While visions of unibrowed-Oasis singers danced in my head, I got off the bus in downtown Manchester on a chilly and damp November day; I was there by luck – a work trip to London coincided nicely with seeing one of my favorite comedians, Eddie Izzard, at the glossy MEN arena in Manchester, and I had time to explore the bustling city. It was near Christmas time, so all the shops in the North Quarter were a hub of excitement and laughter. By nightfall the area around the glistening Urbis Museum (sort of smaller-scale Picadilly Circus – the area, not the abstract-art-glass-architecture museum) was bustling, and the Manchester Wheel (small scale London Eye) boasted many giggling teenagers queuing up. People were milling around in the sleek Picadilly Gardens, and I enjoyed eating my makeshift picnic lunch while watching some city workers put holiday lights up in the trees surrounding an imposing statue of Queen Victoria. Walking the city brought me to the fabulous Imperial War Museum, as well as charming glimpses at the dimly-lit cafes and curry houses set against the River Tame; and, while I walked, a friend who’d been to the city did advise that the trams are really easy to use. Manchester Cathedral was imposing at dusk, but the gorgeous little lit-foodpath/waterfall area around it, enhanced by skate-boarding kids, was very urbane and welcoming. Manchester has Roman fortress ruins and the cute (refurbished) Shambles Square, and is a sports hub with football clubs Manchester United (Man U!) and Manchester City (com’on, Ci-t-y!). The Manchester accent is one of my favorites of England, and the people felt less chilly and distant than the rushed crispness of Londoners; hope you get to hear it soon.
Filed under: Europe, Uncategorized | Tagged: bus, curry houses, England, friendly folk, Imperial War Museum, London, London Eye, Manchester, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester City, Manchester United, Manchester Wheel, MEN arena, North Quarter, Picadilly Circus, Picadilly Gardens, picnic, quays, Queen Victoria, River Tame, Roman ruins, Shambles Square, UK, Urbis Museum | Leave a Comment »