Sunday, July 4, 2010

Manchester, day 2

Yesterday, Saturday, I had continental breakfast here in the hotel -- ate as much as could since it was 11 pounds. Then I lounged around in my room until about 10 or so, when I went to Manchester Art Gallery. How could I not. It's right across the street! (Can see it from my window.)

I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn't look like much from the outside but they utilize every inch. Kinda cool how they have pop art in there, like the cover to a Smiths LP. But what really got me was the Victorian room up on the second floor. Never knew artists from that time used such bright, vivid colours. A lot of those paintings reminded me of Maxfield Parrish.

For lunch I had a salad in the Art Gallery's restaurant and got a green apple for an afternoon snack.

Around 2 p.m., I took the tram (a.k.a. MetroLink) for a 20-minute ride out to Old Trafford -- a suburb, I think -- to see Manchester United, probably England's most popular football team. It took the hour tour. Pretty impressive. The stadium fits over 75,000 and tickets are sold out immediately; they can't expand any more at this location because homes and train tracks are behind the stadium. Oh, what else was cool was that the field is actual grass. Damn, now I really wanna see a football game.

I got to really hand it to Manchester United. They have a well-oiled operation. Before the tour you can peruse their museum's three floors (plenty to see since the team is over 100 years old). You start at the top and when you get down to the 1st floor you just have to wait for your tour guide; not a long wait since tours start every 20 minutes.

The tour ends in their shop. It's about two-thirds the size of your typical Modell's in the States and has every piece of merchandise you could think of. I picked up a scarf, a birthday card for my nephew, and a porous black jersey (their away colour, I think) -- the other colour was yellow, but I already have a yellow Australia jersey. What was cool about the jerseys was that they had several designs; some had Manchester United on the back, others, like mine, didn't.

Back near my hotel, I hit a seafood restaurant called Live Bait. Very posh. The food was top tier, but it pissed me off that I asked for mineral water and they brought me bottled mineral water. I should've said something before the girl opened the bottle but I was reading and she kinda blindsided me. Still, I should've said something. Brings me down a bit that you always need to have your defenses up. So sad that people are always looking to take advantage. I don't think I'm gonna go to anymore posh places; I'll stick with taverns and good ol'-fashioned English food. Maybe a pub burger tomorrow in Liverpool for dinner. . . .

To cheer up last night, I went back to my hotel (got there around 9) and watched the last two episodes of Doctor Who's current series on the BBC website. Kinda cool, since I can't do that in the States, what with the license fees they pay over here.

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