A snapshot of Gloucester cathedral
The 'onwards and upwards' trajectory leads us to the 3rd and final full day of the trip, and the last of the 3 rhythmically-sounding blog entry titles. An overnight stay in the cathedral town of Gloucester proved to be a strategic choice, as I was indeed creeping homewards in various short hops, and the challenge here was to see the best of Gloucester in the space of just short of half a day. The cathedral is far and away Gloucester's most single prominent feature, and its grounds offer the visitor ample scope for viewing this magnificent building from virtually any angle. A few representative photos later, and I was back in the thick of the town's shopping streets, realizing that there was more substance to the town than originally meets the eye.
A less-than-regular piece of Birmingham's urban fabric
Finishing the trek at Gloucester Quays shopping centre, the baton was picked up yet again to pursue this relay race all the way to Birmingham
, England's second largest urban area, and a much-maligned city, at least prior to the days when the central area was given a facelift to perk up the city's image. My first impressions were lasting ones, as Birmingham came across as a business city, with a few aesthetically-pleasing features which made me realize that it had been the subject of underrated views, perhaps being way too little of a tourist magnet when compared to the likes of England's other tourist hotspots such as London, York, Bath or Chester, for instance. A few elements of modernity have crept into the city's urban fabric in recent times, and it cannot be denied that attempts have been made here and there to imbue the city with an air of cosmopolitanism to at least rid the city of a more conservative identity.
Typical redbrick architecture in Birmingham
One example thereof is Birmingham's Chinatown district, located fairly centrally, and well worth a look-in, especially if, like myself, you favour browsing in those Chinese supermarkets and grocery stores with a view to buying ingredients for Asian-style home cookery. The final piece of this trip's jigsaw came in the form of a short hop to Birmingham's famous 'Balti triangle' area in order to sample an equally well-known 'Birmingham Balti' curry, and a good enough street to explore for your pick of the Balti houses is Ladypool road, where restaurants intermingle with Asian stores selling all kinds of trinkets and goods at knockdown prices. Imran's Balti house turned out to be a surefire winner especially for a 'random pick' eaterie, and that concluded this domestic trip, and one full of diversity, cosmopolitanism and fabbo dining experiences. When pre-trip expectations ride high, and somehow the overall experiences deliver, I deduce that the planning and execution of these journeys really do cement our statuses as budding Phileas Fogg-type travellers too keen to see all of this vital substance to be able to resist it.