Stopover in Belfast
Belfast is going through a fantastic time right now. With only less than an hour's flight from London, the city has a lot of things to do and see (Titanic was built here!). The weather is somewhat chilly but tourists (mostly North Americans, Australians, along with a handful of Chinese and Japanese) – are coming back in droves. Interestingly enough, despite it’s previous ‘freedom fighting’ image in the worldwide media, Belfast is officially classed as the 2nd safest city in the WORLD by the United Nations (after Tokyo). There had been some protests (about flags) a few weeks before I arrived, but nothing of the serious nature to what the city has seen in the past. There was a sense of normality on the streets, and it was just like being in any other city in Europe.
Most people don't seem to understand that the fighting that used to be common in the city has thankfully seen its worst days over. Even at the famed Europa Hotel in the city centre, where I stayed, one could not feel or see a single whisker in sight that this place was at one time in history the most attacked hotel in the whole of Europe. Perhaps quite reassuring was that even former US President Clinton stayed here, to which they have renamed one of the suite as the Clinton Suite.
People in these tough economic times would also be glad to know that the city in fact has the lowest cost of living in the United Kingdom. The city is also home to the famed Queen’s University Belfast, which is attracting inward investment through becoming a beehive for students from the Far-East, and South-Asia.
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