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A Precious Stone Set In The Silver Sea

Discover the UK

It rained last weekend. It was pouring harder than a Boston based bartender on St. Patrick’s Day, and the clouds showed no sign of letting up. Tired of being trapped inside, I braved my way to a local brewpub here in Portland, Maine. I was working on my second pint of ale, when a strong gust of wind tore through the establishment. The air was cold, as was the hand I felt placed on my shoulder. When I turned from my seat, I saw that it was my old longtime traveling companion W. Phillips. I smiled as I greeted him.
“Hurrah, Phillips, what brings you here?”
“Hans Ericsson, you are a scoundrel!” His glare was piercing; like a needle through teenage earlobe at the mall.
“Scoundrel?” I thought of the many things I have done to warrant such a name. “I should think that I do my best to avoid such a title.  What reason have you for such obscenities?”
“I’ve been reading your blog, and in all your writings, you have never once mentioned my homeland, her royal majesties country of England!” With that he fled through the door and into the night.
I was left dumbfounded. How could I have missed such an opportunity to write about one of my favorite destinations? I could write all day about the UK, but I have narrowed down this entry to the top 5 places I would recommend visiting. In no particular order I present to you my favorite cities in the UK.

If you go to the UK, you must see London. There’s no reason not to. You’re most likely flying into Heathrow, so stay a couple of days and walk around a bit. The public transportation is ample, but it can get crowded, so you may want to think about a car rental in London if you are leaving the city limits. If not, grab your umbrella and see famous sights such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. London is also hosting the Olympic Games in 2012, so the city is already preparing, by cleaning the streets and painting old buildings, as well as updating transportation. If you are a fan of American football, you can see the San Diego Chargers take on the New Orleans Saints at the world famous Wembley Stadium on October 26th. Let’s face it; you don’t need convincing to come to London. It’s a world class city with world class people, and you will find whatever you need in this global epicenter.

A car rental in Birmingham is a good Idea, as the city has so much to offer. For fans of art, there are many galleries to keep you busy all day, museums showcasing the some of England’s finest artists, sculptures, and historical landmarks. Birmingham has over 8,000 acres of parkland, which you will find ample space for picnics, walks or just general relaxation. For eating, the city is home to many restaurants, pubs and bars. This goes hand in hand with the music scene. After dinner you have a large variety of places to go for entertainment, and there is lot’s of it. Although Birmingham is considered the birthplace of heavy metal, the city has very active jazz, rock, blues, and hip hop music scenes. Did I mention the money that the city has spent revamping old theaters and stages for classical music, ballets, and operas? Without a doubt, Birmingham is worthy of praise and thanks, for putting so much effort into the music and art scene.

Manchester is a very fun place to visit. There is a lot to do for many kinds of people, but it has a smaller feel to it. It kind of reminds me of Boston in this respect.  A car rental in Manchester can get you to where you need to be. A great sports city, you are lucky if you can get a ticket to any of the major sporting events held there as the fans are die hard. The Manchester Evening News Arena is the busiest indoor arena in the world, so there is no shortage of international music acts. There are many restaurants, pubs and bars (which I notice is a common theme in England). During the day, Manchester has several museums worth seeing, as well as scattered parks throughout the city.

Edinburgh attracts a million tourists per year, and it really is not hard to understand why. No place really blends ancient culture with modern culture like Edinburgh. For example, you can go to a club for live music, in a castle that is over 500 years old. It’s a pretty neat experience. Nearby Arthur’s Seat offers a great place to relax while viewing the city. Fantastic food is available everywhere, and there are (surprise) ample pubs to keep you jolly. You can check out Scottish parliament, the building not the funk tribute, or have a nice walk on the Water of Leith, and enjoy the sound of the rushing river. It’s hard to describe the magic that makes me love this city.  A rental car in Edinburgh is a great way to see more of what the area has to offer.

Glasgow will welcome you, and you will like it. How could you not like a city that keeps an orange traffic cone on the head of the statue of the Duke of Wellington? Glasgow is home to many museums, theaters, restaurants, pubs and bars, but this city seems to have a sense of humor that I haven’t found anywhere else in the UK. The light hearted spirit of the individuals who make up this cities population make this destination one of my favorite in the UK. The architecture of the city is impressive. Buildings like the Armadillo, Buchanan Street, Clyde Arch and the Mitchell Library are just some of the examples of structures that make this city unique.

A car rental in the UK will help you get to all of these cities, and give you the freedom you deserve to see more of the sights.

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