Back to the big cities

17th, 18th, 19th June 2013

Another day just enjoying Scarborough, a day getting to Birmingham and one spent seeing just a tiny bit of that very cosmopolitan city!

Upscale beach huts at Scarborough, England

Upscale beach huts at Scarborough, England

Everywhere I went back to in Scarborough I found more interesting things to look at and take photos of, it really is a wonderful place and I just love the area around the Spa Complex, wish I could have seen it in it’s heyday.

Had to backtrack to York to get to Birmingham but it wasn’t a very long wait there and I met a girl and her Dad, who was from Australia. Strange to meet someone who emigrated to England from Australia, usually it’s the other way round. She was telling me her parents help out heaps with babysitting her little one, seems much more common over here than at home, but maybe it’s just that I don’t see how often it happens at home. It’s one of the sights that’s really made an impression, the oldies, men and women, out walking the grandchildren during the day.

Birmingham was a bit of a shock – obviously, I’ve been in the really English England for a while. It’s really the first place since London that I’ve felt in the minority, fair skin, hair and eyes, not that it worries me but you do tend to notice when you’re the odd one out. I didn’t realise it at first, but I was only a couple of minutes walk from the Bullring, which I think might be Birmingham’s major shopping centre, so went for a walk after checking in to apartment. I don’t know, but I think Australia has it all over England and Europe when it comes to shopping centres – ours seem huge compared to any I’ve seen here.

Birmingham's very own little version of the bridge of sighs

Birmingham’s very own little version of the bridge of sighs

Next morning I had a nice wander to the city, must have been reasonably early, not many people around and had to wait for the museum to open – wonder or wonders. I spent a couple of happy hours here ogling more fine works of art and trying to get some of the information to stay in my brain. But, guess what, one of the best parts was morning tea in the gorgeous café. I honestly think I could do an exhibition showcasing just the cafes attached to museums and art galleries in England – and be on a winner, because they are superb.

Wrought iron pieces in Birmingham museum

Wrought iron pieces in Birmingham museum

But, I have to say, I’ve gotten a few favourite artists since I started this trip. Birmingham has quite a few pieces of one of my favourites, Edgar Degas, he just gets ballerina’s doesn’t he? They also have a unique collection of wrought iron pieces, who’d have thought they’d be museum worthy one day? But they definitely are, and they’re works of art too.

Updated 'back to back' in Birmingham

Updated ‘back to back’ in Birmingham

Serendipity’s a funny thing isn’t it? I’d read about the ‘back to back’s’  of Birmingham, and thought I’d love to find them – well I walked past them near where I’m staying. They were a bit like Scotland’s tenements but built around a common courtyard. I thought this would make them better than the tenements but apparently the courtyards did nothing to help at all, just added to the dirt and filth because they were mostly mud.

The man doing the guided tour was lovely, and as they mostly are, full of little bits of personal insights. It’s really not that long ago, during the 60’s, that people were still living in the back to backs, before the council started knocking them down.

There were a couple of women from just outside Birmingham on the tour who could both remember visiting their grandparents living in back to backs too. They were a funny pair, reminiscing about bits they remembered and cracking themselves up laughing the whole time. It added to the tour for me because it was like having 3 tour guides instead of just one – perfect.

Must have been having a lazy day, because that was the sum total of my Birmingham sightseeing!

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Filed under England, Mid-life travel, Solo female travel, Travel

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