(Two notes for the trip: 1) I forgot my camera cable at home, so no photos until I return. Boo. And 2) I hope to have wifi the rest of the way... but if I don't, I'll post my blogs a day or two late.)
Ok, on with the show!
We got to Reykavik Monday morning; I completely forgot about the extra security upon arrival, so that was a bummer. Basically since we’re not coming from Europe we get to go through security again – goodbye any drinks you bought in Toronto, sigh. People were freaking out because of connecting flights, but they held all the planes since most of our flight was continuing on to continental Europe. You would think Icelandair would take that into consideration when planning its schedule... ahem.
Anyway, once through security I had time to kill since my flight was only at 8h – so only one logical option – SKYR!! (It's this yogurt/cheese like substance) I’m legit still bummed that I didn’t get any last year haha. I got the pear one this time and savoured every spoonful. Nom nom nom. I should have got two.
Our flight to Manchester was supposed to leave at 8h, but only started boarding at 7h55... so we too were about 20min delayed. The worst was customs in Manchester though... holy freakin’ cow. One line was UK and Euro, one line everyone else. The UK line was easily 5x the length of ours, but they had 5 agents working that line and only one doing ours... and obviously we’re the ones that get questions lol. They actually cleared the UK line and there were still about 5 people left in front of me. Good thing I wasn’t in a huge rush to get into town. At least I didn't have to wait for my bag at baggage claim – it was already there 😉
Connection was easy – quick train ride into Piccadilly, and then a short walk up to my hostel. That walk is always the worst – pulling an all-nighter and trekking a backpack? Good times, good times.
I decided to go to the Imperial War Museum – of course I took the only tram (out of 5) that wasn’t going the right way haha, but that’s ok, small scenic detour. Once I got to Harbour / MediaCity BBC it was worth the little jaunt – it’s quite the setup they have! It kind of reminded me of the harbour area around Alexandria – built up condos, restaurants, outlet mall, bars, just a “cool” place to live with a lovely waterway going through it. MediaCity was also sharp – a bunch of BBC productions moved up here to decentralize from London, so all new buildings plus sounds stages.
I headed over to the Museum after wandering around for a bit – I do love how the UK has so many free museums, it’s a nice change of pace compared to other costs. The Museum was smaller than I expected, but was nevertheless interesting. Basically, they cover the timeline from 1914 to present day and all the major conflicts Britain has been in – there was a nice mix of historical info, videos, pictures, personal stories/artifacts etc. – it’s not like you were just reading block after block of info, they really focussed on how everyday life was touched by war.
They also did a great little presentation where they darken the entire main exhibit and project photos and videos onto all the walls of the museum – the presentation tells the story of all the weapons used during the big wars... it was quite chilling. I mean I’m used to seeing a lot of war videos and such, but there was just something about hearing actual mortars go off and the voiceovers that really got to me – sent a chill down my spine. The gasmasks too.
I popped into the special exhibit – “Once upon a Wartime” – which was cute; it was about war stories written for children/youth, like War Horse. I still haven’t watched that... it’s definitely on my list even if I know it’s going to hurt lol.
After that I headed back to Manchester – may or may not have fallen asleep on the Metrolink... ahem. But that’s ok because I woke up before my stop. It was like, a 2min nap. I puttered around the mall for a bit and went to pick up some groceries. I’m going to be hiking around Pembrokeshire for the next few days - going to need something to eat while I’m down there.
So that was that! The hostel has great character – it’s this old brick building, 7 stories high. Only problem with great character, is great amount of stairs to climb haha. My room was on the 6th
floor – oh backpack, you pain me.
So yep, that’s that! I saved the rest of Manchester for when I'm back at the end o my trip for the half-day. I’m off to Wales tomorrow – cannot wait!!
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