Charity football in Manchester

Trip Start Jun 12, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, June 8, 2014



The busy month of fun and visiting continued with a trip
to Manchester. We saw a couple of months ago that there was a charity football
game being played at Old Trafford with Robbie Williams as the captain of 'Team
UK' and other stars such as Mark Owen, Gordon Ramsey, and many retired
footballers. So we decided to get tickets and go. We figured it was a good
opportunity to go to an English football game in one of the most famous
stadiums for a pretty good price (only 20 pounds each for really good seats).



Our trip up to Manchester was enjoyable; it was a quick
train to Oxford where we stopped for a pint at our favourite Sam Smith pub the
Three Goats Heads. We stumbled across the Oxford Pride march which was just
starting with lots of fanfare and rainbow flags. It was nice watching the
changing countryside through the train window. Up through the midlands area it
gets a bit more industrial but then comes back out into the countryside. I saw
some wild hare and a lot of sheep and horses and cows along the way.

Arriving into Manchester we
made our way to the hotel, another Novotel – we decided to treat ourselves to something
fancy…plus there wasn’t much else left when I went to book and a lot of the
other hotels were really expensive! As we made our way towards the hotel we
chanced past Go Falafel a vegan falafel stand…we made a note to visit it at a
later stage! Our hotel was a little walk up one of the main streets from the
city centre, quite handy. Our room was really nice, it had a sitting area and 2
tvs!!! Very plush.

After settling in we went in
search of food and supplies. We had dinner at the Pizza Express as I had a
voucher for free dough balls, plus they do the vegan pizza straight of the
menu. The restaurant is right on Piccadilly Gardens so it was lovely looking
out at all the hustle and bustle! We then wandered around town, reminding
ourselves of trips past. We know Manchester pretty well. We made our way to the
famous Sinclair’s Oyster Bar which is a Sam Smith pub right in the middle of
the modern shopping area, but it is an ancient building with a lot of history.
The term ‘mind your peas and Kews’ came from there! This pub is crazily busy
and on a sunny Friday afternoon it was packed inside and out. We figured we’d
have to stand but then I went up the little staircase and found lots of little
nooks that were free, so we went up and sat there by the window watching the
beer garden below and all the frivolity. The pints there are served in plastic –
I guess it gets a bit rowdy at times…we found that it does take away a little
from the experience, but it’s a small price to pay even so.

The next day we wanted to
try out some vegan cafes. Many are closed over the weekends which is annoying,
but there was one V Revolution that was open on Sundays and not too far a walk
from the main square. We had a special burger and a chick burger. Both were
nice, both were Frys brand…so nothing all that exciting really (we had read
that they served the ‘best’ burgers in the UK….well Frys brand is good sure…but
for that title you’d probably want a homemade patty, some amazing sauces etc
etc). They were expensive, 5 pounds each and didn’t come with anything (see
photos). The workers there were very friendly though and that does make a
difference! They also had a nice little selection of cold and shelf goodies
with some Wheaty brand from Germany, which we haven’t seen elsewhere in the UK,
vegan ‘black pudding’, and violife cheese blocks…so I would probably visit
again just for the shopping!! We went to the Go Falafel store and grabbed some
takeaway falafel and salads for after game dinner that night. We couldn’t help ourselves
though and stopped in the gardens to have a few of the falafel while they were
still hot! They were AMAZING!!! The best falafel we’ve had since arriving in
the UK – real falafel!!!!

We then made our way to the
football! The tram workers were really helpful with getting tickets and
directing people to correct trams. As we got out at Old Trafford stop and
walked past the Old Trafford Cricket Club it started bucketing down so we
quickly got our rain jackets on. England has proven to have very changeable weather,
which I like. One moment it will be sunny, then pouring…but then after 10
minutes the skies clear again. So it seems like a good plan that when it does
rain, stop under some shelter and it will probably pass! We’d been to Old
Trafford before but just for a stadium tour so it was fun to be there for a
game. We got there early and saw the teams come out and warm up. It was a fun
atmosphere. The last friendly type game we went to was in Bremen at the Weser
Stadium for Thorsten Frings and it was a really fun game, lots of jolliness and
lots of goals (that game had stars as well, including Michael Schumacher…it was
not long after that he was seriously injured and is still unwell)…so I think we
expected similar from this game…lots of theatrics and fun…but it wasn’t like
that! It seemed like all the players were taking it very seriously there was
even some push and shove at one stage! So that was a bit of a disappointment in
a way…but it was still a good game and we saw Ramsey playing well, Mark Owen…but
sadly not Robbie. He came out and warmed up a little bit. It was a bit of a
shame!!! But otherwise it was a great night!

The next day we didn’t have
too long until our train so we wandered around town again, enjoyed the sights
once more, walked through a nice little market area, and bought some more
falafel for our train trip. We also went to another nearby vegan café – Earth Café.
It is down a little staircase into a basement under the Buddhist centre. A really
nice venue. We wanted to get something else for the train, but their hot dishes
looked fantastic – they do a plate of mixed veggies and other dishes which we
look forward to trying another time. Instead we got a sausage roll and a pasty –
all handmade fresh each day on the premises! Later on the train when we had
them they were really delicious! That’s the type of good vegan food we’re
looking for…homemade, with love!!!! Next trip we’ll definitely go there (only
open on weekdays though).

So that was our first of 2
Manchester trips this month, the next is on June 29 for the Robbie Williams
concert. Tomorrow we have a long day travelling through London and to YHA South
Downs where we are taking a First Aid training course! Next week it looks like
I will be going to London to a company meeting…so that should be interesting!!!


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