Birmingham

Birmingham is the second city of the United Kingdom.  It does not have the lure of London for visitors.  Nor is it a up and coming city such as Manchester or Leeds.  The two football (soccer) teams are rubbish.  The people talk in a depressed sounding accent.  Saying all that Birmingham is my home city and I am proud of it and I would like to welcome more people to it.

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Birmingham Town Hall

There are several reasons to come and visit Birmingham.  My reasons to visit are:

  • The Canals
  • Jewellery Quarter
  • Bournville
  • The Balti Triangle
  • Heavy Metal

The Canals

The one fact that anybody from Birmingham will give you is that it has more miles of canal than Venice.  Originally built in the 18th century, canals were used to distribute goods from one area of the country to another.  It predates the railways. In Birmingham there are over 100 miles of canal that can be used. Now the canals are mainly used for leisure activities such as boating holidays.  The towpaths are used by walkers, joggers and cyclists.

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Gas Street Basin

Jewellery Quarter

This area of Birmingham is so-called as the major manufacturer of jewellery in the UK.  The industry has now declined in size however, there are still some workshop operating in the area.  Places to see are the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.  There is also the ‘Findings Trail and the Chain Bracelet Trail’ to follow. If you are feeling flushed with spare cash you can go to one of the workshops and order a piece of custom made jewellery.

Bournville

Bournville is considered to be a company village.  It was established by the Cadbury family for the workers at the nearby chocolate factory.  This was the antidote to the slum conditions that was typical of the late 19th century.  The village itself contains houses with large gardens, recreation areas and parks. There is no public house as the Cadbury family were devout quakers.

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Non too flattering view of Bournville

While in Bournville check out the Cadbury World.  This is a attraction dedicated to the story of chocolate and Cadbury.

Balti Triangle

If you are feeling hungary then head to the ‘Balti Triangle’ and try a balti curry.  The triangle covers the Sparkbrook, Sparkhill and Balsall Heath areas of Birmingham.  The balti is a curry that is served in a wok like dish known as the balti bowl.  It is best eaten with a large naan bread.  Balti restaurants as also known as ‘Balti Houses’.  Being mainly run by muslims they do not sell alcohol.  However, you are allowed to bring your own beer or wine to consume with your meal.

Heavy Metal

If the city of Birmingham cannot offer you anything else it is the home of the music genre known as Heavy Metal.  In particular Black Sabbath who originated from the Aston district of the city.  The music perfectly describes that area in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  It was run down consisted factories bellowing smoke from it chimneys and bomb sites from the Second World War.  It was the total opposite to swinging London and the hippy vibe of San Francisco.

In future posts I will be explaining these areas in more detail.

Currently reading The Lost Estate by Henri-Alain Fournier

Currently listening to Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Until the next time, stay safe, stay healthy and keep on smiling.

Steve

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