During this year Manchester has effectively become my home as I have spent more time here than the house for which I pay a mortgage. I blogged extensively while in Sydney and I have even written a few posts about recent visits to London, but so far nothing about Manchester. Well I think it is time that changed!
So far I have only been here during the working week and so have not had the opportunity to visit any of the attractions which I would like to see. But I have spent time wandering the streets of an evening, taking in some of the sights and trying out a few restaurants. Nothing too fancy, but I do have to eat and hotel food is rarely that great.
I have found the general feel of Manchester a little confusing. Initially it was just the place I went to work, just another hotel, just another bed. Then I spent two months in Sydney, which I found to be almost perfect and by far the best place I have ever spent time. That trip clouded my view of Manchester when I returned and so I found myself continuously comparing the two, with Manchester coming off a very poor second best.
Having been back for about six weeks now I have started to settle in a little and see parts of the city I do like; it isn’t all bad. Some things I still dislike; for example there is very little green open space within the city; the large parks you see in other major towns simply don’t exist. The streets aren’t as clean as perhaps you would like and there does seem to be roadworks everywhere. I have also noticed a large number of beggars and Big Issue sellers.
But in its favour the streets aren’t as crazy busy as you would see in London, there is space to move and breath. All the major stores are here and there are loads of places to eat. The office I work in is right in the centre of town, as have been the hotels where I stay which has allowed me to park my car and stretch my legs.
So Manchester is growing on me. The traditional red brick and sandstone buildings have an impressive grandeur about them, with a presents and strength which clearly states that they will stand forever. The toll of the town hall bell every hour marks the passing of time as it has for so long and for many years to come.
While reading through some articles this evening before writing this post, I found the answer to something that confused me while in Sydney. In Australia and New Zealand they still remember this cities roots in the cotton trade and as such bedding, towels and other household linen products are still referred to as “manchester”, signs for which I saw in most general and department stores.
So okay, Manchester isn’t all bad. I need to spend some real time here and visit some of those attractions which I mentioned earlier, have read about and seen the outside of. May be then it will grow on me some more.