Breaking Cardinal Rules

Manchester/Bath UK Journal Day 2

Sale, Manchester, UK

I have already broken cardinal rule number one while traveling internationally: Always Buy a Water, so I don’t feel so bad about getting ready to break rule number two: Don’t Go To Sleep On The First Day.  I am so tired, Gentle Reader, from only two hours of sleep on the plane, that I feel a little nap can’t hurt me much.  But I have braved the trials and tribulations (slings and arrows!  Slings and arrows!) of my First Day Abroad, and those have been, thus far: Customs, phone not working, phone suddenly working after much research into why phone wouldn’t work in the first place, braving public transportation, getting a full English and a flat white at a restaurant in the train station so I could use their Wifi (also, breakfast), braving more local public transportation, trotting from said public transportation, bookbag and suitcase in tow, down cobblestone streets (when a British person tells you something will only be a five minute walk, don’t listen.  Nothing but lies, lies, lies), to the beautiful and gorgeous Guesthouse where I’m staying, room booked could not be held, so in nicer, better room now.  Now that I’ve showered and cleaned myself up, I am looking forward to burying myself in the blankets and snoozing away the early afternoon.  Then, I will get dressed and go Exploring For Food.  And water.  Mustn’t forget the water.

I thought so much as I traveled through Manchester.  What a beautifully Victorian city.  There’s nothing like it, not anywhere I’ve seen.  I’m sure there are prettier cities in England; I am going to Bath later in the week, and it’s gorgeous, despite, as Austen said, its oppressive whiteness.  But this city is so Victorian, from its architecture to its feel to its development.  This is a city that grew up in the Industrial Revolution, and as a Victorianist, I can’t help but be in love.  Manchester is the city of my dreams.  I can truly imagine Margaret Hale stepping off the train, perhaps at Piccadilly Station, or Victoria?  Must research what train station was available in the 1840s.  I can see what she saw upon first arriving: the stone after stone building, the grey skies, the overcast cloudiness of a Northern City.  How must have Elizabeth Gaskell looked at this city and imagined her character moving here from the very lush and green South to the urbanized North?  And how unlike Margaret I am to fall in love with this city, each time I come.

My eyes are growing heavy, Gentle Reader, and I must needs sleep, even for a little bit.  I promise that I will be an Intrepid Explorer later in the day and tell you all the pretty bits and bobs from my travels.  But for now, to sleep, perchance to dream.


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