Arriving in Manchester...

Manchester Travel Blog

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YHA @ Potato Wharf, Castlefield

The main criterion for me (as I had stated earlier on in the summary) for this trip was to visit the ENGLAND. Every UK trip of mine always became a London-Scotland affair that I would always feel I've missed out on a lot when I'd get back home, and read stuff on Tripadvisor forums about towns in England and some of the highlights.

At the end of the day, what I've realised is no place is better or worse than the next. It not only depends on the attitude you wear that day (as you'll read later in my Salisbury entry, I got bored and hated that day) but also that you go to a city that has tourist potential. Enough free wheeling stuff for a day at the very least.

So surprise of surprises then.

The dining room @ the YHA overlooking the river
..why Manchester? I don't know. Every book I read, books that would even describe the local Walmart as a tourist spot didn't really have the finest of reviews for Manchester besides the cuisine (variety of international rsnts that is). But somehow, this was one city I'd wanted to see from as early as two decades ago on my first trip to the UK. Books also said that M'chester is a great place to base yourself if you want to look around the Northern  part of England, great I thought!

Landing in Manchester airport was a non-event except that I saw the concorde parked as a display. It looks lovely (I hope it's the real thing, it looked rather small). Baggage Claim was done in a minute, the airport as such took me by surprise.

The Industry museum, a hop-skip and jump away from the YHA
It's so quiet! Note that Manchester is the 3rd busiest airport in the UK and yet, it looked like everyone had gone on holiday. I had also heard that Manchester had a strong Arab population. It was evident right as I stepped out of the airport as I saw many of them in ethnic wear.

I caught the train to Picadilly Station. I was hoping to get to Deansgate but the twerp at the counter directed me to the wrong platform. A very kind lady told me to alight @ Picadilly. So far, either I was jetlagged or just bored, but the city wasn't interesting me that much (unlike the 30 min joyride on Gatwick Express). I got down at Picadilly, lugged my duffel through to the tram and eventually got down at G-Mex which was my station to get to the YHA.

This Manchester so far isn't looking tourist friendly.

shopping area
Compared to London at least.

I eventually made it to my hostel. For the supposed review that it was city central (Potato Wharf at Castlefield, the founding place of the city), I must say it looked deserted. The area itself looks deserted. I'd never like to live here. But the hostel formalities were done. The staff were surprisingly English (unlike other British YHAs I've stayed in) and very friendly, and very helpful.

The hostel is lovely. Nice 4 bed ensuite rooms with a lovely view. It's got a lift! And I also noticed that lots of school kids were staying here unlike other hostels I've stayed at. Or probably it's that time of the year.

Anyway it was about 2:30pm by now, I had a quick shower, took a nap and went around the city centre. This was Deansgate, St.Ann's Square and the rest of the city shopping centres.

Any UK trip has to begin at FCUK
I noticed more Thortons' outlets in Manchester than in London so that's always a good thing! Spent the whole day meandering around the city centre and some stores (Topman, River Island, etc).  Had dinner (ramen noodles) at Wagamama and went back to the hostel around 9pm. Somehow this hostel area didn't seem too safe (unlike London, Earl's Court or Kings Cross for that matter) so I'd prefer to head back before the sunset. Of course my jetlag helped in the decision as well! I sat outside rest of the night reading up Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" which,  like pretty much the rest of the day was dull.

My room was empty except for a Polish guy, and he couldn't speak English very well.

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YHA @ Potato Wharf, Castlefield
YHA @ Potato Wharf, Castlefield
The dining room @ the YHA overlook…
The dining room @ the YHA overloo…
The Industry museum, a hop-skip an…
The Industry museum, a hop-skip a…
shopping area
shopping area
Any UK trip has to begin at FCUK
Any UK trip has to begin at FCUK
Cathedral Triangle
Cathedral Triangle
The new skyline of Manchester
The new skyline of Manchester
Manchester Hostels review
This hostel comes highly recommended. Rather than writing one big paragraph on my experience (which I've done already in my travelogue), I'll giv… read entire review
Manchester
photo by: sarahelaine