeah, here's a nice glass panel:


I also came across this shepherd and his flock, which were going so slowly that they'd turned into bronze:


We also went for a walk at Stormont Parliament Buildings. We used to live nearby, and we used to go there almost weekly for a walk on our weekends. We lived in Belfast for six years, so that's a lot of walks. But NOT ONCE did we ever go inside... until this time:


We'd found out from some friends that they do regular free tours every day, so we decided to partake, and it was so worth it:



We only really got to go into the main hall and two rooms. This is the House of Lords:


And this is the House of Commons:


But I was all about the ceiling. I'm thinking I'm going to have to make a blanket in that pattern:


Anyway, it was a lovely visit. We saw lots of friends and ate lots of nice food and did lots of nice relaxing. And I'd love to say I did lots of knitting, but my two-colour brioche experiment was an abysmal failure. I do have something on the needles at the moment, but we arrived back in Canada yesterday, and I'm frankly too tired to do anything except sit on the sofa and try to stay awake. It's not helping that it's pouring rain outside and I've got a sleepy puppy lying on me:


I think I'll have to extract myself soon and have some tea and toast. Have a great week!