OUR BELFAST CHRISTMAS

belfast christmas market

I decided on a short run this morning as we planned to take the earlier bus to Belfast. I made the turn around the bend by the primary school and ran to the border of the village where the beach comes into view. Since it was Saturday the cars were few on the road to Portaferry.

After a quick shower, I sat down to a simple breakfast of baguette and butter before dressing for the cold autumn day. We had to catch the 10,20h bus at the bottom of Main Street. He thought we had to wait at the one around the corner from our doorstep. When he realised this was not the case, we ran out the door and hurried our steps as we later hurried them on the way back home.

An hour later, we arrived in Belfast city centre. Our first stop was the Movie House on Dublin Road. The movie started at noon so we had little over half an hour to get to the location which was a 20-minute walk. It was raining. Not merely a drizzle this time. By the time we reached the movie house, we were soaked.

The doors were not yet open so we waited outside in the cold for ten minutes before they let us in. He paid the cashier the £9.80 for our two matinee tickets to see Burnt and then we walked around the concession stand for another ten minutes before deciding to go through door number 2.

Two other people were already seated by the time we took our seats. The lights dimmed and nobody else arrived. We watched about ten or so minutes of previews before the movie finally started. As I had watched the trailer beforehand, I knew the main happenings of the movie. He did not wish to watch the trailer.

Though we liked the experience of going to the movies together - which was something we had not yet done - we left the cinema feeling there should have been more. 'Typical American movie' was his reply, referring to the nicely tied-up package of Hollywood where a happy ending is almost always guaranteed.

I felt the movie had a weak storyline. There were characters who contributed little to the plot. Other parts of the story could have been developed further. I recalled watching The Hundred-Foot Journey late last summer and how it left me inspired as I left the theatre. I had no such feeling as we left the Dublin Movie House.

We walked out of the cinema and back into the rain. Coffee was next on our list of things to do. Turning left on Skipper Street, we decided to go our separate ways for our drinks since I did not want a Guinness and he did not want a coffee. I kissed him goodbye as he crossed the street to The Harp Bar and I continued down Hill Street a short way until I reached the fogged up doors of Established Coffee.

I ordered a cappuccino and a chocolate and coffee loaf which I enjoyed at the long communal table in the middle. He arrived as I finished the loaf and we chatted for a few minutes before heading back into the unrelenting rain.

Once again, I went to the bookstore whilst he checked on something at Primark. He found me downstairs looking for books for my children and decided to leave me in my 'Eden', as he called it, whilst he went to the Europa bus station to check on the bus back to both Dublin for next week and tonight's bus.

I looked over the receipt the cashier handed to me and noticed she overcharged me by £2. The books were discounted but the cash register rung up the prices at the full price. After waiting for a supervisor to return me the difference, I walked upstairs in the hopes of finding him. I found him walking towards the bookstore as I exited.

The day was not ideal for the opening day of the Belfast Christmas market. The rain offered no reprieve as we walked around the various stalls looking for something of interest. This was not the magnitude of the Christmas markets in Germany, particularly the one I went to in Nuremburg when I was pregnant with my first child.

Since the children's father kept all of the Christmas decorations we set up around the house every year, I hoped to find replacements at this market. There was nothing. The pyramids and Räuchermännchen might have to wait until my boyfriend and I go to Germany one day lest I find them online.

Our jackets were not waterproof and we were getting colder and wetter by the minute. I was hungry and wanted to go home to try the three assorted Gouda cheeses we bought. We walked to the Europa bus station as he thought the bus left from there at five past 'something'. It was the wrong station. We had 25 minutes to get to the Langanside bus station so he took hold of my hand as we quickly walked to catch 17.05h bus. We made it with ten minutes to spare.

Once home, we hung up our wet jackets which were soaked through and turned on the heating in the cottage. I took a hot shower and prepared a simple dinner. We ate the leftover potato soup along with baguette, Gouda cheese, bell peppers, baby tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes. For dessert we had the rest of the courgette orange poppy seed cake. This was as close to a Christmas together as we would get this year.