In Belfast

I went out on a Friday night, alone, and in an unknown city. Shrugging off the niggling feeling of panic, I descended the steps of a pub, and as I was entering its dark interior, my heart skipped. I was in. Defence against any lecherous advances ready should I need to use it: polite, but firm. I really am fine on my own. By far happier than in certain company, in any case. So I ordered my Guinness at the bar, and found my place in the pub, close to the small stage at the far end of the room. The music started, and I settled into my solitude, like slipping in a pair of old comfortable shoes before going for a long walk by the sea. Breathing in the fresh air already. Metaphorically in this case, of course.

I’m in Belfast for a couple of days, on my own. One of the things I’ve wanted to do here is go out, preferably to a pub, drink Guinness and listen to some live music. But I’m travelling alone, and I don’t always feel safest on my own. I sometimes think this is easier for blokes. I feel vulnerable, preyed upon at times. And I hate feeling that, and  being restricted in that way. I feel silly for feeling that way. Also, it’s a bit paranoid, I know. So this time I decided go for it anyway. I did, and it felt oh so good!

I loved comfortable darkness of the pub, the shady red lights reflecting on the red wall paper, making it look magic. A velvet curtain dripping a red warm glow in the same light, the light that gave its drab folds life it doesn’t possess in the daylight. I missed my camera which was left in my hotel room. And I relished the taste of just poured Guinness in my mouth.

The pub was called the Empire, and the music was fantastic! Just a guy with a guitar, playing away. One of the songs that seemed to particularly resonate both within the singer and the audience went like this: 


I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution

Take a bow for the new revolution

Smile and grin at the change all around

Pick up my guitar and play

Just like yesterday

Then I’ll get on my knees and pray

We don’t get fooled again

No, no!


I wonder whether by singing this powerful song by the Who (see also the lyrics for Won’t Get Fooled Again) the singer was thinking about the recent events in this region. 5 February 2010 was an important Friday for Northern Ireland, as the agreement was reached that the responsibility for policing and justice will be devolved from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly, i.e. giving Northern Ireland the control of its police and justice system. In any case, I hope this seals the peace in this land.

I return home with the determination to travel alone again. Soon. And to learn how to make potato bread and wheathen bread, to which I’ve become addicted. If you know a good recipe, drop me a line, and especially if you have any tips for women travelling alone. Cheers!


Leave a comment


  1. Viš meni nije problem bit solo u nekom drugom gradu.
    Atenu sam prešla uzduž i poprijeko potpuno sama, a to stvarno nije najsigurniji grad na svijetu. 😀
    Meni je problem sama sjediti u nekom bircu u Zagrebu, tad se osjećam užasno izloženo, kao da me svi gledaju.
    Ne znam zašto je tako…
    Baš bi voljela vidjeti koju fotku Belfasta, jesi uspjela štogod fotkat?


  2. Je, fotkala sam jos osim ovog Guinnessa gori! 😀 Stavit cu fotke na blog kroz par dana.

    Nije meni problem bit sama u nekom gradu, vec me malko trta izac sama u neki birc/klub navecer u nepoznatom gradu. Tj bila me trta! Mislim da sam napravila prvi korak!


  3. Mouse

     /  7 February, 2010

    Well done you!! I didn’t know you were travelling by yourself! Very proud of you, o independent one!


  4. Good for you dear!


  5. Hi Maninas, my goodness your blog is so gorgeous! I love it, and the pic of broccoli in the header. The shot of the guiness is wonderful.

    I travel alone a lot. Well done for making your first foray. You learn a lot more about culture and customs when you travel alone, and you meet so many more people because you are not relying solely on your travelling companion for company. good luck with the future travel.


  6. Enjoy your travels, Maninas. You’re not paranoid, btw. You’re being smart. Traveling alone can be liberating. Like you, I sometimes hesitate to make that leap, but have been glad when I have.


  7. MOUSE, thank you, my dear! Any chance for a potato bread and wheathen bread recipe, please? 😀 I must learn how to make those!

    TASTE OF BEIRUT, thanks.

    GANGA, I’m so pleased to hear that you like my new look! I love the broccoli photo, too, because it’s one of the instances when the camera shows me more than I can see with the naked eye!

    The pub where I took the Guinness photo was very dark, but I love the end result, and the different ‘textures’ of this light.

    It is true that we make more contact with the locals or other visitors when travelling alone. Having said that, Belfast people made that very easy – they’re so friendly!

    Have you got any travel tips for me? In particular, I’m hoping to go to India within the next year or so. Hey, you could even write a post about travelling in India on your blog. I’m sure many would love to read it.

    BRIA, thanks for your comment. Liberating describes the experience very well!


  8. Brave girl. I’ve traveled alone a bit, but never braved a pub alone.


  9. cool shot!



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