We checked out of our house in Athy, Ireland and drove to Dublin to drop-off our rental car. It was sad to leave the house we had stayed at for the week but it was exciting to get moving with our honeymoon plans. We got a lift from the car rental drop-off to the airport and took a taxi to the Dublin port. The port is really nice and the service was excellent. I do recommend getting there an hour early otherwise it gets crazy busy. We took the bumpiest, most off-putting, vertigo-inducing ferry ride to Holyhead port, UK. I felt like I was going to throw-up several times. Luckily I had crackers and Sean bought me a soda so I was able to hold it together…just barely.
We arrived in Holyhead and picked-up our second rental car of the trip and we were off again headed to our hotel stay for the night in Manchester. It was about 2 & 1/2 to 3 hours drive from Holyhead but the scenery was amazing. I loved driving through Whales and some of the towns were so adorable I wished we could spend more time exploring some of them. We drove straight through to Manchester and got into town right as it was getting dark. Manchester was very much like you would expect any large city to be: traffic, no parking, expensive. We were surprised to find our hotel didn’t have any parking close by so we had to park in the parking structure that was blocks away for the overnight stay. It ended-up costing us £ 20 which translates to $32!!
We walked the 10 minutes with our bags to the hotel to check-in. We were staying at the LeVille Hotel on Canal Street which also just happened to be in the gay district of Manchester. I joked that I needed to keep an eye on Sean because he’s a handsome man but we didn’t get approached so it was no problem. We have lots of gay friends so we weren’t uncomfortable at all. The hotel was nice and modern and they even gave us a complimentary bottle of wine and muffins! I was pretty happy about that. The room was small but the bed was large and comfortable. The room was on the first level (street level) so there was some noise, but I am a heavy sleeper so it didn’t bug me. We dropped our bags, had some wine and muffin, and headed out to find the BrewDog Manchester bar in search of food and beer after a long day of travel.
Walking through Manchester at night is interesting. There are a lot of eerie old, dark, twisted buildings that would most likely be beautiful in the daytime. These old fossils are nestled in-between newer clubs and hotels and apartment buildings jockeying for position and attention. The streets are somewhat dirty and there are homeless people and shady-looking groups of drunk tourists stumbling and yelling. I took some photos while we were walking to BrewDog but I wasn’t the most comfortable with keeping my camera out for that long. Me and Sean are pretty savvy and while we don’t live in a big city we have been to LA and other large cities on several occasions so we know how to navigate these large cities. Usually you just walk fast, stay together, don’t make eye-contact, don’t linger in one spot for too long, avoid alleys, etc. We didn’t have any issues in Manchester thankfully.
After a 20 minute walk, we got to BrewDog and ordered a flight of beer. I normally poo-poo flights because I know they are annoying for the bartender but it did give us a good sampling for our next round. I really liked the Blitz! Apricot which is a 3%ABV Berliner Weisse that was so damn good. It was light and fruity and damn drinkable. We also got to enjoy the Dog B American Imperial / Double Stout that is 15%ABV and the Abstrakt AB:14 Weizenbock that is 10.2%ABV. Both were amazing and very hard to get in the US so we enjoyed ourselves considerably. We ordered the BBQ themed food as well and it was delicious. Tired but happy we walked back to our hotel and called it a night.
The next morning we ventured into the Manchester ASDA (UK Walmart) to get an adapter cable so we could play music from my smart phone in the car and to get cash. We had also planned on going to another place that was on the list before our next long drive to Glasgow but because we couldn’t find parking AT ALL and drove around for almost an hour looking, we just gave-up and got on the freeway for Glasgow. Overall, I liked Manchester but I wouldn’t stay there with a car again. I would rather stay outside of Manchester and do a day-trip into the city via public transit. It’s crazy, but I have been able to find parking better in LA than Manchester….and that’s saying something.