Hi all! So I’ve resided home for the Easter holidays, in the wonderful metropolitan trash land of Birmingham. Before you wonder, no, I was not born there, therefore did not get the chance to acquire the god-awful accent (that many like to over-exaggerate to the point of wanting to rip my ears off).
I must admit, ever since moving to Swansea there’s not once I’ve missed the city – well, except for the bigger array of shops and restaurants. Of course I missed my family and friends back home, but never actually being in Birmingham, as feelings of hostility were always a key component of ‘fitting in’ (and making sure no one mugs you). However, when passing through Birmingham on my way to conference (see last weeks blog post), I felt quite excited to go back to the city I hated so much throughout my life. When talking about how I felt to a friend, he suggested that the stress of uni may have seen how much going back home is needed for relaxing my mind and spending time with my loved ones. This change in heart also made me think about how much I take for granted here, and how great this county can be.
Here are a few of my favourite things about the West Midlands (some of which I used to hate before!):
1. Grand Central Station – or still mostly known as Birmingham New Street:
I remember this station being the bane of my life in college, as I got two trains just to get there in the first instance. That was made worse by many trains on this service running awfully late or being cancelled at the first look of bad weather. Also, the look of New Street before any renovations, as said by one of my friends, resembled an industrial dungeon.
However, after the massive 5-6 year project of completely changing the look (and name) of New Street, the place looks astounding. It makes travelling back home a lot more desirable for a start, and the many shops around the station makes it feel like a new-age St Pancras International. Overall, the aesthetic of the station makes it worthwhile to visit (even though the trains still aren’t always on time)!
2. The more rural/outskirt areas of the West Mids:
Most regard the West Midlands as ‘Birmingham and…err…the other bits’. However, contrary to popular belief there are outlying gems that are overlooked. A nice example of this was going out to Dorridge the other day to catch up with a friend. I always used to get the train line terminating at Dorridge when I was at college, vowing that one day I’d visit the village purely due to my curiosity of always hearing it on the train, but never being there to witness it. When finally visiting it, it didn’t even seem like I was still in my hectic county, as the village was so contrasting compared to the busy city that I’m used to. Nonetheless, it was lovely, and so cute! I highly recommend going out of the town centre and suburbs if you want to escape the boisterous lifestyle.
3. Brindley Place:
Although on the edge of Birmingham Town Centre, it is still my favourite part of going into town. Filled with restaurants, cafés and bars (food and drink are passions of mine, of course) with the excellent view of Birmingham Canal, it’s the perfect place for unwinding after shopping – that is if you have the money to splash out on restaurants afterwards! But, even if you don’t have the funds to eat/drink out, just taking a stroll down the canal is enough, at least for me, to think that where I live isn’t that bad all of the time…
Now that this is done, it’s time for me to devour my Easter Eggs (thank you Jesus). x