Last time we were made the trip from Liverpool to Belfast I blogged about the similarities between two great port cities. Built by the hands of working class folk, in the heat of industrial revolutions, political hotbeds, full of history. Now both cities have reinvented themselves as great tourist spots, making the most of their rich hertiages, culture and people, becoming ‘go-to’ places for visitors from these islands and further afield.
Just being around Belfast today I am struck by two things that remind me so much of Liverpool. Informality and personality. There is such energy about the two cities; people meeting, talking (loudly), laughing in great numbers and not in suits. They meet in the cool coffee bars and eateries to talk shop but do so in jeans, trainers, t-shirts and hoodies. Not a briefcase or tie to be seen. They are relaxed but focused. It is like watching an Apple or Facebook advert. Being near them makes one feel a little hipper, a little cooler.
This informality is coupled with a confidence and pleasantness that is not unique but is rare in busy, lovely places. People make time for each other. They smile. They talk. They pass the time of day. They say please and thank you. They look like they are enjoying life. The interactions we saw today felt like those of Silicon Valley or Shoreditch. It is great to see. It left me with a warm feeling. A pride. Long may it continue.