Last Saturday we were meeting up with a Uni friend (which is ALWAYS dangerous) around the middle part of Wilmslow Road. To make sure we got some good steppage in, we set out early to have some fun before exploring Manchester by night (drunk!)
Charging up in Popolinos
As we were on the whole Uni vibe, we stopped off at our favourite pizza place from back in the day, good old Popolinos. I think that between Poplinos, the dirty burger van outside the Union, The Pub and the Union food they kept us cheaply sustained through the years at MMU. The only difference with our choices now is that we go for the veggie option rather than the ‘Hampi-Pampi’ (ham and pineapple) that we used to devour!
For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of the pizza and chips (or us eating them), which I can only think came down to our eager anticipation to re-live the dream! Yeah, it was OK, but I think our tastes have grown with us – a delicious broccoli and blue cheese homemade pizza would have hit the spot much better. But it was good to try it again and I think we have finally overcome our need to eat there.
So off we wandered up towards Wilmslow Road. Reminiscing of our times at Uni and how things have changed so much since then. So many of the bars have gone, the shops have changed and the wastelands are now flats or halls. Very different indeed.
Urban wandering down Oxford Road
The sun has a beautiful way of making Oxford Road look magical in the evening so I took great pleasure in capturing some of the older architectural features of the area.
When we were at Uni, I did a sleep deprivation project where I recreated the feeling of disorientation of needing sleep through a film project where we walked up and down Oxford Road. (I’ll have to dig it out!) and even doing a project where I was exploring the streets, I still missed out on some of the stunning buildings around there. (although another of my projects was about hidden Manchester and checking out there areas where only the marginalised homeless went, so I wasn’t looking at the front rather the back and beyond)
This church spent most of our uni years shrouded in scaffolding, so it wad fantastic to see it in full glory in the evening sunshine.
For a totally varied architectural experience, I would recommend having a browse around the hospital buildings. A constant blend between old and new, many with some great history and all of them with some brilliant presence.
Discovering faces with animal head hats, more luscious red brick buildings and catching a glimpse of Manchester’s beloved Toast Rack building (which I honestly hope has been bought and has a new ease of life coming!)
..and even how stunning the high-rise blocks of flats look with the blue skies and setting sun. We really do have a stunning city in Manchester in the dusk and the night and the sunshine and the rain (OK, I might be getting a bit soppy here!)
Oh yeah, and have you ever noticed that some of the city’s ashtrays have the Manchester worker bee in them… and that the pattern is of the honeycomb? (It was new to me!)
The beer starts flowing!
So anyway, that was the end of our walking and exploring in dusk. If you get chance to go out and around Oxford Road when the sun is going down, do it! There is more to see than you could imagine and everything changes in different light. Plus, I think it is a good way to start an evening of drinking! Which is where we headed next… (see! We’re not always frugal! …well for the bit before we all ended up in Wetherspoons for the quiet atmosphere and cheap drinks!)
The Beer Studio is where the slippery slope to drunkeness began! They have the largest section of worldwide beers to choose from and the Meantime London Pale Ale slides right down with a delicious mellow flavour! Our friend was running late so not to let the grass grow under our feet (and because we like to be on the move a lot) we headed out to the Fallow to wait for him.
Beer after beer, laugh after laugh with conversation flowing we finally go booted out of Wetherspoons and had to head further down. Unfortunately our friend didn’t anticipate a two-mile walk with us to the next bar! (he was rather warm by our arrival at Big Hands!)
…and here is a cheeky glimpse of me tipsy – with my Wallace and Gromit style grin! 😀
Big Hands has a great little beer garden at the top. The bar has been here in a pretty similar state since we were at Uni and I have a special place for it in my heart. Not only that, the nighttime views from the rooftop are really interesting! (even if I had to concentrate really hard to keep my phone straight and still!)
Finally after Big Hands closed we set out to make the walk back to town (our friend jumped a cab as quick as Jack Flash so that he didn’t have to walk back with us!!)
The streets are so quiet and peaceful (and kind of eerie) around Oxford Road at around 2:30 am in the morning …or whatever time it was!)
Our walk (or should that be stagger!) took us back up past Sackville Gardens and back up to Piccadilly – the lights of the Holiday Inn guiding us like the drunk persons beacon.
We plonked down into the taxi and headed home. Smiles on our faces from reminiscing over uni, exploring the buildings and streets and catching up with our great friend. Despite having way too many cheeky pints, we had a fun time!
I have to say that I am glad we don’t do it very often, I am only just recovering from the late night and our adventures around Manchester by dusk and by night!
Did you go to Uni in Manchester? When was the last time you explored your old hangouts? (whether it was in Manchester or somewhere else)
Share in the comments!