Tuesday, March 3, 2009

56 Things I Love About Living in Belfast

Awhile back in my homesick stage, I wrote a post about missing San Francisco. The following is a list (in no particular order) about what I would miss about Belfast:

1) Living in Stranmillis away from the rowdy students, of course. I love the treelined streets, the close proximity to the University, the arm's length distance to Centra, cafes, and restaurants. And the feeling of being free to be yourself and just live your life, unlike some places in West Belfast. :/

2) Sitting outside of Sinnamon people watching, and devouring fluffy airy belgian waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Yumm-o! As Rachel Ray would say.

3) Queen's University and the Library

4) Lagan Towpath on a clear Sunday morning, a double treat watching rowers cross underneath the King's Bridge.

5) Botanic Gardens - especially the rose garden on a sunny day. Chilling on the grass watching people do Tai Chi, play frisbee or football, rollerblading, etc.

6) Lagan Meadows - a place to soak in nature, bird watch, and hike the trails, a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

7) Lisburn Road peppered with it's chic and sophisticated shops, cafes, posh restaurants, Tesco, Marks and Sparks Simply Food, the best sandwiches at the Yellow Door, gelato, a healthfood store, and that home decor shop where I can't afford anything.

8) Crescent Arts Center which offers classes from traditional Irish music to Irish language lessons and dance.

9) My bodhran teacher, he rocks!

10) Kelly's Cellars and Madden's Bar - great places for sessions (traditional Irish music)

11) The Black Box - great venue to catch a concert very intimate and great sound. Auntie Annie's is another one.

12) The Grand Opera House - inside is gorgeous, and a great place to watch a play or a show (except for Magic of the Pants)

13) The Merchant Hotel- Victorian opulence at its finest, a place where you feel like you're stepping back in time. I still have yet to do the afternoon tea here.

14) Feile an Phobail - West Belfast's community festival with , music shows, workshops, lectures and a drive-in movie theater!

15) Snack Food - Cadbury's Mini Rolls, Tunnock's Tea Cakes (Holy Shit, I love you!), Galaxy, Flake, Smarties, Minstrels, Parma Violets, Sensations Vintage Cheddar & Red Onion Chutney, McCoy's Grilled Steak and Onion, Coronetto, Cornish Ice Cream, Rowntree Fruit Pastilles, Malteasers, Curly Wurly, Crunchie, Ripple, Aero, Kit Kat in Cappuccino, Kit Kat in Mint, Kit Kat Orange (the states don't have these flavors), fairy cakes, Cadbury fingers, Revels, Gateau, Strawberry Bio Yogurt.

16) Grade A Irish Beef - Need I say more?

17) Potatoes - They just taste better here

18) Irish Soda bread and creamy, potato, leek, and bacon soup

19) Craig's mom's Sunday Roast dinners and her Irish stew

20) Craig's mom :)

21) Barry's or Nambarrie Tea

22) Nando's

23) British commercials

24) Big Brother

25) Documentaries on BBC4

26) Botanic Avenue - hipster hotspot with funky cafes, restaurants, used book stores, vintage clothing shops, pseudo-intellects, bohemians, goths, alternatives, and emos.

27) Topshop and Next - Shoes, shoes, shoes galore!

28) Primark (UK's version of Target) and the British version of the Dollar Tree I forget the name but I always call it the cheapo store.


30) Comparison price grocery shopping with MySupermarket.com & Tesco online delivery service, and extra 10% discount - we saved a shitload on groceries because of this

31) Honey Chili Chicken and Mongolian Beef from the Red Panda

32) Tom Yum Kha at Thai Tanic

33) Chicken Pakora at Sahara (the only place that delivers until 4am!)

34) St. George's Market on Saturday - local produce, seafood, meats, fresh baked goods, burritos, german curry wurst, paella, super giant crepes, the only place where you can get a decent cup of coffee, fresh roasted coffee beans of all flavors for only £1!!!

35) The Northern Whig (a shopaholic's rest stop) for their soups and mixed drinks. They make a tasty White Russian here. Another one is the Apartment, make sure you go upstairs and sit beside the huge glass windows overlooking the view of city hall.

36) VIP at Storm Cinema

37) Motorcycle trips along the Antrim Coast - absolutely breathtaking!

38) Giant's Causeway on a clear day you can see Scotland

39) Belfast Aye

40) People work to live not live to work.

41) People can take the piss out of each other without taking everything so seriously.

42) People are down-to-earth and don't care about status or keeping up appearances. They really don't give a shite about what other people think!

43) People are warm, friendly, generous, and accommodating. Once you get to know them, they'd give you the shirt off their backs.

44) I like how you can go to posh places and not feel intimidated. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual unlike some places in San Francisco where everyone acts all snotty.

45) Lots of interesting characters around who are good craic!

46) They can tell a truly good joke and can engage in friendly banter. Let's not forget their colourful and creative use of the English language.

47) Their family values. More so than the states, this is saying a lot.

48) Ridiculously cheap air fares to other Euro countries.

49) Dublin and Galway (one of my top five fave cities) are a train ride away.

50)The kind and warm citizens of Fanore in the Burren. Yeah I know not in Belfast, not even in Norn Iron but who cares it's my list. They deserve recognition.

51) The stunning backdrop of the Mourne Mountains

52) The NHS...where private prescriptions are only $7.00 not $500!!

53) The Crown Saloon because it's pretty inside and a great place to grab a pint and snog with your SO in the snug.

54) Queen's Film Theater - a venue with a fine selection of independent and foreign film. You can also have a glass of wine with your popcorn.

55) Strolling through the cobblestone lined streets of the Cathedral Quarter, historic and cultural heart of Belfast. The streets are lined with trendy cafes, nightclubs, pubs, and fascinating architecture. Oh and St. Anne's Cathedral is here.

56) And last but not least...

Lady! Possibly the coolest dog known to mankind


Reiss Gunson said...

i like your blog, interesting to read how someone from frisco experiences dublin. i am from new zealand and & live in london & can relate to many of the things on your list

kind regards

Anonymous said...

Erm... She wasn't talking about Dublin. She's talking about Belfast :/