It’s been one hell of a past couple weeks. Since returning to the UK, I’ve had to give up my passport for visa renewal and we haven’t been able to travel to any of the places we’ve really wanted to go. So, we’ve improvised! We’re realising just how much of the UK we haven’t seen yet and have made a point to try and take weekend trips to as many “local” places as possible. We started with Manchester.

Leaving Friday straight from work, we caught a Virgin Train up to Manchester, arriving around 9:30pm hungrier than hostages and ready to relax a bit. We dropped our bags at the hotel and headed straight out to Almost Famous Burgers, which came highly recommended from some colleagues. Although the burgers were small, the meat was high quality and the entire place just screamed “hipster”. But it solved the hunger issue for the evening and made for a nice evening walk to stretch out after the train.

The hotel, Britannia, was less than ideal, but was centrally located for us to see everything in the city rather easily. Our room was in the back depths of the place, miniature, and with questionable water pressure, but it was a place to lay for the couple nights we were there. I’ll leave the second night drama for later.

We had one full day in Manchester and used it to the fullest. Starting off later than usual we grabbed a bite to eat and walked through China town for a bit which was cute but has nothing on the China-towns of Chicago and London. The next stop was the Manchester Cathedral located towards the north of the city. As we were there early enough that it was still quiet and peaceful, with only a couple tourists lingering about. The rest of the day was spent walking all over the city, trying to take in the various neighbourhoods, especially the hipster area in the north filled with record stores and quaint corner pubs.

A quick nap later and it was time to hunt down another brilliant foodie joint in the city, this time including an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Steakhouse. A UK attempt on Texas de Brazil of the US, it was a far, far cry from it, but definitely fed a well-walked and hungry couple. I will still always argue that TdB has the best salad bar of any Brazilian steakhouse.

Sunday was a whole different story. With train tickets back at 4pm, we had the majority of the day to keep busy, which started the minute we got up. After a loud and windy night listening to some crawl space door in the ceiling slam open and shut, we already weren’t happy when waking but, and then we found out there was no water. Long story short, they gave us a new room, only to find out there was no water there either. Or in the rest of the building. Not amusing. So we packed our things, stashed them with the bellhop and got the heck out of there asap.

The main attraction of the day was the Transport museum. A good few miles walk north, the museum is located off the beaten path on a dead end road with no life nearby. Shady? Yeah, I’d say so. But once you get inside, it’s amazing. They have busses dating back to the start of public transport, including a horse drawn brewery cart. Comprised of three main buildings, it seemed to go on forever, with many of the busses available to board and walk upstairs. It gave a lot of perspective and appreciation for the current system and conveniences we have.

With plenty of time left to kill before our train, we swung by the Manchester Football museum for a bit of sport history. When in ManU territory… yeah yeah yeah. And who can pass up a good Mexican joint for lunch? Not us! So after a good fill-up before the train, we grabbed our bags and got ready for a ride back home. Notes from the trip? Manchester is cute but small, and never, EVER stay at Britannia hotels again. Ever.