Sunday, October 18, 2015

Greetings from Belfast

We are staying in Belfast this week at the home of a friend while he is on his own holiday. He brought us here, showed us around the place, and surprised us with 7-day bus passes! The place where he lives is very quiet and peaceful, which is a lovely thing, especially after the hustle and bustle of the city centre. We stayed close to home the first full day we were here, but went into the city centre yesterday and today. Belfast is a small city, as cities go, but it seems quite big to us. We were reminded that we have not been in a city this size in quite a long time.

Yesterday we walked into the city from where we are just to get a sense of the area. We stopped in at St George's Market and then walked to City Hall where there is a grassy area with benches. It seemed like a good place to stop and eat the sandwiches and fruit we'd brought with us. I was shocked to see this huge TV screen there in this park-like setting. Is there not enough noise around without this thing blaring stuff at people? I have still not been able to get the words "Orwellian" and "dystopia" out of my mind when I see this thing.
There are a lot of statues in this park area and Bill walked around and took a lot of photos of them. Then we walked around the square before heading home--it was a 6 mile round trip.

As we crossed the bridge over the River Lagan, the sun was coming through at just the right angle to create this nice design on the footpath:
Today we wanted to walk around in the city so we took the bus into the city centre and it dropped us off right at City Hall. From there we walked to Donegall Quay. There is a little square there with a big blue fish, some seals, and some benches.
Many of the tiles that make up the fish are printed with designs.
Fish eye:

Lots of tourist stuff geared to Titanic here, but I thought this sign was particularly amusing:
"Not our fault, man!"

I thought this building across the street was interestng:
And the foliage across the river was beautiful:
There is a footpath along the river and as we walked along there I happened to turn my head to the left and saw a glimpse of another part of the city and the hills beyond.
We walked back to the fish and kept going to have a closer look at the sculpture we could see in the distance.

She is Beacon of Hope and stands in Thanksgiving Square at the end of the Queen Elizabeth Bridge. From the Discover Northern Ireland webpage, we read,
"Whilst it is easy to become impressed by the sheer magnitude and aesthetic appeal of the sculpture, Artist, Andy Scott who designed the iconic statue, has highlighted his hope that the true value in terms of civic pride, should not go unnoticed by the people of Northern Ireland-
'I hope that the figure is adopted by the people of Belfast as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, and as a shining beacon of modernity and progress'."

With that we concluded our river walk, got our bus home, and settled in for a quiet evening.