Still on a high from the amazing city of Edinburgh, and more than slightly hungover after my epic farewell to the city, I sling the strap of my camera over my shoulder and head out of my hostel and into Manchester.
My feet feel like they are walking in slow motion as my mind is perhaps still more than just slightly drunk. Around me, cars driving on the wrong side of the road keep me on my toes. I aim myself in the direction of city hall, a place that I’m sure will reward me with a fun scene or at the very least a photo op.
I head down a pedestrian street filled with girls glowing in an oompa loompa orange whilst carrying shopping bags in the pits their elbows which bent like a coat hook. They point the arm carrying their bags directly to their side, swing the other arm as quickly as they can, keep their heads up high, and walk as fast as they can.
“I need to get off this street,” I think to myself as I pause in the middle of the walkway while observing the scene and wondering where I’ve come. “I must still be drunk.”
As I escape the grasps of the obviously insane shopping crowds, I force my heavy feet down a couple narrow roads towards the city hall, a building that I’m sure will satisfy my desire to see historic architecture. However, when I arrive, a giant green banner with the slogan “I heart Manchester” lay across it, and a cheesy pre-Saint Patrick’s Day flee market gathers at the bottom. I sigh, take a photo of the tower, and move on.
My map makes a crinkling sound as I draw it from my jacket pocket and stop to read it as a shiver shakes from my hips up my back to my ears.
“The Opera House,” I say out loud, completely lost in the map. “There has to be something worth seeing there.”
I walk by a monotonous series of houses, pubs, and fish and chip shops before I finally arrive at the Opera House; It’s under construction. Moreover, that giant banner “I heart Manchester” is again placed above the building, this time in white.
“I don’t heart Manchester. Manchester kind of sucks,” I think to myself full well knowing that the signs are actually making me “heart” it a little bit less. “I’m probably just hungover and grumpy. I’m going to head back to the hostel for an early night. Maybe watch a movie”
I wake up the next day early, with optimism running rampantly through my veins. I sit down for breakfast and join a conversation with a group of Argentinians who seem to be facing the same thing as me.
“I came here because I thought it would be amazing,” the loudest of the group says in the thickest of Porteño accents. “How can a city have such amazing football teams but be so boring?”
We all laugh before heading our own separate directions.
In less than an hour we are all in stitches as we find ourselves back in the hostel bored and ready for our next destination.
“What did you see?” I ask the small group wondering what they did in their brief time away.
“I saw that we should probably leave this town before I start to hate Manchester United,” said one of the group members wearing a Man U shirt. “Whatever, let’s go to the pub.”