Before I get to go on my trip to Barcelona in a few days time, I get to help with a beer festival at the Victoria Baths. It starts tomorrow and carries on until Sunday. I was working on it yesterday which was a set up day. Artisan breweries from around the UK, Europe, and even America, are coming to Manchester to show off their products. Cloudwater, the one I discovered last weekend, will be there. Yesterday was a day to do dull, but very necessary, preparations so that the actual event will go well.

I caught the tram into the city in the rush hour. It was packed. The entire carriage was entertained by a very well dressed lady who spent the entire trip telling her friend, by phone, what a total b**ch her sister was being about the sister’s birthday party. It¬†seemed the sister thinks that the birthday party is all about her. TBH I thought that birthday parties were all about the person who was having the birthday. Not in that lady’s world it seems. It was a relief to get off at St. Peter’s Square and not have to hear all the drama anymore. I headed towards the library, she in the direction of the art gallery still complaining about her b**ch sister. If someone’s birthday is like that in their house just imagine what Christmas must be like.

I had some time so went into the Starbucks on Peter Street for a coffee. I like this branch. It’s in a modern building with plate glass walls and you can enjoy all the beautiful architecture of Central Library, the Midland Hotel and St. George’s House (formally the old YMCA building).¬†

I still had time so I decided to walk to the Victoria Baths. The route takes you through the universities and the hospitals to the Whitworth Art Gallery and then you take a left. The students are back and I was travelling against the flow of the people as they made their ways to whatever early appointments they had. They’ve changed the traffic flow in this part of the city. Cars are now completely banned from the Whitworth Art Gallery as far as the Palace Theatre. Only buses, bikes and people, all segregated along Oxford Road, are allowed and the sense of calm and quiet is wonderful. It’s a vast improvement with the university on both sides of the road joined, safely, for the first time in its history.

It was a warm, sunny morning. I was able to appreciate the architecture of the older buildings and check out all the new building projects on the campus. They are even creating a new park on what was Brunswick Street showing off the original Victorian buildings. Looking forward to seeing that finished.

I worked all day at the Victoria Baths and then headed back to the tram station at St Peter’s Square. I could have walked again but there was a Mobike near the baths so I decided to use it to get back into the city. I’ve been using them for fun so far and this was the first time I’d used one as it was designed to be used. Getting about the city quickly. I also worry about the bikes when they end up somewhere quiet in the city. Some people don’t appreciate the bikes as much as I, and many others, do. So I wanted to leave it in St. Peter’s Square which is a Mobike hub. Here it is in the square.

While I was in the city I wanted to buy some new Vans for my trip to Barcelona. I’d seen a nice pair a few days ago and promised myself that, if they were still available at the end of the month, I’d have them. I jumped on the tram to Exchange Square to get to the Vans store. From the platform I saw my Mobike being picked up and ridden back down Oxford Road to the universities from where I’d brought it. Hopefully it will be fine.

The Vans store was packed. The city stores were having a ‘Student Night.’ They were all offering discounts to the new students. It helps welcome them and gets them to come into city centre and find where places are. I’m not sure how many sales the stores made from the students. Maybe they’d prefer the stores to be full of people like me, with good jobs and good credit who don’t blanche at the price of their third pair in two months. Well one was Converse that I haven’t even worn yet. The girl behind the counter did ask if I was eligible for a student discount which was nice to hear, but neither of us were convinced. I went for a glass of wine.

Here’s my new Vans in all their glory. I’ll be needing a new shirt to match them for Barcelona I think.


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