We came, saw, and sorta conquered
Daria made it up to Manchester on Wednesday. This was great and fine (we hadn't seen each other in THREE years - isn't that incredible?!)...anyway, great and fine EXCEPT 200,000 Glaswegians descended upon the city as well. Manchester hosted the UEFA Cup finals between Glasgow and Moscow. We toured the city, stuck between great architecture and massively drunken football fans (the newspapers reported that stores were running out of alcohol by 2PM, almost 6 hours before the game even started).
We were able to check out the Roman ruins, John Rylands, the Manchester Museum without too much difficulty. It was quite amusing to walk from the carnival atmosphere into the quiet.
After our sight-seeing, we tried to head off to Heaton Park - not originally a trek, but it became one once we discovered the fans had shut down the tram service within the city. After walking half-way across the city, we made it to the park, met Catherine, and enjoyed an evening of wine, talk, and fish cakes.
As Daria and I headed to Piccadilly Station to catch her train, we saw the effects of Manchester's night of booze, riot, and football. The city was completely covered in rubbish, giving off a stench of fermented food, old alcohol, and urine. There was blood stains on the streets, and sorry-looking men nursing their wounds. The video footage is something completely different; angry fans (one of the three video screens had failed) chasing and beating officers, chucking glass bottles, smashing cars. What was supposed to be a "£25 Million" windfall has most certainly become a deficit. Incredible.