Tuesday, September 08, 2015

More on the Manchester Trip (days 1 and 2)

Well we've not had a summer holiday so need to squeeze in some trips before 2015 is done and the idea came to mind to visit Manchester.


Euston: we don't have a problem
Now that Travel Agents are all but a thing of the past we did this visit via Superbreaks.com and the option to include rail was taken up.

Toilet humour lives here.
As the difference between standard and First Class was quite small we chose to take the Luxury way of travelling (with Virgin) and it was surprisingly good, included was drink and food as well as Wi-Fi and comfortable seats.

I know Virgin take a bit of flack particularly for their train service but the journey  Euston/Manchester (and back) was really good - modern rolling stock and good timekeeping so can't complain - Virgin even retain a bit of humour in their toilets.

I chose a 4* hotel and it's got an intriguing history, the hotel (The Palace Hotel formerly the Refuge Assurance Company HQ) is undergoing some modernisation and certainly the breakfast was pretty good and it was just across the street from Oxford Road Railway Station .

We were told we'd been 'upgraded' when we booked in  but I would say it's probably the noisiest hotel room I've ever stayed in and also the room was quite difficult to affect change  with respect to the temperature (it was cold).
Nice room- but where do I turn off the lights?

What was really  astounding though was that with so many light fittings there was no method of turning the lights off from within the bedroom (this done in the entry vestibule) so you couldn't get the room dark without leaving the bed (and room) - we did mention this on checking out and also to the cleaners - seems amazing that the mistake had not been rectified ahead of handing over for use.

Friday


Manchester's a vibrant cosmopolitan city with plenty of places to eat, on Friday night we visited their small China Town and had a nice Cantonese meal.
China Town - small but nicely formed

There's a vibrant Chinese community and it's noticeable that the non- indigenous population in Manchester is of a different mix than that of London - sad to report though that many people seem to be living on the streets in the centre of the city.


 


Saturday


And it's free too
Manchester is full of culture and we visited the Manchester City Gallery which was really impressive sadly time was limited but loved the Millais (Autumn Leaves) and also The Chariot Race by Wagner (an artist new to me).

Eating in the evening was at Gio and Girgios where we had a very nice Italian meal.

On Saturday as well as the Gallery we took a bus  tour of the City and environs - very good guide (not recorded) and so many facts and stories - for Example Marx and Engels having a pint over The Communist Manifesto in a Manchester pub, Rolls and Royce having their first meeting too.

The tour gave us geography and impression as well as facts, Football is vital to the economy which is now a long way from Cotton and heavy engineering.
The 'City' ground

We saw both the Manchester football clubs, City being on the site where the recent Commonwealth games was staged there's also the National Football Museum in the centre of Town.
Manchester's Gothic Town Hall

Manchester has quite a past and many of the impressive municipal buildings date back from King Cotton - Like the Gothic influenced Town Hall (with similar accents to Westminster buildings in London).




Part of the conurbation that makes this Northern Powerhouse (as our Chancellor so often calls it) is Salford and with its Media City it's brought some Stardust to what was a heavy Industrial Landscape .

(more on days 3 and 4 to follow)




The home of BBC Breakfast is next to the heart of ITV ..
...On Salford Quays -Media City


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