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Exploring My Corner of Belfast

Michelle and I decided to visit the bank and grab lunch last week. There was still snow (and ice!) on the ground, but the skies were relatively clear, so we enjoyed the sites along the way.

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Stranmillis Student Union

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As we walked away from the campus, most of the people we passed wished us a pleasant afternoon. Locals here are much friendlier than the locals back in my part of Virginia.

I’m sure I looked a little bit tourist-y with my camera (It’s my first week here!), but I didn’t think I was too obvious until I got caught taking a photo of this here tree.

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THE Tree

A passerby gave me a startled look, warmly exclaiming, “What! You’ve never seen a tree before?” I just laughed. Explaining that ivy rarely grows so thickly on tree trunks where I’m from would’ve taken far too long.

I was able to capture some quirky photos on my walk.

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This would be labeled ‘Cigarettes’ and ‘Trash’ in the US

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ImageI love how all the churches around here seem to be older and gorgeous. Like George Clooney.

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I love these photos of the city with those snowy hills in the distance.

This is a really cool-looking graveyard entrance.

This is a really cool-looking graveyard entrance.

We stopped by the bank and then looked for a place appropriate for lunch (and our student budgets). We decided on a place called ‘The Elms’ because the Queen’s students live in Elms Village, and we suspected the familiar name might be an indicator of a student hangout.

It was lunch time, and school wasn’t yet in session, so the place was pretty empty. Michelle and I liked the atmosphere, though. Laid-back, eclectic, and a little rough around the edges.

These bottles are used to hold candles in the evenings.

These bottles are used to hold candles in the evenings. If you look closely, you can see dripped wax down the sides.

My chili chicken wrap from lunch. I asked for no mayo and the server raised her eyebrows. After receiving this slightly-dry-but-still-good wrap, I understand the purpose of the mayo.

My chili chicken wrap from lunch. I asked for no mayo and the server raised her eyebrows. After receiving this slightly-dry-but-still-good wrap, I understood the purpose of the mayo.

I ordered water, but the server asked if I wanted 'something in it'. At first I was wondering if this was code for alcohol (or maybe a loogie) when she listed a few fruity options. I picked black currant. This is something I've heard of, but never actually tried or seen offered in the US. Other things like this? Rhubarb and turnips. By the way, the black currant water was delicious.

I ordered water, but the server asked if I wanted ‘something in it’. I was wondering if this was code for alcohol (or maybe a loogie if she was upset for some reason) when she listed a few fruity options. I picked black currant. This is something I’ve heard of, but never actually tried or seen offered in the US. Other things heard-of-but-unseen? Rhubarb and turnips. By the way, the black currant water was delicious.

On the way back to Stranmillis, we passed Queen’s. Of course I took photos. It’s so darned stately.

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Directly beside the Queen’s main building is the Queen’s Botanic Gardens. Even though it’s winter, Michelle and I decided to check it out.

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Mostly it looked the way gardens are supposed to look in winter…

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We passed by the entrance of the Ulster Museum while in the gardens.

We passed by the entrance of the Ulster Museum while in the gardens.

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But then we found the greenhouse. As we entered, heat and humidity chased away the chill from outside. It was like finding a tropical forest, my own personal jungle, hidden away within a winter wonderland.

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And the gardens also included a Palm House.

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In the Palm House, I saw this sign. I really hope it’s a joke.

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I saw one more memorable site on the way back. I’ve never been to Maggie Mays, but this oreo-eyed snowman was too cute to ignore! He demanded some camera time.

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Bye for now!

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