Our first day in Manchester was the kind of day where nothing goes according to plan. Not in the horrible oh-my-god-my-life-is-over kind of way, more in an I'm-about-to-scream-till-I-can't-breathe-nothing-is-working-out type way. We arrived in Manchester after an almost entirely empty flight over from Nuremberg, over the course of which Saskia and I spent a solid hour making ugly faces at each other while the woman behind us worried about our mental health. This was both of our first times in England - aka the first time we've been to a country that was new to both of us - and actually our first time flying together bc usually we take cars and trains and buses and save the flights for just getting to each other in the first place. It was at this point that we got a message from our AirBnb host saying that he needed us to get to him within the next hour before he headed to work for the night or else we wouldn't have a way to get in. So naturally, we unknowingly chose the least rapid form of transportation to get where we needed to go (which he informed us of after we were ON it - thanks for nothing) and he decided that the best plan of action would be to meet us at our metro stop so as to give us a quick briefing on the apartment and leave us with the keys. Unfortunately he also - seemingly unconsciously - decided that this would be the best time to casually fall in love with me (ew) as he walked us halfway back to the apartment before leaving us to our own devices and heading to work. We walked the rest of the long and winding road to his place before getting into a fight with his front door which required the use of about a billion keys and strategic pulls and pushes in order to get it open.
It wasn't until we started unpacking that we realized that our idiocy knows no bounds and we'd forgotten that the UK doesn't use the same outlet plugs as the rest of Europe, but that was the least of our worries. Sassy couldn't find the iron to prep her blouse for the next day's interview so we used a blow dryer until she found it, but then we couldn't fully open the ironing board so she held it upright while I ironed her shirt bc she didn't trust her domestic abilities (which is fair considering she took a blow dryer to it first). Then she tried seven ways to Sunday to get Uber to let her schedule a ride into Stockport (where her interview would be held) all while aggressively threatening to throw her phone out the window if it didn't get its sh*t together. At this stage we realized if we didn't eat soon we would die or kill each other so I attempted to find something for delivery nearby, which was fine until I needed a UK number for them to call in case of any issues. My idea was to use our host's cell number and just change a digit so it didn't actually work, but bc of how my sad, slow brain works, I didn't change any digits and our host got a call about his Chinese food delivery shortly after receiving an apologetic text from me describing the issue. Then my credit card wouldn't be processed. Sassy still couldn't get an Uber. I had to use a different card. Our food finally arrived and we took a break from life to inhale our beef and broccoli. At this stage our socially awkward and quite enamored host came back from work and when I asked for a grocery store nearby where I could get us some groceries to make Sassy breakfast in the morning, he offered to come with me while Sassy did interview prep. Yay. So Joey and I walked to the store while he asked me about past boyfriends and whether or not I used Tinder and what I look for in a man, all of which was sufficiently distracting (and annoying) enough to make me forget the staple item in the breakfast I had planned for Sassy and I: eggs. I had 4 minutes until the store closed and we had just walked 10 minutes away from it, so clearly my only option was to give Joey my grocery bag and book it back to the store for those eggs, bc I'd be dammed if Sassy didn't get a quality breakfast before her big day. I made it with about 30 seconds to spare and we headed back for the night to get some much needed rest.
Ironically enough, the next morning when I woke up with Sassy at 6:30 to make her breakfast, the stove wouldn't work, so the Olympic-caliber sprint I'd made for the damn things wasn't even WORTH IT. It's fine. We chatted while she snacked on some of the fruits and veggies I'd gotten and I felt myself assume full mom-mode like I was getting my kid ready for school. It was terrifying. Eventually she headed out - oh also the shower wouldn't work so she couldn't be all clean and shiny for her freaking interview bc our host was less than forthcoming with information - and I headed back to bed for a few hours bc who the hell wakes up at 6:30 unless they have to? Luckily - pls sense the sarcasm - for me, Joey was home for the day so he was able to show me how to make the stove and shower happen before inviting himself to come with me into the city center when I started to head out. Yay me. He actually ended up leaving me to my own devices once we got into the city so I made my way down the winding streets full of old brick buildings juxtaposed with brand new businesses at every turn. The weather was about as gray and dreary as I anticipated, but I found a coffee shop with gluten free pastries and a German grocery store and I was good to go. After a few hours of wandering, I grabbed Sassy and I some wine to celebrate her inevitable success at the interview and headed home to meet her. We Skyped Kyle for about 3h while enjoying our celebratory wine (she got shortlisted for the job so keep your fingers crossed) before heading to the store to get food for dinner. All in all it was a wonderfully chill night due to her exhaustion from the all-day interview, so 9pm found us in bed watching Netflix like the party animals we are.
The next day was full of sightseeing and aimless wandering down pretty city streets, all while making a valiant attempt to survive (ya girl almost died 437 times on this trip bc these jerks drive on the wrong side of the road and "look both ways before you cross the street" doesn't help when you're looking the wrong way - thx 4 nothing, mom). We knew more or less where we wanted to go but had no actual map, so our sights were all out of order and we passed by the same landmarks about 247x, but it was all the more fun for it. Sassy and I are very similar in our travel mindsets - and by that I mean we're chill as all get out - so it makes all our trips particularly laid back and enjoyable. We found gluten free food literally all over the place so I told her she had my approval to move to Manchester (obviously my opinion is of vital importance to her - LOLOL) and we enjoyed gluten free burgers before heading back to the apartment for some R&R. We went out for a few drinks later on, which we enjoyed immensely aside from an incident I'll throw into my next post (no worries, we're fine) and made it home safe and sound with the help of our BFF, Uber.
As for the next morning we'd told our host we'd be out by 10, so naturally I rolled into the shower at 9.15 and we made it out around 10.15. Our goal for the day was simple: check out a viewpoint over the city in a nearby area, and eat gluten free fish and chips/meat pies. The former didn't work out, but we were incredibly successful with the latter. We visited the Imperial War Museum - which was in the middle of nowhere and we were remotely concerned about our safety when our super cheap Uber dropped us off - bc we wanted to climb the tower that was its trademark feature. Of course, the tower was closed down so we couldn't climb it, but there was a cafe and a bunch of really well crafted war exhibitions, so we made the most out of our time there. It also helped that they had lockers where we could store our luggage bc we'd had to check out of our AirBnb and had to bring everything with us. Eventually we made our way to Whittakers Fish and Chips - a small dive in Trafford where they serve gluten free English delicacies that I was very excited about. They definitely didn't disappoint and we chatted about everything from feminism to college to racism to travel before heading to the airport once again.
All in all I very much enjoyed England, all the more bc I got to experience it with Sassy. I will say though, it was hard being a muggle in Harry Potter-land considering I was perpetually reminded by their Narnian accents that I never got a Hogwarts letter, but it's fine. I'm fine.
But as for right now, it's Sunday in Germany and I was in England all week so guess who has three slices of gluten free bread, a bag of frozen veggies, and a jar of peanut butter to get her through till tomorrow when the grocery store is open again.
Until next time boys and girls - if I don't die of starvation.
About the Author
Mouth like a sailor, great lacker of empathy, paper cut survivor, avid arguer, harsh critic of people who put clothes on their pets, easily distracte
USA, Mexico, Iceland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Malta, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, England, Poland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Scotland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece
The Baltic countries,
if Covid allows for it (Latvia, Estonia, maybe a stop in Finland)
(in August in the US)