Saturday, 19 September 2009

Take 5: Manchester

Arriving - if you can't get into Manchester, from anywhere in the world, then you really shouldn't be leaving your armchair. One international airport, three quite large (and historical/beautiful) railway stations, a big old bus station, canals, skate routes...

Sleeping - if you like a good curry, best thing to do is look for student accommodation a short us ride away from Rusholme. And these are Manchester students; the rooms are 5* quality. You could rent a luxury apartment in Chinatown, stay with the footballers in the outer-visual-eyesore of the 5* Hilton, or there's always the Travelodge.

Eating - no matter where you end up, you can enjoy excellent international food. One of my favourites is Kroma, just off Albert Sq, an Italian that does a great duck pizza, and was where Steve took Fiona on their first date, Shameless affeciandos. We regularly travel from Plymouth to Rusholme for curry, Manchester's China Town is the only place I'd eat Chinese food outside of China, and there's excellent middle-eastern, African, French, Japanese, Mexican and snack food in every district of Manchester.

Travelling - use the Metrolink to make your way to Salford Quays for the fantastic Lowry museum, War Museum of the North and waterfront and even Old Trafford. Use the bus to get out to the Trafford Centre, where you'll find the best shopping experience outside Hong Kong, take the free city centre bus between the Cornerhouse Arts centre, the Triangle shopping centre and the Manchester uni bar area.

Photographing - a city on the move, yet also happily settled, this is the place for Architecture-lovers. Glass fronted Urbis (think a glass Flatiron building), renovated Printworks (that used to be an actual printworks but now is a centre of entertainment), bug-ugly, but tallest Skyscraper Hilton, gothic town hall, rotund Central Library and damn cute St Ann's Square piazza.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Worth a look

Each destinaton is special to a person, and while I like going to new places, here are the trips I'd gladly take again:

Hawaii - spent a week on O'ahu Island in January 2008. Saw Whales, ate pineapple breakfasts on the beach, went parasailing (scariest 8 minutes of my life, exceeds driving as my number one achievement) and spent about £20 a night staying in a hostel just off Waikiki Beach.

New York City - this city would be my second home if I could afford it. There is something bloody fantastic about Times Square. Saw Avenue Q (half-price tickets, naturally) last time I went, in April 2008, and have seen more Broadway shows than West End ones.

Prague - never has a city looked so gorgeous. My eyes felt humbled when I landed in this city in September 2003.

Paris - I would live here if I could convince Mr Dudess that French people aren't that bad. I've only had good experiences of Paris, and Notre Dame is stunning.

Malta - did actually live here for a while, it's a true mix of cultures and has a lot of film history.

China and Hong Kong - lived in China for a while (2004-2006), and for a summer lived in Hong Kong for a few weeks. Both places are a shoppers haven - shops stay open until ten pm, and THEN the markets open.

Thailand - spent the best two week holiday travelling around this exotic country in January 2006, from seeing an elephant wander down a street in Bangkok to witnessing Phi Phi's beauty and devestation just after the Tsunami.

Take 5: Plymouth

Arriving - we have an airport, a ferryport, coach station, bus station, railway station and a damn good cycle route. How you get here is up to you.

Sleeping - diabolical concrete from the sixties dominates the central area from the railway station to the city centre, though the bit of green and water in the middle of this corridor makes the hotels slightly more attractive. Expect to pay from £20 - £A fortune for somewhere to sleep; all the big chains and cute B&Bs are here.

Eating - some very very good international fayre can be found, and some awful Macstuff. We've a restaurant that you have to book months in advance for: Tanners Restaurant, a Foodie Mogul: Edmond Davari, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's favourite chippy: Platters.

Travelling - lots to be seen here by foot, if you're heading in on the train you can take advantage of Plusbus, and pedestrians have to have eyes in the back of their heads, and certainly be looking down as you never know when you're walking in a cycle lane.

Photographing - if the weather's good the Barbican is a traditional Elizabethan area, and you should take shots of the nasty looking (well, rusty, to be fair) Giant Prawn/Shrimp outside the National Marine Aquarium. Get out your magnifying glass to see the Mayflower Steps, where folks set out to avoid religious persecution and came across America. There's plenty of water and the wildlife that goes with it, a crackin' lighthouse that is the backdrop of every promotional leaflet and some stunning architecture once you look past the sixties concrete hell.

Look out for Take 5: Manchester coming to this blog next time I decide to write one.

Weekends are not just for housework

Travel. That's what this site is about. Whether you're staycationing or global travelling, the more you pack into your weekends, the quicker your week will disappear.
Unless you happen to have one of those jobs you love and can't wait for Monday mornings.