Weather in Manchester
Let’s start with the weather. Pouring. It rains often, sometimes several times a day, sometimes several days without a break. As the real Manc (read Mank), a native of Manchester, would say, piss from the sky. However, there are periods of two or three weeks without rain – the closer you get to summer, the more likely it is. This does not necessarily mean a cloudless sky, but you can’t always get what you want.
The climate is still milder than in Poland, because winter is rarely cold and summer is hot. In winter it is simply colder and it rains more often. Snow falls twice a year and disappears after an hour. At least it has been like this since I came here.
If you look only at the average annual rainfall, it doesn’t look much worse than even in Cracow. According to data from recent years, 867 millimeters of water fall in Manchester during the year, making this city the eighth most rainy in the UK (the first place is Glasgow with 1120 mm per year). Statistically, it is raining for at least 152 days a year and in this respect, only Glasgow (170 days), Huddersfield (154) and Preston (153) are worse. For comparison, the average precipitation in Poland is 600 mm, but such Krakow has 740 mm a year, Katowice 808 mm, Bielsko-Biala 914 mm, and the most rainy in the country Zakopane 994 mm. These theoretically small differences between the averages in practice mean that in Manchester I hardly ever part with a raincoat. Mainly because of the cloudiness that occurs almost daily and it is impossible to predict if there will be any rain.
This is not a problem for me. More troublesome are musty and mildew, which is very easy to get rid of in common damp conditions. You can control them by taking care of painting the walls with special paints and using dehumidifiers at home. My apartment is part of a hundred-year-old brick block estate and moisture is the main enemy, but I have also seen mould on the ceilings of bathrooms of much newer apartments. Such charms of life in the British Isles.
What kind of city is Manchester?
A bit of history
It all began about 79 years ago, when the Romans built a wooden fort to protect the trade route between Chester and York. It stood on a breast-shaped hill and hence its name is Mamuncium (prefix of mammals), or Mancunium. Today’s Chester is a remnant of the old English caester, which again comes from the Roman castrum, and means fort.
The Romans left the UK in 407 and for a few hundred years the trace is broken. The lands around Mamecester are mentioned around 1080. In 1301, Manchester was granted city rights as a borough (and again this means a fortification, this time from the German burg – Strasbourg, Hamburg, Edinburgh).
Currently, Manchester alone has more than half a million inhabitants, but the Greater Manchester metropolitan area has about 2.8 million inhabitants. Here, the heart of the industrial revolution was beating. Chapel Street in Salford was the world’s first gas-lighting system in 1805. This is where John Dalton formulated his atomic theory of matter in 1803. This is where the world’s first railroad connection was opened and where trains only traveled with steam locomotives along the entire route. This is where the so-called Rochdale Rules were formulated, which laid the foundation for the modern cooperative movement. Here, the world’s first professional football league was formed. Here, in 1904, Frederick Royce founded a well-known automobile company with Charles Rolls. It was here at the University of Manchester that Ernest Rutherford split the atom and discovered the proton one hundred years ago. And finally, in 2010, scientists from the same university received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of graphene. Impressive, isn’t it? Here you will find more things that first happened in Manchester.
The sense of pioneering in science and industry is part of the identity of the people of Manchester. Another element is diligence, expressed twice in the coat of arms of the city: in the form of seven bees against the background of the Earth in the gem of the coat of arms and in the motto Concilio et labore (Latin for thought and work). You can see these busy bees all over the city, from bridges to trash garbage cans. The spirit of enterprise and work permeates the streets of the glass-brick landscape during the day and at night is replaced by the spirit of fun, according to another unofficial motto: work hard, party hard.
This atmosphere is for me a breath of freshness after the Krakow’s splicing, bohemia, sad thoughtfulness over a glass, piercing through everywhere with over-intellectualization in smog fumes. The Wawel Dragon was poisoned with a calf stuffed with sulfur and tar, Krakow is poisoned with sulfur oxide to maintain the tradition. I love Cracow, but it is a difficult love. Much easier remotely.
Other advantages (and disadvantages) of Manchester
Three airports within an hour’s drive: Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. Three universities in the city itself: University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and Royal Northern College of Music; and three more in the agglomeration: University of Salford, University of Bolton and University of Law. Half an hour by train to the Peak District National Park, where I often travel. The whole curry street, the Chinese quarter, lots of local breweries, vinyl stores in the Northern Quarter. Lots of restaurants, rich nightlife… Greatly equipped Central Library.
Public transportation is less well organized than in Krakow. Each bus company has its own one-way tickets, daily, weekly and monthly. There are bus lines operated by several companies, which means that many tickets must be purchased. There is a solution for this in the form of Get Me There card (previously called System One), which allows you to buy a weekly or monthly ticket for all bus companies at a slightly higher price. However, many times I have seen people completely unaware of its existence – for them it remains to buy a daily ticket for all buses from the driver. Moreover, every stop is on demand and if you do not wave your hand, the bus will not stop (this has its advantages, because the stops are every 200 meters and you would not want to stop every now and then). Unfortunately, the buses run independently of timetables. Well, maybe they try, but they rarely do. But they drive quite often, so…
In terms of population, Manchester is the second largest agglomeration in the Kingdom after London. You do not feel this size in Manchester. You can easily move around the center on foot. On the other hand, if you would like to get from Bolton in the north-west to Stockport in the south, and during rush hour… Well, it may take some time.
What is interesting to do here?
The city where the Oasis, Joy Division or Stone Roses teams came out of is probably the most famous for soccer. The stadiums on opposite sides of the city must be seen by a soccer fan, regardless of whether he is a United or a City supporter.
The local museums are noteworthy, especially the Museum of Science and Industry and the Manchester Museum. Admission to both of them is free, and the exhibitions are delightful. You will also find many galleries and smaller museums such as the Football Museum. You can also see the ruins of the Roman fort, about which I wrote at the beginning of the entry, in Castlefield. Here is an exhaustive list: https://cheaphotelmanchesterairport.co.uk/attractions-in-manchester/.
Lovers of good food must necessarily visit Curry Mile. The usual name is Wilmslow Road, where so many places with oriental cuisine are packed next to each other that it is impossible to try everything in a short time. Pakistani, Lebanese, Indian, Turkish and many more. The second must-have stop for any foodie will certainly be Chinatown, where there are plenty of places serving delicious dim sum and other Chinese dishes. In addition, there are literally hundreds of take-away restaurants throughout the agglomeration serving food from all over the world, and there is no shortage of more exquisite restaurants for people with richer wallets. This incredible variety of flavors, textures and scents is what I see as the greatest advantage of a multicultural city.
I’m not some fan of nightlife, but I know that it exists in Manchester. Popular clubs like Revolution de Cuba, Bird Cage and others experience a real siege on the weekends. A literal siege. Evidence of how Mancunians make a party hard, sometimes circulated the world. It is worth noting that the LGBT community here has a whole district of pubs, bars and clubs, called Gay Village.
Speaking of nightlife, I have to write something about the pubs here, and there are many. We have the smallest pub in Europe – The Circus Tavern, we also have the biggest pub in the UK, and maybe even in Europe – The Moon Under Water (this is where I took pictures of people for money!). Some pubs belong to the Wetherspoons network, but there are a lot of independent ones, some of which brew their own beers (like the great Sinclairs Oyster Pub, where you can drink a pint for two pounds and the choice will satisfy many).
Architecture lovers will be pleased to see Manchester Cathedral, Central Library, City Council building, Beetham Tower skyscraper, John Rylands Library, Old Smithfield Market, Royal Exchange Building, or Shambles Square with pubs near the cathedral.
There is also the former port of Manchester renamed Salford Quays, where part of the BBC’s business was moved, and so Media City, the safest and one of Manchester’s nicest corners, was created.
Finally, you can always take the train at Piccadilly Station and in half an hour you will be in the Peak District, a national park full of sheep, magnificent hills and miles to go. There I find the moments of tranquility and return to nature that are so necessary at times.
What is Manchester to me?
After almost three years, it turns out that Manchester’s ethos helps a lot in working hard on itself. The spirit of this city gives energy when a person comes out of the hole, sets new goals and changes his own life. Here I took my first pictures for money, I had my first photo session with a model and I will have my first pregnancy session. Here I started fasting every week and keep a daily diary. Here I returned to writing on the blog every week. Everyone needs to redecorate once in a while in their lives, and for me Manchester is the refuge that made the redecoration work for me. It is also a good base to travel around the world (these three airports, up to four if you count Birmingham). In Manchester I also said goodbye to my dog, who is probably now running through the dog’s sky smelling every clump of grass and eating what he finds. Mancunia is also an adventure and as long as it lasts, I will stay here for now.
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