“No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be” – Chuck Thompson
July is a tricky month to be doing a travel challenge, flights are super expensive, it’s the school holidays and everywhere is busy. Though if you are in England you ‘may’ experience some
hot, warm weather.
Before I started this challenge I knew the Summer months would be difficult to travel in and to be honest didn’t really have a plan. I figured I would travel somewhere in the UK (Newcastle was the initial plan), but as many of you will know train travel and accommodation here is as expensive and sometimes more than abroad. So when my good friend Farida said she would be in Milton Keynes (MK) visiting her sister and invited me to stay I jumped at the chance and tagged a visit to see my parents in Leicester onto the trip as well.
Now long story short would I recommend you visit MK, for me, no and if you don’t have a car then a big, fat NO! Did I enjoy my visit, yes, but that’s because I was hanging out with an old friend of mine, so anywhere we would have had a good time.
The problem with MK is that it reminded me of my life growing up. Stranded in suburbia where you have to walk twenty minutes to get to a park or cafe and everyone seems different to you. Don’t get me wrong we did visit some nice forests interspersed between all the gridlines and roundabouts, but if I’m honest I felt trapped here. Special mentions to Howe Park Wood for the fun forest walks and trails and Rushmere Country park for the frog sculptures.
The thing I couldn’t get my head around about MK is that there is no defined city centre, there is a shopping mall called The Centre: MK and I think that is meant to be the main area of the city, but I don’t know. As my friend and I were both strangers to the city so we couldn’t get any perspective on things.
After four days here I took the bus to Leicester to spend the weekend with my family, again not much to report here, we went out for a few meals, shout out to Bill’s for the best brunch spot in town, but generally hung out in the house catching up. Leicester is a place that despite growing up in I have very little connection or affinity with. Again I associate feeling limited and different growing up here and to be honest only visit due to my family being there.
I don’t want to give a bad impression of these places, but for me and the way I live my life they are not vibrant or satisfying enough. I had a great time visiting them as part of this challenge, but that was made by the people I was seeing not the place specifically. Someone else is likely to have a different opinion and view and that is fine. I am happy to say I have been there and visit somewhere new.
Next stop: Ibiza.