Two Days in Manchester

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Girl leaves boy to move on with travel. I really liked Greg but am glad I had my wits about me to carry on. That way it was way more fun. Gotta leave wanting more…

So this is where I saw my pals from home again…I’d forgotten. Here’s the evidence of Stratford-on-Avon:

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Dig that I was into the “indie” hostels that were less clean and nice. HA! They definitely did have more character. I really liked the group cooks as well. It was a really fun way to meet people, one of the other things I liked about hostels in general.

Planning for Ireland was fun. I had wanted to go hiking in Wales (hiking is still my jam) but it was too difficult and expensive in the little time I had, especially with the holiday. It was £33 to get the overnight bus/ferry to Dublin in 1997 – which is $57.39 in today’s Canadian dollars. It’s now about $70CAD to take the same trip, and you have the options of comparative shopping online. Always good to travel overnight when you can as you save yourself a night’s accommodation – that was something I learned early on.

I remember not being very taken with Manchester. It was a stop along the way, not a destination for me. That said, I had only just discovered what “football” meant in Europe  but it was fun to see the other girls excited about seeing the team practice. Knowing later what Man U actually meant in the late 90’s…I mean, David Beckham was playing then!

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I’d forgotten about Poor Superman – it was cool to see a Canadian playwright’s work performed in the UK. It was funny to hear them try to say “about”.

These are the bands I checked out…cannot find evidence of a band called “Alone”  but I have the photo as promised along with an Australian performer:

I could see myself being a bit lonely after leaving the friends and fun I’d had in Bath. And I remember being excited about meeting someone foreign but not wanting to ruin my trip by following someone around instead of making my own trip what I wanted it to be. That was the important thing about going it alone. Not so sure why I was so worried about trust at that time…seems like that was probably something about where I was at during that time.

See you in Dublin on the 26th.

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Manchester – 20 years on 

So strangely enough, on this date 20 years ago, I was in Manchester, England. I actually arrived on the 22nd…yesterday…the same night as this newest tragedy…not the way I wanted to be reflecting on this anniversary at all.

For some reason I still thought today was May 22, even though I was flying all day yesterday. I don’t have any of my photos or diary scans with me now. My laptop is at the office and I’m at home, so I’m writing on my iPhone in lieu. Bummer…but I will catch up tomorrow.

Maybe this is a way of giving myself a bit of a break so I don’t have to be as militant as I had planned to be…that’s my Type A behaviour, which I can’t seem to escape. You’ll see more of that over time undoubtedly.

But I still can’t believe we have to worry about these kinds of things in this day and age. Terrorist threats did not exist in this way twenty years ago. No one knew the term ISIS or IS. There had been no 9/11.

I don’t know what to make of this day and age. What would I do as a traveler now? Would this affect me? Would I feel scared on a whole different level than just being out in the world on my own? It’s so hard to know.

Bath – Part Deux

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Spent way more time in Bath than I expected due to The Boy but it was fun. Obviously a little too much fun. That’s the only time in my life I have ever gone for a morning-after pill. Once was enough.

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So if you’re wondering what he looked like – he’s the one on the far right in this photo. Boy did I ever like him, but it was also the first time I felt free enough to get caught up with something that wasn’t necessarily going to get serious. He was very sweet and I have fond memories of him and my time in Bath to this day. Have no idea if he ever went back to Australia or what…I did end up there much later and tried calling his house but his parents said he was still in England so maybe he stayed, I don’t know. Couldn’t find him on Facebook or anything so he’s just a lovely memory now.

Here’s a few things about my trip to Stonehenge…first of all, the route:

That’s a better written history than I’m going to give you…should let you know I’m actually in Petaluma, California, sipping on a Lagunitas Lagunator Lager  awaiting the wedding of one of my oldest friends. My mother (whose best friend is the mother of the groom) is drying her hair beside me here at the Best Western. She and I had a good chat about this blog earlier today. She can’t quite understand why I’m doing it…and I guessI’m sort of still figuring that out myself, beyond the posterity elements of it all…but it will all be revealed.

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I remember waiting for AGES to get those top two shots so I could get photos of Stonehenge without anyone in them. I still try to do that to this day…unless you’re really trying to take a photo OF someone, people really often wreck photos, imo. But I guess in the bottom shot of the Avebury Stone Circle, you do get a little perspective. But I was mesmerized by these famous rock formations. I didn’t really know about Avebury so the fact that it was less famous made it WAY more interesting to me.

When I talked about Meera & Lisa at the end of the blog, Lisa is my sister and Meera was my friend (we’ve since lost touch). I remember feeling isolated as an early-20-something, trying to find my way…feeling along but finding people who were just like me.

Kind of pressed for time today so this is a little less reflective than normal. I have a wedding to attend in Sonoma. Feel like I can’t give this it’s fair reflection but that will probably be part of what this is like…it’s busy being a grown-up!

The Slow Coach

Turns out I didn’t write for the next few days as I started my time in Bath but found the info on the transportation I took around the UK: the Slow Coach.

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The only articles I could find online about this company were from the ’90s and even Googling the phone numbers provided nothing, so I suspect they went out of business or were bought long ago. It sure was a great way to get around though. I met a ton of people (including, funny enough, my friends from Winnipeg that I ran into at the British Museum) and it took me directly to and from reputable hostels while also giving me an idea of what to do, so a great way for a solo traveler to start off.

I used a Let’s Go travel guide, which was a refreshing change from the Lonely Planets that most of the others carried around – it provided some different perspectives, including one in Hungary in particular. We’ll see that one later.

I also liked that it showed the route it took with things you could do – nerd that I am, I highlighted some of the things I saw when I was there here:

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More on many of these things to come…