A Tourist in Coventry

So I’ve been back in the ‘Kong two weeks and nothing too exciting to write about has happened yet because of jet lag, work etc.  So I thought, why not do a travel piece on the old stomping ground of Cov?  There’s lots to do there to keep you amused for  few days, and I think you might be pleasantly surprised…!  So here’s some places I swung by during my trip back home.

This post was originally also going to include places to eat and drink but the post was already really long….  Maybe that will be next week’s post, ha.

Things to see & do

Coventry Cathedral, Priory Street:  I have such fond memories of this place, we did an amazing school trip here learning about the history of the city, we watched a famous French tightrope walker walk across the ruins on Millennium New Year and my mum organised a Knitathon here for comic relief trying to break the World Record for the most amount of people knitting together in a room!

Cov Cathedral

The ‘new’ Cathedral (opened in 1962) sits next to the original which remains in ruins after being bombed during World War II.  Go in and take a look around, you really will be amazed by the art and architecture of this glorious building.   Designed by Sir Basil Spence, the building compliments one of the city’s iconic themes, that of peace and reconciliation. Take some time to drop by the old ruins and climb up one of the city’s famous Three Spires and take in the glorious view.  Admission is free for those wishing to pray, otherwise a standard adult tickets costs £6.

NOTE:  Go via The Rising Cafe for tea and cake afterwards – I cannot rate this place enough, reasonably priced warming food for them UK bad weather days (of which there are lots!).

Herbert Art Museum, Jordan Well:  To be honest, I didn’t really know this place all that well growing up.  It had always been around, I think, but I only really started dropping by in the last few years.  When I was back last, we took a look at the history of Coventry exhibit – highlights included spotting my old school uniform in the 90s area, and dressing up in chainmail!  We were also fortunate to see The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition whilst we were there which was amazing.  The young photographer sections were particularly compelling – it’s on until the start of April so there’s still time to see it!  Admission is free!

Theatre Absolute AKA Shop Front Theatre:  I had no idea what my mum and sister were talking about they described this to me, what I had in my head was people performing in a shop window and people standing outside to watch.  But no, this small theatre company performs in an old shop in coventry Arcade which used to be a fish and chip shop restaurant!

I went to see TRAUM, a story about migration told through the medium of breakdance.  to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was completely enthralled and didn’t expect the performance to stir quite so much emotion in me.  We were also lucky enough to attend a Q&A at the end with the script writer and the two performers, both migrants themselves.  What’s more tickets were only £8.

IMG_0780

Three minute Heroes

Coventry Music Museum, Walsgrave Road:   

Mum took me here on a
surprise visit for our morning out together – I was expecting to go shopping but this was much better!  A very small indie museum, run entirely by volunteers, this is the place to go if you are a music fan.  The museum’s key theme is the multiculturalism within the local music scene – 2-tone, ska, bhangra, rock, electronica and pop it’s all here.  The main focus is the 2-tone and ska music, which isn’t surprising considering the more famous bands to have been born out of the city like The Specials and The Selecter.  Be sure to visit the 2-tone village after, there’s a cafe that does a mean goat curry (so I’m told), a vinyl and memorabilia shop.  Admission is £3.

Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street:  I’ve only dropped by here a couple of times, but when i have it has been marvellous (and a little dent in the wallet because of all the beautiful vintage things i end up buying!).  This is creative space with cafes, studios and pop up shops with food and drink events happening on the weekend.  When I last went, a lot of it was closed, being a rainy Monday and all, but my cooler and trendier little sister says this place has lots of fun events happening.  So visit their website before heading here.

Coombe Abbey:  Head here for the great outdoors – fabulous walks, local nature trails and the reason I was there, for a bit of afternoon tea in the fancy old hotel!

IMG_0604.JPG

Nan and Nicole enjoying their treats!

There’s lots of other places to visit I haven’t mentioned like the Coventry Transport Museum, The Belgrade and Criterion Theatres, the Police Museum which also deserve a notable mention.  Maybe these are the places i’ll head to next time I’m back in Blighty.

 

Advertisements

Back Home?

Been off the map again for a couple weeks having a really wonderful and overdue trip back ‘home’ to the UK.  I really enjoyed being in blighty, relaxing with family, catching up with friends and all the usual shenanigans.  It’s true what a lot of expats say though, it’s difficult to figure out where you really feel at home after your time away.  And anyway, what really is home?  And if you lived in what feels like your home again would it even be the same?  Probably not.  Well yes, but in a different way.

IMG_0776

The Malatesta Posse

Whilst I was back in the UK I was in love with the idea of finishing up our time in HK asap.  When we spent a long weekend in London I thought about what it would be like to return to our flat in Islington.  Beautiful was the first thought – I marveled at the variety of architecture, the different crowds of people on the streets and yearned to be cycling around it all once again. Expensive was the second thought.  I still have no idea how much I spent, but it was certainly a pretty penny.  How do people get by?  Well they don’t always I know…

I was also surprised at just how on edge I was wandering around.  I take for it for granted in Hong Kong how safe I feel.  I don’t have to clutch my bag tight against me whilst wandering around in HK, I don’t fear the walk from the tube station back to my house in the dark and I hardly ever witness any aggressive behaviour that can put you on red alert during a night out.   London is without a doubt, a really fun place to be, but I’m not sure how quickly I would be able to settle back in there and would it feel like going backwards in time, not having moved forward?  Would we miss the excitement of living abroad?  Where would all our old friends be – still around, or moving onto different stages of their lives?  Questions that you can’t really answer until you make the move.

So then we started thinking, what about returning to the UK but not living in London.  Remaining close to family and friends in Coventry, but within commuting distance to he bright lights of the Big Smoke?  I guess as you get older and think about the future it’s nice to have your original home comforts close at hand.  I did really enjoy going back to Coventry (honestly its not as bad as people make out!), the city has had quite a lot of investment over the past few years owing to the growing popularity of the universities there.  But I was only there for just over a week, in holiday mode, beaming with the joy of being back in my old stomping ground and the simplicity of everything.  The great thing about being in my home town was the people, and being so close to London and other places we enjoy spending time in.  Could I live in Cov, or close by long-term?  I think I could for awhile but, we would at some point, inevitably get itchy feet and feel like trying something new and different once again.

Then to Hong Kong.  Why did I feel such dread about returning?  Our life here is so good in many respects – we get to go on amazing holidays, have good jobs, lots of good friends and an excellent social life.  Within about 48 hours of being back I remembered the value of all that, and was actually quite glad we hadn’t made some romantic hasty decision to stay before boarding our flight home. I am really happy here, I just wish that the UK wasn’t an expensive and long 12 hours plus flight away.  But then, if it was it probably wouldn’t be the same.

And what I think I’ve learned, or what I’m trying to say is (in some sort of rambling way), that my home isn’t about the place, but the people.  So I don’t think I will ever see HK as my actual ‘home’, because some of my nearest and dearest are just so far away.  But Hong Kong has a very special place in my heart, and is for now, my adopted home for the foreseeable future.  And who knows where we’ll be in five years time?  I like not knowing, it makes life a bit more unexpected 🙂