Manchester


It was good we were in Manchester on Easter Monday, a bank holiday in England. Almost everything was closed at 9 a.m, the streets were empty and we found a parking space easily.

The dreamy city center seemed beautiful, with its amazing mixture of old and modern architectural styles. Its magnificent Town Hall was built in 1877 in an English Gothic style. Inside, there is a statue of General Agricola, the Roman who founded a settlement called Mancunium in AD 79. (Hence the people from Manchester are called Mancunians.) On the other side, there is the ultramodern Urbis, a ski slope-shaped building made of glass. In between, the old Royal Exchange and the new Arndale Shopping Centre.

Another area worth seeing is Salford Quays. It was also revitalized in the 1990s and today it comprises the Lowry Centre, an arts and entertainment complex, the Lowry Outlet Centre, the Manchester United Museum and the most striking building of all, the Imperial War Museum. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, it represents a globe shattered by conflict. I must confess, though, that it didn't look as magnificent in broad daylight, as it did in my travel book, where there is a stunning photograph of the museum at night. Not far from there is the largest shopping mall I have ever been to, the Trafford Centre, with 230 shops and 10,000 free parking spaces. The two hours that we spent there, were a mere drop in the bucket, but we gave up on our worldly interests in order to admire the splendid country of Wordsworth's daffodils.

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