As I sit at the counter of my wonderful Manx relatives, trying not to fall from my seat laughing at a Robin Williams skit, and fumbling at the idea of writing a blog on a computer, with a genuinely functional internet connection; I find myself musing at the experiences of travel thus far. It’s been a wild and exhilarating time, but what sticks in my mind most clearly in my mind (ironically, now that I’m in a completely different part of the commonwealth) is that of the medieval city of Lancaster which, coincidentally, happens to be very city in which I was born.
I believe it goes without saying really that stepping out of the train station/airport/seaport onto the streets of the very place, populated by the very people, from whence you hail, to know this without a doubt, but to not recognize a single bit of it, is a rather peculiar sensation. Now I have no intention of painting some kind of a tragic picture of an adult returning to his childhood home to find it so changed that he no longer knows it. Much of the city stands unchanged from when we left it twenty years ago (with me being no more than a year old at the time), much to the joy of both my parents and their longtime friends who still reside there.
As for myself, I found the bizarre layout and Hutong-esque alleyways and markets wonderfully enthralling (and interestingly reminiscent of a few old areas in Beijing). Lancaster may feel rather large in its winding manner and confusing network of central streets and lanes, and yet it is a surprisingly small city (pop.50,000 give or take) and its circumference can, as we discovered, be walked around in a matter of a few hours (for those who fancy having sore feet). It is a city with many centuries under its belt (being first settled as a roman fort in the 1st century C.E.), many pubs that serve great food and drink, beautiful views, and endlessly interesting people. It is certainly somewhere I would be happy to spend a good, long, time.