Manchester and Mancunians

Trip Start Oct 17, 2011
Trip End May 22, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20-23, 2012

"I love MCR" – thus say Mancunians. I just learned that people from Manchester are called Mancunians (man-kyoo-nee-unz).
(Sidebar: I love Wikipedia. I now know the words demonym and gentilic, meaning the name for residents of a particular locality. Wiktionary gives the following example, which is something I wonder about too! Why is it that people from the United States use American as their demonym?)

Stopping over in Manchester before heading to Wales, I had just two days to explore this vibrant city, long enough to learn that there's a lot more to see. Manchester really only started its growth spurt in the 1850s, during the Industrial Revolution, yet it is a very interesting city architecturally. I went on a walking tour called Architectural Manchester and observed several different styles: Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic, Baroque and more. The glorious red Midland Hotel, originally a railway hotel, is where Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce met and decided to form a car-making partnership. The John Rylands Library was opened January 1, 1900, and cost a staggering-for-the-time one million British pounds.

Manchester has two universities and has produced many Nobel Prize winners. I would like to return sometime to go to some of the museums, especially the Museum of Science and Industry, MOSI, which houses the first stored-program computer, nicknamed Baby.

Sackville Park has a statue of Alan Turing, “father of computer science,” wartime code-breaker, mathematical genius, who also happened to be gay, was persecuted and committed suicide (it’s assumed) at age 42 by eating a poisoned apple.

I fit in a concert by the wonderful Hallé Orchestra (established in 1858) at the excellent Bridgewater Hall. Bought a set of CDs of them playing works by English composers. I’ve mailed home several CDs this trip - will look forward to listening to them all when I eventually get home.

February 22, the first anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake. It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I was there, living through the tragedy of that day. I was at the airport almost ready to board the plane after spending two-and-a-half months enjoying that lovely city. I've read that the quake lasted 24 seconds; it certainly seemed longer. I feel for the people of Christchurch, who have endured a thousand aftershocks since then and have such a long road to recovery and rebuilding ahead of them.
(I managed to get on a flight two days later, having camped out in a hotel lobby the first night and a cold campervan the second. That kind of travel adventure I would rather live without.)

Now it’s on to Wales! Two years ago I rode the train from Chester to Holyhead to catch the ferry to Ireland. Somewhere along the route I caught a glimpse of castle ruins (must have been at Conwy) and said to myself: I must come back here asap! Now I have.
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