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A Scotsman Travels...

One night in Manchester

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 18 June 2016 | Views [419]

Glasgow. Friday morning. 8:30 am. It’s a cold, it’s November, and weary commuters are trudging into work, determined to put in one last day of half-hearted graft before the sweet release of the weekend. I am one of these windswept, white collar desk jockeys. Due to a dry spell in my writing, I’ve taken a job tempting in a financial management company.

The work is easy enough and pays well, but I feel my soul is slowly being ground to dust. The Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 (what a way to make a living) lifestyle was never one for me, and I’m feeling it more now than ever.

9:07 am, I arrive at the office. Sodden and grumpy, I make my way to the office kitchen to get myself a coffee. Several minutes of quite reflection under the harsh strip lighting, I decide that something has to change. With my caffeine filled head ringing with statistics about levels of job dissatisfaction, I drop a text to my pal, Euan.

Euan holds the enviable position of holding a good job in a Glasgow design agency. He’d never be the sort of person to turn down an offer due to being broke. He’s one of those rare people who has managed to maintain a degree of free-spiritedness into adulthood, which is always helpful when you’re looking for someone to push you out of a rut.

My fingers, still cold and wet from the unforgiving commute, spring into action to form a text message; “Dude, if I spend another weekend in my flat, I’m going to murder someone…”  Sustained periods of working in data entry always brings out the best in me I find. Euan replies. “Sounds like you’re need of a change of scene. Leave it with me.”

By the time mid-morning comes around, my phone buzzes. “We can have a night out in Manchester. A girl I went to uni with is having a night out, and we’re welcome to join. It’ll be a laugh, and I don’t think we’ll need to break the bank.” Now I’ll admit that ditching a windy, dreary Glasgow for a windy, dreary Manchester doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but sometimes you just need a different skyline to look at.

Using thetrainline.com, we manage to wrangle some reasonably priced tickets that’ll get us into Manchester Piccadilly for early evening. As much as I like to complain about that office tempting job, we did get half days on Friday, and Euan works to a pretty lose schedule. I’ll admit that when lunchtime rolled in, I practically sprinted out the office. Ready to have an adventure. (If you class a one night stay in Manchester as an adventure.)

We check into the Manchester Macdonald hotel, which is a very convenient 200 meters or so from the train station, and get changed into our gladrags and head off to meet Euan’s pals. We meet Stacy and the rest of her friends in the Dough Pizza Kitchen, one of Manchester’s most highly regarded pizzerias. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly as we settle down to enjoy our evening. I opt for a very generously sized ‘American’ from the menu. It’s essentially a pepperoni, but about the size of a toilet seat, which more that justifies the £8.70 price tag.

After dinner, we proceed to hit a number of bars, including the New York-infused Mojo, and end up in Revolution de Cuba. Now I’ll be the first person to admit that, rum gets me a special kind of drunk. And while I’d love to spend a couple of paragraphs describing the nuanced décor, and extensive drinks menu, I’m afraid that thanks to alcohol, the part of my brain that holds that information simply doesn’t exist anymore.

Things get pretty fuzzy from this point onwards, but I’m told that Revolution de Cuba hosts live music and salsa dancing. At this point, I’m not prepared to admit if I took part in said dancing.

The next morning I wake up, bleary eyed, and sore headed in my plush Macdonald bed. Euan and I think it best to get a hearty breakfast before braving the train journey back up to Glasgow, so head fo a full English in the Pen and Pencil in the centre of town.  Their black coffee and fresh bacon goes down a treat. The only thing missing was the obligatory Scottish hangover cure, Irn Bru. Given that we were in England, I’ll let them away with it.

So there you have it. One of my favourite trips in 2015 was a spontaneous one night in Manchester. Not backpacking in the Himalayas, or swimming with manta rays off the gold coast of Australia. It just goes to show you that some of the best times you have are completely off the cuff, and with the most minimal planning. It’s a definite attitude that I’ve now applied to travel, and will try to live by in the future. Maybe without so much rum, next time…

Tags: drinking, england, manchester, one night

 

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