Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The 10 Day You Challenge. Day 5: Six Places

Ok, we're half way there with today's post.  More, if you consider that there were lots more things on day 1 than on day 10.  But narrowing it down isn't necessarily easier, so, you know...

Six places.

1. Ballywalter
Where I grew up, and where my parents and most of my family still live.  I loved growing up there, and I still love going back.  It's a fairly small village, but the coastline is lovely, the beach is fabulous, and on a summer's day there's nowhere better for kayaking in the bay.

2. Greystones
Another seaside village, this one south of Dublin.  I have lots of happy memories from Greystones, and it's a beautiful place.  For a couple of summers I spent a fortnight there, and those were wonderful weeks of playing frisbee, enjoying the local coffee shop, walking to Bray along the spectacular coast, and lying about with good, trusted friends and having big conversations.

3. The Dock Cafe
If you're friends with me on Facebook, you'll know that I'm forever in The Dock Cafe.  The Dock is an honesty box cafe - you just put in however much you think your food was worth.  It's an eclectic mix of furniture, with not-really-matching-but-very-comfy cushions and throws, random donated mugs, a cupboard full of board games, and a few bookcases.  There are guitars you can just pick up and play (if you know how), and there's usually some kind of book discussion, knitting group or random meeting happening.  The walls are covered in local artwork and Titanic memorabilia (it's in the Titanic Quarter).

Even better, it's at the other end of a nice cycle from my house into the City Centre.

4. Slovakia
Ah, Slovakia (apologies for the terrible picture, which is a photo of a photo sitting on my knee).  Having spent 3 summers teaching English here, I came to love the place.  Fabulous scenery, lovely people and terrible food.

One of my favourite bits was the night train, which always felt like you were taking your life in your hands, but also had an aura of Orient Express (a fairly faint odour, like).

5. Queen's University / School
Part of me thinks I was made for academia.  I loved school and I loved university.  I can go back to Queen's any time, and straight away feel like I'm home.  I loved going to university, being at university, and hanging around at university for years after I really should have left.  Good times.

6. Belfast
I love Belfast.  It's a wonderful city - lots of history, culture, sights, and changes.  Belfast is pretty small (you can get from any point to any other point in about an hour on foot), but there's loads of stuff packed in.  For a while we were all about the bombs and riots (although I can honestly say I've never heard a bomb go off, or seen a riot happen, despite having lived here for 17 years).  When I moved to Belfast at first, you didn't go out at night, partly for safety, and partly because there was nothing much to do.

But it's a city that's moving on, and now you can hardly move for culture nights and arts festivals and cycle lanes.

We still have the odd freak-out about flags and stuff, but still.  Nice place.

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