Birmingham – a city to be reckoned with

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Latest Post | 0 comments

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We left at 9:00 a.m., a bad time as it turned out because there had been a serious accident on one of the main roads and we had to take quite a long alternative route so by the time we arrived at a parking place just by the Bullring it was close on 11 o’clock. We spent most of the day sight seeing. I had been to Birmingham many years ago and I quickly realized that the city has been transformed.

Alas the City Museum and Art Gallery was closed until the new year because of structural changes that had to be made,  but apart from that there was plenty to occupy us. We had to be back to the coach by 3.15 so we had four hours 15 minutes to do as we like and this turned out not to be nearly enough though it did sound a long time when we were told. We were blessed by good weather,, clear skies, lack of wind so not a lot more you could ask for.

These images are in no particular order as they do not have to be for the story to make any sense. I will give you one tip though. There are major works for the HS2 plus more demolition and recreation work and that means that at all times there are queues on the roads that remain open so my strong recommendation is that you use public transport. Buses, trains and trams are there to serve you (Day ticket £4) and all the main points of interest are within a couple of miles or so. Comfortable walking shoes recommended.

This is a multicultural city and everyone on the surface anyway seems to get on very well. There are more restaurants of different nationalities than you can shake a stick at. Don’t worry about needing a cup of coffee, there must be about 500 establishments in Birmingham (that was a wild guess by the way but not too far off the mark).

So, off we go on our photographic tour. The first image is an extra-ordinary one. What planet are these people on? How forgettable is the URL?


This was a very entertaining event. A lorry had been pulled up for not having a net cover correctly installed for its trash. As a result, it had to move the net over manually with a result that much trash spilled over the side onto the road. A passing person came to chat to us. The driver set about clearing the road.

This was an unusual Christmas decoration. I liked it because it was not overdone and you could stand underneath the tree in the middle and experience a little bit of magic

This is New Street station and the very menacing bull centre piece which moves its head and tail and its eyes. I would not like to meet it on a dark night. I honestly don’t know why the Bullring was so called. Surely there was not much of a ‘running with the Bulls’ tradition in the UK. This is not Spain.

The Christmas Street Market in full swing. I lost count of the number of stalls

From the top floor looking down

Above – a space age library on six floors, too large to photograph without a panoramic lens.  The library holds old maps of the area. Everything easy to see.

There are viewing gardens at the top of the library and you can see some of the buildings round and about. The image below shows a big wheel and because everything else is so big it is difficult to get an image of the size of it but it is about the same size as the London Eye on the South Bank
Some movers and shakers for the development of Birmingham. if you read it, click Control Plus on your PC

We visited the IKON gallery where experimental art by the younger generation happens. I did not find much to excite me. The only real entertainment was the lift that played musical tones when you go up and down. It was an octave and designed to decrease by one obtuse where you reach the next floor. Loved it.


Back to the station. There are three levels to New Street station. The top two are the service areas and various shops. The trains are on the lower level and you can see neither the tracks nor the trains nor can you hear any noise from them

I have never in my world travels seen such an imaginative design. This is the front of station. The reflective aluminum – or is it steel – is designed to reflect what is on the ground and nearby. You have to look twice to see what you are seeing. I have to give this 11 out of 10

And yes there was a price to pay, many thousands died and remembered to this day.
Markets are on a big scale. These are 6 or 7 large stalls all selling roughly similar vegetables. I hope they all make a living

This is the inside of the Bull Ring, as smart a centre as you will find in the UK. Having said that I have not visited all of them. The individual name stores are huge. It is on three levels plus a car park underneath. Allow yourself an hour or so to even get round it.

We reassembled at 3:15 but I must say it is not easy to find a place ‘south of the Bullring’  because the Bullring is so large, but we all made it except Andrew, about whom I have written who was 20 minutes late. Take my tip folks do not be late; you do not want to make yourself unpopular with other travelers.

It took us the best part of two hours to return to base by which time it was completely dark. Parts of the hotel are cold and drafty. I dread to think what it would be like if the wind really blew. Anyway, a very good day.

 

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