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Manchester

In Manchester yesterday, I had a First Date with sioneva and targaff. austengirl was also with us, but she had a pepper chicken dish instead. In retrospect, given the copiousness of our meals, we were really glad that we avoided True Love. (Just imagine, austengirl, if we'd given you True Love to cart back home instead of just a date?)

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sioneva and targaff were visiting from the states, and I was visiting them. We loitered over good food, stocked up on socks, and caught up on the world. It was a good, satisfying visit.

I've never really made sense of Manchester. It's a city I've glanced off of and passed through repeatedly without ever getting as far as making sense of it. It's so much larger than it seems from my maps, and so much smaller than it seems to me when riding buses around it. The buses are confusing in their own right: there are so many competing companies, the benefit of which is a cumulatively extraordinary number of buses. Oxford Road is, apparently, the busiest bus route in Europe.

Half an hour of walking made all the difference in starting to parse the city. My hotel was near railway tracks connecting stations I knew, so I could map it that way. I walked through Chinatown, deserted in the morning, and started to thread together parts of the city. We walked through the cat's cradle of a glass-tubed bridge where the bomb had gone off which destroyed swathes of the shopping center, leading to its dramatic renovation. The cathedral started life as a college chapel: it's small, overall, but so wide as to be the better part of square. From the top of Urbis, we dissected the skyline under intermittent clouds and glorious light.

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fjm
Jan. 20th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC)
It's a compact city with a bit of a gap around it, and then a sprawl. My Dad tells me it's a result of post-blitz urban clearance (it was hit hard). I always find it very weird.

ps, the Arndale centre, the only building I know of actually improved by a bomb blast. God was it ever ugly. And I was terrified of it as a kid because all the aisles looked the same and I new if I got lost it would be forever.