Towards the Admiration of Man(chester)

Trip Start Aug 23, 2012
Trip End Aug 24, 2014

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, October 14, 2013

As is par for our course, we arrived in Manchester at a crazy time. We caught the city bus into the center of town and asked the driver the best way to get to our hotel. He was very helpful and we followed the tram line to where we were told and found the correct street.

Everything was silent.  Every bar, store, and restaurant was closed.  We saw four cars passing us and a handful of people on the street.  Silence.  We were able to see the familiar coffee shops - Café Nero, Starbucks, and Costas along the way, so we knew where we could pick them up in the morning. All of the signs were legible and directions were very clear. What is this insanity we have walked into?

Not certain what Manchester would bring we snuggled in at 3:00am UK time with no alarm set.  We hoped for the included breakfast, but we wouldn't be heartbroken if we didn't make it.  Managing to sleep all the way until 9:00am, make it we did.  Our internal clocks are used to being confused.
The central part of Manchester was anything but quiet now.  People rushing from shop to shop and others waiting on the tram; there was a great amount of hustle and bustle.  Coffee shops and restaurants galore.

We knew we wanted to make it to a few museums, so we spent the day in the Manchester Art Gallery and Museum of Science and Industry.  While we attempted to find a show at the Royal Exchange Theatre, nothing stuck our interest, so we only looked around.  If we were there a week later we could have had the chance to see something in their theatre in the round.  The outside looked fascinating, but alas, I could not look inside.  The theatre itself was visually spectacular.  Very old meets new; old fashioned yet cutting edge.

Of course afterward we ducked into a coffee shop to people watch and relax.  Warm, comfortable, and a constant slue of people.  Steve and I sat there watching and making up stories about their lives.  College students, tourists, uptight business people ready to run away the moment their companion arrived and rejoin the sea of humanity.  Fascinating.

Dinner was Indian food.  A little place around the corner from our hotel did an excellent job.  Sitting there we started discussing big cities.  Do we miss living in them?  No.  Granted they have numerous restaurants to choose from with varying cuisines.  There is almost always something to do and see.  We love that about big cities, but the amount of energy it all requires is astounding.  Pushing, shoving, waiting.  For a holiday it's okay.  Usually we don't have a schedule set in stone.  Working is a very different matter in a large city.  Granted our major experiences have been Istanbul and Shanghai.  We will see where life takes us next.
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