As you may or may not know, I was in the UK for a few days this month, attending a conference and exploring a part of the UK I had previously never been to!
I caught my flight Friday afternoon, running to the airport straight after work. It was a bit of a challenge but we made it work. I became friends with a lovely guy on the plane who sat near me – a British student in Malta studying to be a doctor. It made the flight a lot more pleasant and eased my plane-anxiety (I hate flying). After arriving in Manchester Airport, I made my way to my guest house, after which I had a really nice dinner at a restaurant near by. My first day was quite quiet, simply because I had arrived so late.
My first day in Manchester City! I had never been this far up north, so I was very excited to explore. My first stop was the Manchester Art Gallery, where I spent an hour running around and admiring all the beautiful paintings. Some of my favourites below:
After enjoying the gallery, I went to the John Rylands library, where I saw a wonderful exhibition – The Hidden Life of Objects. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures. It was a collection of items from famous British peoples’ lives, such as Walt Whitman’s pen and glasses, a hand bag belonging to one of Lord Byron’s lovers, and so on. The library is also a beautiful place to be in general, with an aura of quiet and majesty to it that very few buildings can exude.
After stopping for a hot chocolate at the Starbucks across the road, I went to the Museum of Science and Technology, and after stopped for a late lunch/early dinner in a pub on Canal Street, making my way back to the guest house soon after. I had been in the city for 9 hours, but it was 9 hours very well spent.
I had to leave Manchester on Sunday for Lancaster, which was only an hour away by train. I actually arrived at the guest house earlier than expected, and was told that I had a two-hour wait for my room to be ready. I left my luggage in their back room and walked a little to the city, making it to the Lancaster Castle very soon after. I had lunch in the Castle grounds where a fair was happening, and then took a wonderful tour of the place. If you’re ever in Lancaster, please do visit this place filled with an amazing history and led by a wonderful team of guides! It was probably one of the best excursions of my trip!
I was told, however, that once I had seen the Castle, I had seen all Lancaster had to offer, so I soon went off to dinner and then took an early night, in preparation for the next day.
Conference day! This was my first conference and it was a wonderful experience all throughout. Organized by a Maltese PhD student at the University of Lancaster, and opened by one of my old Professors, I met a wonderful cast of people who were all as interested in literature as I am. We spoke about a lot of aspects of the topic, and I listened to some truly amazing papers about a wide variety of topics. I even delivered my own paper for the first time!
After the conference came the inevitable conference dinner, and a lovely chat with my old Professor about my career prospects, which left me leaving very very satisfied with what my future might hold for me.
I spent the morning in Lancaster, doing some shopping and having a lovely breakfast in a little cafe found behind an alleyway. It was pouring rain, the only day where it actually rained a lot. After exploring the city a little bit, I ventured towards the bus station and caught a bus to the Lake District, more specifically a small village called Kendal.
It was nice to appreciate the quiet and nature of the village, and after a pub lunch, I went back to Lancaster and bought myself some take away and stayed in for the rest of the night, drying myself as I had really become drenched to the bone. This Maltese is not used to the rain at all.
My last day in the UK, so I went back to Manchester to do some shopping. I ended up buying £85 worth of books from Waterstones (♥), 3 CDs from HMV, and some accessories for my trust GoPro camera, after which I caught the train to the airport. Unfortunately, there had been a security breach at the airport, so it was a good thing I was there 4 hours before my flight. I was in line to get onto the plane for 4 hours – and this included check in, security, and finding my gate. I eventually made it onto the plane, and spent the entire trip speaking to the girl sitting next to me – a woman a year older who had been living in the UK for ten years (originally from Poland) and who I became fast friends with. I arrived in Malta at midnight, and still got enough sleep to make it to work on time the next day!
All in all, this was a wonderfully successful trip, and my first time travelling completely solo, so I’m proud of myself for managing everything so well!
On to the next one: Germany in one month!