Manchester is amazing! We've been exploring the city for the past few days, and I am happy to report that I have a pretty good understanding of the City Center, and especially how to get back to the hotel from the various places we visit. Our hotel is right at the edge of City Center, and the professors showed us around the square mile that makes up the City Center. The Beetham Tower serves as a landmark for the group, we were instructed that in order to get back to the hotel we need only to walk towards the glass building. In the group we refer to it as the "ugly glass building." Here is a picture for reference:
You can see why it sticks out
On the first full day we were in Manchester (the 5th) we went to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was fascinating. As a class we focused on the Textile Exhibit and watched a demo of factory machines. Basically, we watched how they turned cotton into string, and then string into cloth. It was full of horrifying fun facts, for example: workers enjoyed working in the blowing room because all of the cotton floating around would make them feel full; because it filled their lungs! After this exhibit we were given leave to explore the museum at our leisure. I was particularly enthralled by the Air and Space Hall.
After spending the morning exploring the Museum, we headed to the People's History Museum for our first group discussion. We discussed two Percy Bysshe Shelley poems, "The Masque of Anarchy" and "England in 1819." I highly recommend both. It was so much fun discussing literature! For me, a familiar thing in an unfamiliar place. After discussion we were on our own for dinner. A few of us went to The Lost Dene, on the recommendation of a friend. It was a great pub dinner, and on the way back we happened to get a little lost. Everything turned out fine, but in our journey back to the hotel we discovered Manchester's Gay Village. It just goes to show that interesting things are all around us, and getting lost is not always a bad thing.
Friday marked our first weekend excursion opportunity. A few people went to Dublin, and a few to Edinburgh. Even though these weekends are ours to decide what to do with, the professors always lead an optional excursion. This week's was Bury Market, a market in a working class town in Greater Manchester. It was an absolutely amazing experience, it was really interesting to see another part of life around Manchester. (Bury is off the between path for most American visitors, so we definitely stood out a bit).
We split into smaller groups to explore the market. My group didn't really have a particular goal in mind so we just wandered. At one point during the day, in an attempt to warm up, we sat down and drank tea in a little cafe type thing:
Here are Emma and Matthew enjoying their tea.
We also ate some pies (very different than what you think of in the US). I had a cheese and onion pie with baked beans. It was delicious, by far one of my favorite meals of the trip (I say after three days in Manchester).
After returning to City Center, a few of us bought train tickets to go to Carlisle tomorrow. We are hoping to see Carlisle Castle and Hadrian's Wall. I am incredibly excited about this traveling opportunity, but a little nervous; after all I have very little practice with public transportation.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around Manchester in an attempt to gain a better understanding of our surroundings, and where everything is located.
I am so excited for what the next few days hold in store!