Thursday, May 3, 2018
After a pretty good night’s sleep, we both wake up mostly refreshed and ready to face our first full day in Belfast. Jet lag has not really reared it’s ugly head. Our Airbnb host has kindly left us some Italian Roast coffee and there is a cafetiere. I remember using one of these on our narrowboat trip with Don and Katie and I hope I remember how.
We laze around drinking coffee and blogging. It doesn’t look great outside this morning and we contemplate our choices for the day.
Rich has been researching breakfast spots so we gather our rain gear and brave the elements.
It doesn’t take too long before I figure out one item that I forgot to pack – my waterproof hiking shoes… Not sure if my Sketchers will cut it in this weather. We shall see.
Rich’s expert navigation brings us to his chosen restaurant – Home. Looks perfect. Just the sort of place we love. They are super friendly. We order up a couple of baps and settle in the catbird seat to people watch.
The baps arrive and they are seriously a thing of beauty. Soft, brioche-style bread with a filling of egg and sausages. All held together with sweet onion marmalade. We are in Heaven. Great choice, Rich!
The chosen destination for our day is the Titanic Museum. The Titanic was built here in Belfast and it’s history runs very deep here. In general we are not really “museum people,” but this one seems like a must see. It is probably about a mile away and we decide to brave the showers and hoof it. The walk is actually quite nice – especially when we get to the shipbuilding, Titanic quarter of town.
The museum is awesome – we spend several hours wandering through all of the exhibits. We also get to go aboard the SS Nomadic which was the tender for the Titanic and is the last surviving ship made by the White Star line. Everything is very tastefully done and really shows you how the massive liner was designed and built.
We wander back towards home and the promise of a nap. We realize on the way back that we have not satisfied yesterday’s Chicken Fit…No problem. Nando’s is on the way. Perhaps we will just pick up a small snack to try.
It is interesting to note that even though the language in Northern Ireland is, of course, English – we are not entirely tuned into the heavy accent. When we went into a phone store to get a protective film for Rich’s phone, I thought the clerk called it a screen “attacker.” (screen protector) In Nando’s the server asked Rich if he wanted “sides.” He thought she asked if he wanted sage. “Well, yes I do want sage. Thank you.”
Armed with our Nando’s treat we scurry back home to give it a try.
The verdict? Meh. The chicken had been previously cooked (too long) and then thrown on the grill to heat it up. Maybe if we had gotten in freshly cooked?
After a brief but necessary nap it is time to go out for the evening. I have made reservations at a restaurant that was recommended by our host. It is casual, but promises to be great food. First stop is the Five Points pub for a pint. Great atmosphere here and it looks like they will be having live music later. We can’t stick around.
Holohan’s Restaurant is only a 10 minute walk away.
It is immediately apparent that we will enjoy our dinner here. Our server is absolutely outstanding and gives us great direction on a new wine for us to try.
He also explains several items on the menu. We try to keep it simple by ordering the “Walter Ewings Smoked Salmon Crabaichan” to start. It is a divine barley “risotto” with bits of smoked salmon, creme fraiche and dill.
Rich has the Seafood Boxty and I the Boxty Dumplings. Both were incredibly delicious.
We adored Holohan’s – our server absolutely made the experience. So far, we have encountered overt, genuine friendliness from everyone we have met. Could this be a trend? I hope so.
The evening was waning, but we were not quite ready to hang it up. When asked for a suggestion of a pub where we could enjoy a nightcap, our server recommended a place that our host had said was one of her favorite pubs – the Sunflower. He told us it was a short taxi ride away and that we could then “stagger back” to our apartment. Done.
Once again we find ourselves in a tiny, comfy pub and settle in with a couple of pints of Guiness (I am starting to be a real fan). No live music here tonight but we enjoy the liveliness of the place and I am certain we solved some of the world’s problems sitting at the bar.
Today has been a great little introduction to the culture and people of Northern Ireland. Tomorrow we rent a car, Rich will startle his brain by driving on the left and we will zoom off into the northern area of the country. Wish us luck!