267. Chester – An introduction.

So often, we question when things don’t go our way. We fret, we throw tantrums, we dwell in misery. Ah but yet. The wisdom in the matter is this: everything happens for a reason. We just have to do our duty, do what’s right, then leave everything to God.

I’m supposed to be in Bangkok now, on a holiday trip with a friend before I head to Mauritius. We were so excited, planning to shop till we drop and eat all the banana nutella pancakes humanly possible. But an opportunity I could not resist cropped up and we had to reschedule the trip. Looking at the situation in Bangkok now, I’m glad we didn’t make it. (Sending lots of love and prayers to all my friends in Bangkok!)

Now really is time for me to stop dragging my feet to move on post-SeekingSpain. I just realised how long it’s been since I’ve written a travel-related post, woops! So here goes!

I travelled to Chester about 2 weeks after I got back to Manchester. I had the sense that time was passing way faster than I cared for, and there was still so much to discover! Chester isn’t really a common travel destination for Singaporeans (or Asians, for that matter. I didn’t bump into any other non-caucasians on my day trip there!) but I loved it!

travellingChester is located about an hour’s bus ride away from Manchester, just southwest of Liverpool. It’s a city in Cheshire (think: Cheshire cat, hehe), and is known for its black-and-white architecture, the Chester Rows, and the Roman walls surrounding the city.

I arrived early into Chester, when the shops were barely open. That wasn’t an issue cos I was so fascinated by the buildings!

Much of the architecture of central Chester looks medieval and but most of it, including most of the black-and-white buildings, is Victorian. Being such a history geek, I was just happy to immerse myself in the feeling of datedness and untold stories. I remember walking around Chester, feeling like I’ve been transported back in time!

I walked through The Rows, what is said to the oldest shopping arcade in Britain. It was built between 1200 and 1350, and consists of buildings with shops or dwellings on the lowest two floors. The shops on the ground floor are often lower than the street and are entered by steps, which sometimes lead to a crypt-like vault.

Something interesting I found out while walking around:

Did you know that this clock right here, named the Eastgate Clock, is reputed to be the second most photographed clock in England after the Big Ben? It stands on the site of the original entrance to the Roman fortress guarding the city.

Hey, based on the number of times I personally took pictures of the clock, I can imagine how it’s photographed nearly as much as the Big Ben! 😛

Just as I was engrossed with admiring the clock, the skies started to clear. Beautiful, mashaAllah!

Before I end this first entry on Chester (yes, there will be more!), let me share with you something interesting that happened to me in Chester:

I was sitting by River Dee, absorbed in my thoughts as I journalled. I’ve a habit of shutting out everything when I journal, of turning inwards as I pour my thoughts onto paper. Disclaimer: Not exactly the best/safest habit to have when I journal outside but hey, it’s alright.

At one point, I was vaguely aware of someone walking past me and sitting down next to me. I thought s/he was just enjoying the river like I was, until I heard, “So you’re keeping a diary aye? Not many do that anymore.”

Looked up to see one of the sincerest smiles I’ve seen in a while. This man started talking like he’s known me for ages. We eventually got into a very nice conversation once he realised I speak English fluently.

Dave was born and raised in Chester but has been to many places all over thanks to his job. He’d just came back from an 18months stint in China and was even in Singapore for the Grand Prix in 2012! He shared with me his philosophy of going places, meeting people and taking chances. I bet starting the conversation with me was him taking a chance, or well… I don’t really know what his intentions were (I take it that whatever his intention was it’s good and pure. 😛 ). Whatever it is, I’m glad it happened for I had a good 20 minutes of conversing with someone on an otherwise solo trip.

I don’t think I’ll ever meet him again (we didn’t exchange contact information or anything) but it was just really nice to have someone come up to me and strike up a mindful conversation. In Chester too, out of all places! I love interacting with people, especially with people who look beyond the hijab. ♥

Life sure has a funny way of putting people into your path, y’know.

I’m excited to find out what life has in store for me.

Till next time, with lots of love,

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