Christmas is almost here! Today I got home early, with the hope that I will muster, in a couple of hours, enough willpower to get out of the house and go to the company’s Christmas Party. I don’t mind rain, but I prefer when I can enjoy it from my sofa under a nice warm blanket (similar to my situation right now).
Anyway, I’m not here to complain about the weather, or I will turn full Irish already! I am here to tell you all about my last weekend and my trip to Manchester. The trip was originated, as always, by football, but it happened that we had to go at the beginning of December and I soon discovered that Manchester is one of the best cities in the UK for Christmas markets! Also, it will be the last year in the Albert’s Square so I kindly informed Sergeant Lunch and his papa, with whom I was going to travel with, that we just had to take a walk through them. And eat there, of course. 🙂
Let’s start at the beginning: we arrived on the Saturday morning and that day we traveled in style to the Old Trafford, on a boat! The City Centre Cruises bring you to and from the stadium (very very close to the entrance) for a decent price, and you stay warm, with a beer in your hand, and out of the cold, able to talk about the match in peace. We loved it, and I am sure we will repeat it if we go in winter (or whenever it’s raining, really, which happens an awful lot there). After the match (we won, thank you for asking), we went to the city centre, to a crowded Irish pub (I know, but it was the only one at hand), to watch another match, and then we went back to one of our favourite places ever, La Viña, where I made friends with a lovely waitress called Desiree, and we had so much food, again! No pictures though, we were too tired to be bothered.
The following day started early, since our place was an apartment in front of the Printworks (where on a weekend there’s plenty of dancing going on) and even if the place was very nice, the noise from the streets didn’t exactly help our sleep.
We wandered for a bit in the morning, visiting first a nice market (not a Christmas one) in hipsterville, the Northern Quarter. There we saw some nice baked goods and I dreamt a bit about having my own, and I met a nice witch! (not making this up, and she was very nice). We also stumbled upon the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, a very nice initiative and a good way of use an old area made new.
We then started to make our way into the markets, that are scattered throughout the city centre, which helps not feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of people. The markets all had some common stalls, like the drinks one, and some of the most popular food ones, and some crafts stalls. I would say it’s 50-50, which I love because what I probably like best about these markets is (this won’t take you by surprise), the food! The knick-knacks are all fine, but where there’s food, there’s joy 😀
We tried lovely ham-burguers, or literal buns filled with roasted ham and onions and mushrooms with garlic mayo (and onions, again), which warmed us up in the nice and cold Mancunian afternoon. We also tried some of the sweets in fashion, marshmallows covered in chocolate. My opinion of those is “meh”.
These stalls were all replicated in Albert’s Square, but that was of course, much bigger. You had a lot of food from different countries, some Christmas decorations and souvenirs, and plenty of booze stalls. In these, by the way, a nice mug is given for, if I recall correctly, 3 eur approximately, which you can keep as a souvenir or give back and get your money back as well. Of course, I brought mine home. We had some lovely mulled gin in it, so I had to do it 🙂
Very satisfied with our incursion, we headed back to the Northern Quarter, which we supposed (correctly, since it was Sunday) to be quieter, and had a very nice pint (or two) at the Smithfield Market Tavern, just across Mackie Mayor (see my previous trip to Manchester for this). I had a lovely pint of something that actually tasted like cinnamon (hence, like Christmas).
We then had a lovely chicken dinner in true hipster fashion at Yard and Coop, but once again I was too tired and hungry to even bother and take a photo. It was delicious, though, take my word for it! 😀
On the Monday morning we had a bit of time, so we went to the now quieter markets for a last stroll and to buy a bauble for Lunch’s mama, then visited the John Ryland’s library (which is amazing and you should all go and see) and finished off the visit at the Pie Minister, where they do not only know how to name a restaurant, but they also do some bloody good food.
And so the weekend was over and I loved Christmasy Manchester! ❤