After ten days in Derry we kind of had the feeling that we did everything that was accessible to us without a bike or car. We did some stuff even several times already (Castlerock!). And when we first went to Belfast, the weather was shitty and the city was just too big to be conquered in just one day. So we packed our stuff, said farewell to our host and took the morning train to Belfast, which is nearly as fast as the bus and way more comfortable.
We arrived in Belfast some 2 hours later with nice weather and good spirits. On our first visit we went to a hostel that was recommended in our guide and said: “Hello good sir, we want a room to stay here, but not tonight. We shall return in a week and shall find the most splendid hostel beds waiting for us!” “Fair enough, kind sir”, responded the receptionist, “Your room shall be ready and you shall share it with only ten other lovely persons!” We shook hands, stroked our mustaches and went back to what were doing before.
As we promised on this very day we returned 7 days later, carrying our luggage and finding our room prepared as promised. We could not share a bunk bed as only separated beds at opposite corners of the room were available, but we did not mind too much. We were happy to have found a place to stay for little money on short notice. The hostel “Vagabonds” is a really nice place to stay in Belfast. It is not expensive, clean, kind and full of interesting people. I would go there again any time.
We stored our luggage and didn’t even lock it, as the receptionist told us that “as long as you don’t have beer there, no one will steal anything. We never heard of anything valuable stolen except for beer and booze.” And it was true, none of our items went missing.
Ready for the day we left the Vagabonds and headed to the botanical garden that is 10 minutes walking distance away. On the way we passed the university of Belfast with its Harry Potter like exterior.
We admired it for a bit and then continued our way. We were greeted by the late Mr Kelvin (this time without his plush tiger).
Unknown to us on this special day a big summer’s end party was held in the botanical garden. The garden is called botanical despite the fact that there are only little exotic plants growing due to its history. It was some decades ago a real botanical garden with plants from all over the world in the hands of some private institution. The garden was then gifted to the city, but as it was quite expensive to keep up the botanical part it was just transformed into a public garden with green lawns and access to a small lake.
But some pieces remained from the former glory. Two greenhouses are still used by enthusiasts to grow exotic plants.
Although the greenhouse is not too spectacular compared to the botanical garden in Berlin. But it is not run by the university, so it is still impressive that they manage to keep it.
When we left the small greenhouse we ran into a big white tent. Curious we entered it only to find some exhibition going on that rewarded local growers for their achievements in growing all kinds of plants.
It started with pretty plants.
Some of the tasks were quite ridiculous and it was hard to understand on what base the winner was determined.
And some school children also participated with their interpretation of the events of the sinking of the Titanic.
Some first prize apples.
Some of the arrangements were performed with so much care. On white paper plates.
And of course there was the obligatory section of really large vegetables.
And you could buy seeds for mini veggies like the Cucamelon.
And some really beautiful bonsai trees.
We had flowers, veggies, fruit and bonsai trees, what is missing? You’re right, Scones. And other sweets were also rewarded for awesomeness.
They a mixed section with a honorable notice for caramelized popcorn in the tin.
And then there were the beekeepers presenting their bees, and wax and honey.
This was an entry of just one woman, who among other women, created a cushion, a bouquet of autumn flowers, grew a pumpkin, baked cakes and tarts, sawed a leather glove and other things. Only to get the second place as some other woman made even better cushions, gloves, cakes, tarts and bouquets.
After a far too long time for people under the age of 40 we exited the tent and had some cake in the afternoon sun while listening to some jazz music. It was really like textbook summer party. Old people, children, parents all enjoying the offers, the music and the sun. I wish the parties here were as boring and splendid and beautiful as this one in Belfast.
This guy is my personal hero of the day. He played hide and seek with his daughter. She started counting at the place where he is now standing and he had to hide. He just stood on the opposite side of the tree, and when she circled it to come looking for him, he just always kept the tree between them and then remained in her former place while she started searching. She spent about 10 minutes walking around the area looking for him, making bigger and bigger circles while we approached the guy and talked to him.
We then went to the southern part of Belfast and looked at the city.
This is a remain of some art installation going on in Belfast a few years ago. I liked it way more than the murals about the war between the oppressing brits and the oppressed Irish.
This was a Kindergarten or something.
Me and my new bestest friend.
This is the food market that we visited on our first stay.
Doro giggled every single time we passed this ad.
We then had some bad fish and chips and a fish and chips place and went to bed at the hostel, trying to find some sleep. But more on that next time.