The weekend before last, I had a day in Birmingham. I was meant to stay longer than a day, but my time was cut short because I had a toothache. However, I made the most of my time and had a wander around the city in search for street art, sight-seeing, and shopping. Birmingham is the UK's second largest city, so there is a lot to see and do. In a day, I think I did get a good feel for the city. I've been to Birmingham before a couple of times several years ago, but I've never really explored it; I remember a trip to the Bull Ring shopping centre, but that was about it.
Th Custard Factory is in the 'trendy' and 'hipster' area of Birmingham. This area is the equivelant to London's Shoreditch. I discovered so much street art here. It's a pity this was my first stop of the day and the shops must open later on a Saturday as not much was open. There's a lot of night life in this area as well as warehouses.
On the way to The Custard Factory, I walked up Frazeley Street and caught the above view. I also discovered some old pubs, such as the one below.
After a wander around, I headed back toward the city centre and came across the wholesale market. It was buzzing on the Saturday and I noticed a real mix of people and a random assortment of items for sale from meat to fish to clothing to textiles to trinkets and a lot more.
Further on my way, I noticed and loved this green post box. I've never seen one like it.
Also, bright and early on the way from the market was this guy with his mates. I can't believe they were starting so early for their 'stag do'. I assume that is what they were doing, but I don't know how they would have made it to the afternoon as it was before lunch at this point.
I liked the signs in the middle of the centre with the street name.
I was told by my colleague who went to university in Birmingham that I should go to the canal area. So, I found myself wandering along this busy area with nice restaurants, pubs, and a nice canal walkway with a lot of canal boats. There are also museums here.
I spent a while walking up the canal.
I saw canal boat trips advertised, and I happened to arrive a couple of minutes before one of the boats was going to depart, so I hopped on. My feet needed a rest by this time anyway. The boat trip was just over an hour and it started near Gas Street and went south to where the university is located before turning around again.
I learned a short history of the canals in Birmingham and how they were constructed to ship items from this industrial area. The railroad also runs along the side of the canal, so we were told about it.
After the canal boat trip, I went and had some lunch on the other side of this rainbow bridge over the canal.
'Pickled Pig' is the name of the restaurant, and it had good reviews even though it was more expensive. It was coming up to 1:30 now, so I decided to give it a try. I had the drink and a vegetarian gnochi meal. Unfortunately, this was about the time that I really started to feel unwell with pain in my tooth. It had been bothering me all morning, but it got worse after lunch as I'd accidentally bit down the wrong way when I was chewing.
The food was very good and tasted fresh, and I loved the pudding.
I walked back into the centre of Birmingham after my wander around the canal.
A lot of redevelopment is taking place in Birmingham at the moment, and all of this is happening right in between the monuments, smack in the centre of the city.
Victoria Square is the name of the large square with a lot of sculptures and beautiful buildings around it. Anthony Gormley designed the sculpture below.
This is a sculpture of Queen Victoria.
I spent an hour walking around the Bull Ring shopping mall, but it was a little too crowded. While I waited awhile for the people in front to finishing their photo-taking with the famous bull in front of the mall, a guy decided to turn up and butt in with his kids just as everyone else disappeared, leaving me no time to quickly get a photo sans people. I waited and hoped he would be quick, but the kids didn't want their photo taken but continued to occupy the spot and climb on top of the sculpture, so I just got them in it and eventually told him he was rude after I was waiting patiently for so long for others to finish and he ran up and butted in. He continued to try to photograph his disinterested kids and then more people decided to queue up and kids run in front of and on the bull, so I had enough and headed to the train station. I was waiting for this guy for over eight minutes (yes, I did look at my watch and count), and this is the best photograph I could get, with the guy's disinterested children and wife climbing around the bull.
The constant photo-taking because everyone had a phone or device with a camera is annoying once again, but I do wish people would stop and look who else is there before seeing a 'free' opportunity and running up before someone else. There may be someone there who is waiting to get a photograph of the monument without anyone in it. Not all of is like to take 'selfies' or may be with anyone to get 'selfies' of. I was on my own, but I am not invisible and it doesn't mean I am not sight-seeing if I am on my own. Just be polite, please. I really only needed a few seconds to get a photograph, compared to your several minutes.
I hope the next time I visit that I can enjoy it more without a toothache.