Leaving the Lake District behind we continued on to Manchester, stopping off at a caravan park on the way. As we arrived after office hours, we had to search for someone to let us in. It turned out the park only had one spot left, a “deluxe pitch" they called it. All this meant was that we had our own water supply, despite a communal water tap being a mere 50 metres away. The UK already charges the highest prices for their camping spots that we have seen in all our travels, and with the deluxe fees added on top it ended up being an unjustifiably expensive stay. (In the end I had to fill our water tank using a bucket, because it cost extra to use their hose. As an added bonus it was raining too. Maybe those extra 50 metres did make a difference.)
In true English style, it rained continuously all night and the following day. Despite this, we ventured into Manchester in the morning and found a great car park in the middle of the city. Also in true English style, we were charged twice as much as a regular car, even though our campervan only took up one parking space.
On the walk to the centre we passed the Cathedral, the Manchester Wheel (which was unsurprisingly not operating) and five markets, all seemingly identical. Our favourite, though, was the one located on the centre square, as it seemed to offer every European cuisine imaginable. This, of course, meant we went on a bit of a foodie tour: Italian sweet biscuits (Danny was having cannoli withdrawals and he assured me this would help), Austrian gingerbread strudel (a little weird) and German glühwein (mulled wine). We managed to restrain ourselves from gorging on the Dutch pancakes.
To escape the rain we dropped in to the Manchester Art Gallery, housing countless styles of art over the last 500 years. We quickly skipped over the exceedingly old and the extremely recent pieces and concentrated on the late 19th to early 20th century art. Many English artists were featured, most of which we hadn't come across before, making the museum a worthwhile diversion. Once we had well and truly had our art fix, we waited for a rare break in the rain before bolting back to the van, ready to hit the road again.