Trip Start Apr 17, 2008
Trip End Oct 27, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hostel Hilton Chambers

Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hello, I'm Richard Gere.

Not really. Apparently the travel blog is behind, which makes sense considering we are in Edinburgh and i'm now writing about Manchester. Anyway, Manchester then, here we go.

We arrived in Manchester courtesy of Megabus, it was how the name suggests, very mega. I think it took about 4 hours, i slept about 3.5 of them and Lisa not so much; poor lisa's not a good sleeper. We stayed in the northern quarter of Manchester, which is supposed to be the alternative hub, full of skinny jean wearing indie kids and artists and bars and curries and stuff, kinda like the Fitzroy of Melbourne i guess. Our hostel was called the Hilton. Some people say that the Hilton is a fancy hotel but for me its just a hostel, because i am very fancy and have very high standards. No, it really is a hostel called Hilton Chambers and its on Hilton Street. Hostel is nice. Staff were very friendly and the place very clean and free toast all day. That means i ate about 1 million pieces of toast in 3 days, pretty impressive.

Anyway, what did we do. Well, first night after trying to get in touch with Lisa's friend Mike for ages and having no luck we decided to head out on our own. Of course it turned out  that Lisa was sending messages to some number she made up, or got off a tiolet wall or something. Anyway, we headed out on the trail of real ales (old man, celler temp (warm), hand pumped beers with no carbonation.... sounds good huh!). The hostel had a list of pubs on their own ale trail which i think Miss Mel Thorne had something to do with. We probably went to about 6 pubs, some of which were lovely and cute, others not so much. Wan't too impressed by any of the ales i tried and by the end of the night i just needed some fizz to help it all down, so i had a larger. After about the 3rd of 4th pub we decided to find this tapas bar mel had told us about, El grinco or something to that effect. Anyway, it would have probably been the best food ever, if we could find it. Instead wee ended up eating chinese food, in a bad english pub, which turns out was about 2 streets away from China town..... smart people hey. Anyway, the food was crap, but thats ok. All in all, not a bad night though i was somewhat dissapointed by the ales i had tried so far.

OK then. The next day we did stuff. Its true, you might not believe it but it happened. I think the first thing we did was have a cold shower ( only gripe about the hostel) and then headed to Afflex palace which was superb. Its an old building with about 4 levels of independant alternative kind of retailers. So much cool stuff and really cheap too. I got a shirt with those kinda stud buttons so i can rip my shirt off in a fit of passion, or anger or something and not rip the buttons. I need a shirt like that because i do that kind of thing all the time. Anyway, only 15 and it fits really good, nothing ever fits me either. Heaps of second hand cloths and stuff too. Very cool. Almost bought a MASH t-shirt, probably should have too.

Anyway, next stop was the craft centre deep within manchesters northern quarter. It this old building filled with artist studios and shops. Everything from jewelry makers and photographers to naked dancing while smothering each other with honey. That first bit was true but not the naked part. The coolest thing i saw, which i wanted to buy for lisa but couldn't because she was next to me the whole time was a silver necklace whith a little silver shopping list on it, so very cute.

Urbis was our next stop which i suppose is manchesters version of federation square, or something like it anyway. They have all these exhibitions and stuff in there. They had a Manga exhibition when we went and it was really cool. Got to look at heaps of astro boy stuff and hello kitty and all kinds of crazy things. I can't really tell you much about it because i don't know, but it was interesting and fun to look at. Take my word for it, its true. Ok, deal.

Greggs sausage rolls are the best. Thought i'd put that in for anyone who has had one. Greggs is a chain of bakeries through the UK and its super and cheap. The sausage rolls are best from Greggs in Manchester though. Thanks for the tip mel. I've eaten 27 sausage rolls by now for sure.

We probably just went ot the pub after that. We did meet up with Mike at night though, and his lovely girlfriend Sam. Mike is lovely too, but in a manly way while sam is lovely in a girl kinda way. Now that thats straight i can get on with things. Oh yes, i remember. It all started with a quickly consumed half bottle of Gin, Tanquaray ( think that how yous spell it) which was duty free, yum yum! Although it tastes great, its never a good was to start an evening which is something we would find out later. Finally found Mike and Sam after walking the wrong way down the street we were to meet them at. Had some pints and ended up in a place called sams chop house. Can't remember topo much of the night but i do remember Lisa going to the Ladies room and not coming back for a good 20 minutes. Apparently she somehow made her way from the toilet to the street outside. Not knowing exactly where she had just come from she proceded to explore the surrounding pubs to find us. After consulting the locals and going to about 2 other pubs she finally found us. Needless to say she was pretty happy and we had a good laugh. Ended the night trying to find our way home, or more to the point me trying to find our way home and Lisa just trying to walk. She was having a good time though, thought everything was very funny, even her falling over a couple of times. We did make it and i think we passed out, good times.

The next day we..... i don't like saying the next day, sounds very much like someone in primary school writes a story. On the morrow ( i don't even know if thats the right thing to say) took the metrolink to the quay area i think its called. The metrolink is kinda like a tram, but it doesn't run on roads like in melbourne. anyway, we went to the Lowry museum. Lowry is this artist man from manchester who did lots of art showing industrial landscapes of manchester and the people in them. Lots of paintings of people going to work and things, always with factories and stuff around. alot of other stuff too. Alot of his stuff is great, it was well worth a look. Afterwards we went to the imperial war museum which was the highlight. It was just a great museum with loads of cool things. Pretty much documents all the wars the commonwealth has been involved in from the late 1800's through to now. It includes all the weapons, uniforms and heaps of stories, and letters home from soldier and things. Also, every hour they have these movies projected on all the walls of the museum, with topics such as war weapons, children in the war.  Very moving stuff, but also quite scarey to think that it all can quite possibly happen again...or already is.

That night we met up with Mike again to watch Man United v Barcelona at a very crowded pub.  We had a pint on canal st (the gay district) and a few drinks elsewhere.  It was sad saying goodbye that night but Kev had curry to look forward to and the next day, on to the lake district, north west of manchester.

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