I’ve been told often that I live in the greenest and the posh county of the country. Most of my travels within England so far has been in and around the southern and eastern England except for my trip to York. I had an opportunity this holiday season to visit the north, experience its distinctiveness from the south and be northern. I’ve also been told more than once that Manchester is not a very nice place to visit – probably in comparison to the south. But I am so glad I went up to see for myself and realise it wasn’t at all bad. The city is definitely different from the other places I’ve been to possibly because of what seems to be more of new developments and lesser older, Victorian buildings. For an architect’s eyes, it was a treat to see a designed city and its interesting forms and details of buildings and spaces.
I was in Manchester for a week, spending Christmas with a close friend from India who’s now living and working there. A good holiday is always beneficial regardless of how badly you need one. This was a simple week spent doing simple tasks like cooking, watching movies, walking, shopping and talking. We had decided not long before the week that we’d try to create a mini-Christmas at hers – have a small tree, some gifts to go under it, definitely a roast dinner and just a relaxed time with each other.
I was so fascinated by how inexpensive everything is up north compared to say Guildford. To top it all off, walking into an Aldi made our Christmas food shopping a lot cheaper. Truly. Amazed. I was taken to many independent shops selling a variety of designer products. I naturally went crazy and bought all the pretty items I desperately needed for my kitchen like empty tins in pretty colours, lots of types of green and herbal tea and so on. The roast dinner lasted 4 days for two girls who don’t eat a lot. I don’t at all remember cooking after the Christmas day until the day I left. We tried creating new meals out of the leftovers and it couldn’t have been any more fun. And I still cannot believe how we managed to watch a total of 15 movies in a span of 7 days!
Because both of us were coincidently on a budget this holiday season, the whole week worked out very well and pretty cheap. If I exclude my boxing day shopping :/ and the 40 pounds only spent on virgin train tickets (including insurance), I might have spent only under a 100 pounds this trip that included Christmas meal and small gifts, a fancy meal outside, a day trip to a nearby town, coffee here and there, meals between walks and shopping and visits. All in all, it was a perfect holiday for me! And I came back to Guildford learning that I wouldn’t hesitate to move to Manchester if I had to.
It is also impossible for me to visit a new city and not take a tour and visit a Gallery. I was lucky to find the Manchester Art Gallery open just a few days after Christmas despite the holiday shut-downs everywhere. Manchester is also the only city I’ve visited In the UK that has Trams. I insisted we ride the tram and we ended up planning a trip to a pretty little town in greater Manchester called Altrincham. Spent half a day there realising why my friend raved a lot about its market and the independent shops. A weekend pass for the tram – 6.50 pounds! 😊
By the end of the 7 days, I was properly attracted to Manchester. I also really liked the idea of having a worker bee as a symbol for the city, that’s meant to send out a message – ‘everybody is busy and works hard as a bee’, so much that I bought a bee broach. Wearing it makes me bee motivated 😀
Loved manchester! Next trip back there will also include exploring Liverpool.