Katie and I love to go on city breaks, although she is now used to the fact that the camera always comes along too! People ask me what kind of camera should they take on holiday and I usually reply - the one that fits in your pocket. I tend to use my Leica Monochrom, my Ricoh GR or the new Sony RX1R mk2 (probably the best location camera available today)
It's been 40 years since I last visited Florence and I still have a photo of me aged 17 perched on a stool in Harry's Bar next to the river Arno. My Grandfather loved Florence and would often visit his friend Salvatore Ferragamo and discuss shoemaking techniques and wouldn't miss a visit to the Uffizi Gallery. With this in mind, Katie and I returned determined to retrace his steps and we weren't disappointed. Although the temperature back in July hit 45 degrees, we sought refuge in the Uffizi and found it totally fascinating.
It was Katie's idea to visit Belfast and she suggested we should combine the trip with my birthday last October. I have to confess that I didn't know a great deal about Belfast, apart from hearing the news of The Troubles almost nightly during the past 30 years, and of course, for building the Titanic. Our friends seemed rather mystified that we were taking a city break to Belfast and wondered why weren't going to a more familiar destination in October, such as Barcelona! We had booked a hotel called the Fitzwilliam, which is ideally placed close to the city centre and was good value when combined with the Easy jet booking. We weren't disappointed and, having checked in, we headed out to find a bar and restaurant to celebrate my birthday. Two things struck me immediately about Belfast - the people are incredibly friendly and willing to help you and the streets are so clean. With it's wonderful mix of old and modern architecture, Belfast also has some wonderful shops and restaurants and we began to wonder why we had not visited before. Of course, the answer lies in the fact, that once Belfast was surrounded by a 'ring of steel' and a bomb would explode on almost a daily basis. I still expected to see heavily armed PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) officers patrolling the streets, but the truth s we only say two officers in the whole 3 days. The next day, we set off to walk along the river Lagan towards the Titanic Museum