Trecker’s Travels, Day Five: Bank on it

May 8th, 2013

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Photo: Getty Images

By Jamie Trecker

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Bank holiday. It’s the hottest day of the year to date in England. Shops are closed. Englishmen, and their dogs, are recumbent across the nation. There is absolutely nothing going on, and that’s exactly how this nation likes it.

I took a walk from Salford round Manchester’s city borders and back. Greater Manchester’s about 500 square miles, but the old city, bordered by two rivers – the Irwell on the west and on the east by the Medlock  — remains compact. Even an out-of-shape writer can go from Deansgate to the Rochdale Canal, then back from Great Ancoats through the Northern Quarter in a couple of hours.

Just across the river, tucked into a small neighborhood just across the river, is Castlefield, the old Roman heart of the city. A small reconstruction of the fort – which was originally made out of timber – stands on the site, dwarfed by the neighboring bridges. Some folks walked around to see it, but Castlefield is better known today for its vibrant weekend market and burgeoning bar scene. That Market starts on the edge of what once was called Mancunium in two weeks time.

Back up and over the river. The rust-colored People’s History museum stands guard nearby the Manchester Police station. Salford Central, a somewhat minor spur on the main line, sits empty and in need of a paint job. Papers blow through its gallery, awaiting someone to collect them.

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Photo: Getty Images

The crescent is full of picnickers, sitting on the banks. Across the banks a disused car yard is full of trash; opposite that Salford University has opened up a second building. Students are out at the Old Pint Pot, at the base of a long, green walkway of wrought iron.

In the distance, Salford Quays. Media City. Old Trafford. All are silent today. England’s taken a day off.

This piece is the fourth in a series of pieces sponsored by the new Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. I’m traveling across Europe this month and you should tell me where you’d like me to go and what you’d like to hear about. Tweet me at @JamieTreckerFOX or use the #heytrecker hashtag @FOXSoccer.

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