So yes, I went for a trip to Manchester to meet up with my travelbuddy in Australia, Alexis. On the morning of the 11th of November I had to wake up early and my dad dropped me off at the trainstation near his work so I could get to Schiphol Airport in time for my flight. I was a bit surprised I had to go through the passport check, since I never have done that when I fly to and from Germany. Maybe the rules in the UK are a bit more strict? I had a good flight and the air crew was really funny, I had a great laugh. Just before arrival the sun came through the clouds throwing beams of light on the hills n the landscape (a ‘glimpse of heaven’ as I like to call it…), but that didn’t take long, because as soon as we hit the runway the heaven poured out lots and lots of rain. ‘Welcome to England’ I think it was telling me…

Alexis picked me up from the airport and we immediately were back in road trip-mode. While driving we were just chatting away, remembering the funny stuff from our 4 months in Australia in a station wagon and catching up on the 2,5 years we hadn’t seen each other. On our way to her house we drove passed the Manchester City stadium and lots and lots of pubs. At Alexis’s house we had a nice lunch with a sandwich and pie from the bakery across the street, it was really nice. After that we went for a drive and it really felt like road-trippin’ again, since we immediately had another adventure… As we drove on a deserted road into the country-side outside of Manchester, we saw a dog running around on the road. We stopped and saw it wasn’t wearing a collar or anything, but it looked healthy and clean, so it wasn’t a stray dog. Poor thing, it was probably abandoned or so… So we got ouit of the car and tried to keep the dog save from being run over by the cars that were driving past us. The dog was quite scared and didn’t want to come close to us, yet it was curious enough not to run off away from us. Alexis phoned the dog warden to come and pick up the dog, but it was quite a hassle to make them come to the correct road as we had no idea on what road we were. With some help from people in passing cars we could tell them where to pick up the dog. And then the waiting started. Luckily the dog started to trust us and came closer and closer to us. We got her on a selfmade (from an electrical wire Alexis had in the booth of her car) leash and could at least keep her safe from the cars driving past. After waiting for an hour and a half in the cold and bit of rain, we got a phone call. The dog warden could not find us. We told him we were in plain sight, but then it appeared that he was completely on the wrong road, and the road we were on was not in his district. Oh great! Not… So we phoned the head office again and they told us they would send another woman, but it could take between one and four hours. And it was getting dark. We decided to try to get the dog in the car and have the dog warden pick her up at home. After another half hour we finally got the dog in the car in front of the passenger seat where I sat, and she kept really calm the whole drive to Alexis’s mom’s home. There her mom, Karen, came out to put a real collar and leash on (from her own dog) to get the dog safe from the car into the house. At first she was a bit frightened from Freud, Karen’s dog, but just before the dog warden came over (after an hour…. happy we didn’t wait in the cold on that dark road for her) she started teasing and playing. It was a really sweet dog, and we felt sorry she was abandoned. The dog warden was going to take her to a dog’s home and we hope they find her a good home. After this adventure we had dinner, a lovely Indian meal cooked by Vinny, Karen’s husband. We had a nice chat and drink and after that we went home to Alexis’s place to watch a movie and head to bed.

The following day we went for breakfast at Vinny again, since Alexis had just moved into her new house and they were just placing the kitchen. I had trumpets for the first time and they tasted delicious. Then we walked over the the Meruvian, the place where Alexis went to school. They use the grounds still for filming, since it has the typical look and feel of the ‘England of the 20’s’. Then we got in the car, drove past Old Trafford (Manchester United’s stadium) to go to Trafford Centre, a huge shopping mall. So yes, we went for a bit of shopping, visited a gallery ( and had lunch (at Bar Burrito, really nice place with funny sayings on the wall). Then we tried to find the way to Old Trafford again to visit it (since I’m a huge soccer fan…), but somehow we took the wrong turn and ended up 15 miles away from the stadium… Hm, maybe we should do that tomorrow or so… Then we went for a cup of tea to Rebecca’s house (Alexis’s sister) and I met her, Charlotte (Alexis’s other sister), and Emma and Amy (Rebecca’s foster kids). Then we went for dinner at uncle Jimmy’s, and Alexis deeply regrets the moment she suggested to go there… As we arrived, Rebecca was already there, but then some more of his friends came over and I can only describe them as white trash… just pure and utter white trash. Those women were just huger than huge (I felt really, really skinny there…) and as the drinks were disappearing with the speed of light into the enormous women, the level got even lower… I did get a good laugh, but it was definitely at them, not with them… One of the ginormous girls (she was only 23 or so) had the hugest boobs I’ve ever seen (they were hanging pretty much all the way down on her knees… and no, I’m seriously not overexaggerating…), explained to me how people are being greeted in England. She said ‘Welcome to England’ and then started flinging around one of her boobs. Thank goodness I and the other people in the room ducked or we all would have been knocked out by it… Pfff, as you can imagine Alexis and I decided to leave shortly after that. Haven’t heard from any of the others after that… maybe they did get boobslapped and are still unconcious… Back at home we watched the lottery on tv, but we didn’t become millionaires… Ah well…

Saturday the 13th we had a great English breakfast at Karen and Vinny’s, with bacon, sausages, eggs, tomatoes. No beans though… Guess Alexis and I had eaten enough beans during our trip in Australia (was the easiest to take with us while we drove through the outback). Alexis did another good deed for that day, since an old man walked past pushing his electric mobility scooter. Again, I have to say, since that happened a few weeks before as well. Alexis took him into her mom’s house then, got his charger and had the guy sitting on the couch for the whole afternoon watching soccer. So he probably saw us sitting in the diningroom having breakfast and thought: ‘cool, another nice afternoon there…’ 😉 Only this time Alexis dropped him off at his house and just took the charger back to charge the scooter. He picked the scooter up later again. In the meantime Alexis and I picked up her sisters and we drove to Old Trafford. Unfortunately the tours were sold out, but I had a nice view from the outside of it anyway. Back at Alexis’s home we had a wine, relaxed for a bit and then got dressed up to go out for dinner at 8.30pm with some of her friends. Hayley picked us up and at Gaucho’s (an Argentinian grill restaurant) I met Alex (it was her Birthday a few days before), Dannielle and Jacqueline. As we sat down at the table the guy behind me started telling that Jamie Redknapp and Ben Shephard just sat out our table. Who?!? I had no idea who he was talking about, but according to the girls it was a former soccer player and an English tv presenter. I still had no idea… Anyway, was probably exciting news, so I just put on my excited face towards the guy who told me. ‘Oh, wow, really, cool, thanks for telling.’ After that we had a nice meal (big piece of steak), some wine and a few bites of a superdelicious chocolate pie. Then two of the girls decided to go out, but me and Alexis, Hayley and Jacqueline decided to go to Alexis’s home to chill over there. We had a good laugh, amongst other things Brokeback Mountain, and Alexis and I had a few more wodka-diet cokes. Around 3am we finally got into bed.

The following morning I had a weird wake up. First I woke up at 7.30am (way to early…), then again at 8.30 and with a shock (from a bizarre wodka-infused dream I guess…) I woke up at 10.40 again with an upset stomach… Geez, I’m not really used to that kind of drinking anymore I guess, or was it the combination of wine and wodka back to back? Anyway, I was happy I had a muesli-bar in my bag to give my stomach something to do until brunch at 12. Alexis and I got ready and by 12 we were in the Printworks to meet up with Adi, another one of my travelbuddies who came over for brunch. We sat down in a nice french-looking café with great food and it was lots of fun to catch up with Adi again. All those shared memories of traveling made us stare into the distance with glossy eyes sometimes… We all wished we were traveling (still / again)… Anyway, it was really ‘gezellig’… 🙂 Around 3.30pm we had to leave again since I had to go to the airport to fly back home. Time flies when you’re having fun!

And it was a fun four days, with lots of laughter, bringing back good old memories, and meeting new people (great people and giant people…). Me likey! Thanks for the fun time in Manchester: Alexis, Adi, Karen, Vinny, Rebecca, Charlotte, Alex, Dannielle, Hayley and Jacqueline!!


About Maaike

Besides my travelblog on, I have another website with various articles on See you on either one or both of them!
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