A city love affair

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As many of you Β know, I used to live in Chester. Chester is a beautiful city in the North West, and it’s the first place I lived entirely on my own without my family or any of the people that I grew up with all of my life. I lived in a tiny room in a old fashioned block of flats, and my friends lived directly across the road. Things like not being able to drive weren’t an issue as shops were a ten minute walk away, and as I lived on campus, it was literally a two minute walk to lectures. For that year, my friends became like a family to me. I think that because of that, Chester always feels like home to me in a way that I’m not always convinced Manchester does.

Although I class myself as living in Manchester, where I actually live is Sale, a small town in the suburbs which is technically in Cheshire. Where I live is very leafy and green, and it does feel more like home to me now than it did a year ago. It helps that Rich is here and that my family aren’t too far away, and I do feel as if I’m putting down more roots now that I have a part time job in the city. But then the other day, I caught the train down to Chester for a night out with some of my friends who live there. And I got that feeling as I were going home, as if I still lived there.

Although I’ve accepted that Manchester is my current home, and I’m happy with living there, I guess a part of me will always love Chester. It has beautiful sunsets, it’s where I met my boyfriend, and it’s somewhere that for a short while really made me happy. What I’ve got to remember is that life goes on, and that Manchester is somewhere that opens up a wealth of opportunities in a way that Chester didn’t. I have a lovely flat with Rich, I get to live the cosmopolitan city lifestyle, and I’m closer to my family and hometown.

I think I need to remember that whenever I do travel down to Chester for uni, which I currently do three times a week, although Chester is no longer my home, it’s still there for me when I want it. It was a stepping stone into my current life, and in the same way that my memories are always within reach, so is my favourite city.

Do any of you feel like this about a city? Let me know.

Beth xx

The City

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It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers, Β it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

VENICE- THE CITY THAT TIME FORGOT

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I recently travelled to the city of Venice, crested as one of the most romantic and breathtaking cities in the world. Venice is situated in the North East of Italy and is made up of one hundred small islands in the middle of a lagoon.Β Its most popular attractions include St Marks Square, the Basilica, the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal which winds its way through the main island.

Upon arriving in Venice, after travelling across the Β lagoon on a small boat, seeing as the only transport to the island is boats, due to the fact that there are no roads, we were met with a city guide, who was to take us on a tour around the city showing us its hidden gems alongside all of the famous sites that you expect to see in Venice. To do this, he decided to show us what he called the ‘real Venice’, which consisted of a walk around the dark backstreets which winded and turned in what felt like every direction. After arriving at midday in the baking heat, the backstreets were a welcoming oasis of shade and serenity after the business of the landing port on the front facing side of the island where the boat dropped us off. It was quiet, alarmingly quiet, however charming at the same time, as we meandered around the small alley walls, discovering a treasure strove of tiny shops selling everything from deliciously expensive leather handbags to tacky souvenirs. Upon this walk, I noticed the deterioration of some of the buildings which seemed to tower over the tiny walkways, the sun kissed walls starting to tarnish, starting to grime with the dirt of the city, and windowpanes seeming to be clouded by a dust of a time long since passed. And this was when the tour guide told us the sad truth about this beautiful and unique timely city- Venice was becoming a museum. Over recent years, more and more of the Venetians have moved away from what was once a paradise for the rich. We were told of how the workers lived on the islands nearby, or from towns on the edge of the lagoon, where it was cheaper and a higher quality of life was available. Away from Venice there was more to do for the young people, higher paid jobs, and larger houses with gardens for family.

As dusk started to fall over the city, the sky became streaked with a kaleidoscope of orange and pink and the waters of the Grand Canal became still, nostalgic for the earlier paths of the gondolas and watertaxis, which provided such pleasure for the tourists who visited in the day and left Venice untouched by nightfall. The old opera house sleeps in the slumbers of the city’s labyrinths, whilst the Rialto bridge stands proud over the canal, remembering days of when it was used by the locals both day and night.

It seems that once the old generations of Venetians fade, so will the city, which will leave in its wake, a museum of memories of what once was.