A minute in Manchester

July 12th, 2020

Last week I got lucky: work sent me to Manchester! I was over the moon when I got my wish to go somewhere, anywhere, for the first time in over three months. Turns out my genie isn’t the most generous though, as I had to go just before everything (besides shops and take-away restaurants) reopened. Let’s call it tough luck, but a chance to escape my little lock-down cocoon for a couple days was a privilege and I wasn’t going to let bad timing be a damper.

The UK welcomed me the best way it knows how: 13Β°C and teary skies. However this is not the summer one would expect, I loved it! Living in the desert makes me long for sweater weather, and Manchester was extra chilly last week, so I had to layer up. Bonus!

I started the day with a grab-n-go breakfast bagel from a local restaurant. Inside, staff were busy unstacking chairs and arranging furniture in preparation for the next day’s big reopening.

One of my colleagues suggested we do something touristy for the day. We were lucky to find the Gothic-looking Manchester Cathedral open for a walk-through. Just in time as well, for the drizzle seemed to get heavier by the minute.

Besides the cathedral, shopping was the only indoor activity available to us, but it was only noon and I still wanted to walk around to take in Manchester’s medieval architecture. For the first time ever, I decided to give up my cool act and buy a brolly. Can you guess what happened next?

Yes. It stopped raining.

My cute little Primark brolly did come in handy as a prop, though. With no one around to feel shy for, I played Mary Poppins on Canal Street. Sometimes you’ve just got to be your own entertainment, don’t you?

Canal Street brought back memories from my first visit to Manchester, when we enjoyed the vibrant nightlife of one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, Gay Village. With that being exactly a year ago, this trip felt like an anniversary. I wouldn’t mind going back every year!

The mall was a social-distancing maze. Arrows indicated the direction you’re supposed to walk in and I kept finding myself on the wrong side of the track. Toilets were also a mission to find, as they sectioned off an entire set of toilets for men only, and another for women only on the other side of the mall. I’m not sure what the point of this was.

I was happy with my decision to spend more time exploring the city and less time trying to keep up with all the Rona-rules at the mall.

The day still had one little surprise in store: skylights! This means that Manchester may have something going on in its underbelly. Touring Seattle’s Underground a few years ago sparked my interest in this topic and now I always notice sidewalk skylights. If you know anything about Manchester’s underground structures, do tell!

Though short, this trip was like a breath of fresh air (literally!) and gave me hope that life is slowly going back to some level of normal. I’m sure the city must have been overflowing with people on the day that I left, but thinking back I actually enjoyed it without the crowds.

Genie knows best.

Thanks Sam for teaching me new British terms like “brolly” πŸ™‚

29 thoughts on “A minute in Manchester

      1. The one time you are prepared is the one time your preparations don’t serve their purpose, but it does not matter one bit because that meant you enjoyed your day without the “inconveniences” of rain – Although I love rain. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  1. So glad you got to Manchester, even if for a brief visit. It feels like I may never leave Denver again. I so miss the family in Seattle. Good to see you in pics! Stay safe and well! ❀️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh I know the feeling, I started to feel the same here too. Getting to go away for a couple days was amazing! Finally got to reset my “days in Doha countdown” πŸ™‚ I hope that things will get better there soon so you can visit family over Thanksgiving and Christmas at least! ❀

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  2. Lovely! Thankfully the bright colours of Gay Village brightened up the cloudy days. There are lots I haven’t seen in Manchester (including everything in your post!) and the cathedral looks beautiful.

    Thank you for showing me a little but more of my own country, and the little shout out at the end πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Trust Gay Village to brighten the day πŸ˜€ Oh there are so many cathedrals and museums, tea rooms and parks I still want to visit! There sure is a lot to do – you could easily make it into a weekend trip… You’re lucky to live in London!

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      1. Mine lives in a pocket on the outside of my day bag. Water bottle in the pocket on the other side. I hate suntan lotion, so mine gets more use as a sunshade – unless I’m in the UK, of course. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy you were able to go somewhere, and it is kind of nice that things are just reopening – you get to see the place without the usual crowds or rush. It was also very nice to see your photos, so refreshing and fun!

    Liked by 2 people

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