Of course, the adventure had to end sometime. After a whirl-wind couple of days in Stratford, it was back on the train, and up to Manchester. We just had time to fit in one more visit with the Huttons, so they picked us up to spend the day at the Trafford Centre–a shopping mall of epic (if not West Edmontonian) proportions. Fortunately they were driving, because even a month spent in the UK did not improve our understanding of the odd motorway signs, the vicious round-a-bouts nor the strange penchant for driving on the wrong side of the road. Of course, a Briton will be quick to point out that I have the latter point quite backwards.
Manchester seems to be a spread-out sort of a city, but our views were limited to the airport and the Mall. Not enough of an impression to give much reflection, but the mall was a great place to wander and relax, as malls often are, and the addition of Lego Land makes it a great family destination. Speaking of families, this picture from LegoLand highlights that even members of different families know one thing to be true….there are definite differences between boys and girls….(click for full sized version)
Advice: When you arrive at the main Manchester rail station, there is a direct connection to the airport right there. However, it is not a train, but rather a commuter/metro-style subway train. So you won’t find any amenities like washrooms or vending machines on that train…..
After our final tearful goodbyes with the Huttons, all that remained was a good night’s sleep before the arduous flight back across the Atlantic….homewards.
Manchester airport is divided into 3 terminals. Within each terminal are the duty-free shops and cafes you would expect. It was a simple walk through covered overhead walkways to get from the Radisson Blu to the International terminal. Once we had checked in and dodged the perfume and cologne spritzers in the duty-free shop, a breakfast and a comfortable rest was all that remained to our time Abroad. From our vantage point in the terminal we could see our Thomas Cook plane being loaded and prepped for take-off, and regardless of the fact that we really didn’t want to leave, it was time to go home…