Road Trip 2.1 – Birmingham (Again)

I’ve told you about my first road trip in the UK in 2007. Now let me tell you about my second road trip, about a month later, hehehe… 😀

For this second road trip, we hit 3 places: Birmingham, Newcastle and Blackpool. Yes, Birmingham again, because me’ mates wanted to go. These three places are actually a very inefficient combination as far as road trip goes, if you start off from Liverpool. Here, let me show you the map.


They’re all basically located at different directions from Liverpool. Technically, nothing “on the way” is going on here, in fact they’re all “out of the way” from each other. But then, we were students and we were young, so the term “out of the way” did not exist in our vocabulary. This was going to be the second and last time we would be renting a car to go away on a trip, so we figured, might as well pick places that we really wanted to go no matter how far apart they seem to be. So… yeah…

Anyway, here we go…

[August 18, 2007 – Saturday]

This time, there was only one car. Five of us. We didn’t have to cover as much distance as we did in Scotland actually, but it was only going to be a two day one night road trip, so it was still pretty intense. And as before, we loaded ourselves with breads and beans and snacks and whatnot. Gotta save on the food…



Our first destination, Birmingham. Here’s my first observation: If you travel from Liverpool to Birmingham by train, it takes 2 hours. So how long does it take to drive? Well… exactly the same, 2 hours too! How cool is that?

Okay, lame… I know… let’s move on…

If it were up to me, I probably wouldn’t choose Birmingham as part of this road trip. After all, I have been here before, so if I can help it, I wanted to visit other places instead. But my mates insisted. They saw my photos of the lovely canals and the brunch on the boat, and they wanted to do the same. But they could only do it with me in tow, to serve as a tour guide. In the end I was almost bounded and gagged and thrown into the car to come here. Sort of…

Anyway, okay… Birmingham…

We parked inside Bull Ring’s car park, but we didn’t immediately explore the shopping mall first, for we were hungry. So we made our way to the canals in search of the boat restaurant. I was amazed that I still remembered the way, walking past New Street, Victoria Square, the ICC (International Convention Center), and then to the canals and the boat.

Victoria Square
Victoria Square
Outside the ICC
Voila! Arrived!

The boat restaurant is just under this bridge. And, I really love Birmingham for the canals, to be honest. That’s why I actually allowed myself to be kidnapped here without putting too much of a fight.

Time to get into the boat for our lunch
I want to show you the kitchen, not the girl. Swear…
I think you’ve see this before
This too. Oohhh Jacket Potato Skins!

Actually, my mates only wanted to come to Birmingham because of this boat restaurant. Once mission was accomplished, we were sort of at a lost of what else to do in this city. So I brought them on a tour of the canals, just like how I was brought around by my friend earlier.



And then we decided to head back to the Bull Ring to do some window shopping…

Somewhat snail shaped Costa Coffee outlet outside the Bull Ring
The customary poses with the Bull outside the Bull Ring
Inside the Bull Ring

I brought my friends to the Krispy Kreme place, because I found that they were equally amazed when I described to them how these pros do their donuts.



And I showed them Selfridges, and the kind of stuff being sold here.




Mind you, these are all edible stuff! And people actually DO buy them to eat! Makes me wonder why they accuse us Asians of eating strange food…

After that, we kind of went off to make a fool of ourselves even more…

As round as my tummy. Yeah yeah… 😐


And then we left. Time to leave Birmingham and take a long long drive to our next destination…


  1. Got potato chip some more…save on food budget, slack on nutrition 😀 Oh well, bet it all tasted good.

    I have always thought Heinz baked beans were Australian. Never been sure, though. But they are everywhere here in Australia.

    Road trips is one of the most laid-back ways to travel around, I think. Gives you the flexibility to stop wherever you like, whenever you like.

    • Oh, Heinz is most definitely American. But they’re pretty popular almost everywhere in the world. Used to be premium stuff here, now we can get them anywhere too. 🙂

  2. You were all young and adventurous. I usually don’t like long road trips with brief stays but if I were your age then, I would have enjoyed the adventure. Was it the same girl at the boat restaurant kitchen on this second trip?

  3. I am surprised to see Heinz Baked Beans! I thought that’s American brand from Pittsburgh and the English would support their own brands.
    The 2 plates of delicious meals really looked so yummy and tempting. I could eat such meals everyday!

    I must visit Birmingham!!! The canals always add some interesting charms to the town to see shops and activities lining up. My brother is in Surrey today and he also posted photos of the English canals and rivers like yours. Nice lah.

    • What exactly is English brand for baked beans? Honestly, besides Heinz, the only other brands of baked beans I ever saw were Tesco brand or brandless ones. We went for Heinz because we only recognized that brand as some premium brands back in Malaysia hahaha! 😀

  4. Well, the boat lunch isn’t much since the kitchen is so small (plus it’s something we can easily whip up at home) but eating it on a boat…now that’s a whole lot different! Yeah, I’ve seen all types of insects they put on their candies and chocolates…eww! 😀 I wonder if those are special type of ants.

    • The food was great. I mean, when you were a college student in 2007. Of course college students nowadays have better. But yeah, the main thing was the “eating in a boat”. 😀

  5. Eh your last picture looks like “fu kua kon” (black face bittergourd).. Yup, very agree when you said when we were young, “on the way” was never an issue.. “Mm soon lou” also we can arrange something.. Like when a colleague fetch us home or something, “mm soon lou” also can, janji everyone hepi.. Unlike now, if colleagues wana tumpang to LRT station or what, have to be “soon lou”, hor? I see lots of potato chips and Heinz, yummzz.. If me, I wana add on: peanut butter, canned tuna and crackers, maybe margerine too! Ok, nonsense 😛

    • Unless if it is a leng lui, then will be “soon lou” no matter what lah hahaha! No worries, if one day you somehow ended up in my car, you go where also “soon lou” one. 😉

  6. Aiya, you shouldn’t have shown them your Birmingham photos, then they wouldn’t have wanted to go there. I think canals are almost everywhere in UK and most of them have scenic surroundings. Did you see where those scorpions vodka and antlix lollipop are made?

  7. so there must be more who insisted to go Birmingham than those who insisted not to go.. nvm lah, while your memory was still fresh, be their guide!! but I wonder if you get them to buy you lunch for being their “tour guide”?? the boat lunch is kind of nice.. 🙂

    • Yeah there was. There were 5 of us, 4 insisted to go, 1 did not feel like going (me). Hahaha! 😀

      I don’t remember who paid for the lunch. We probably shared it, from the money that we pooled together…

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