This weekend I visited Birmingham. For my British Life and Culture class I have chosen to write a paper about Cadbury Chocolate. The company was founded in Birmingham, and I wanted to visit Cadbury world to see if they had any additional information that I wouldn’t be able to find online.
I got out of bed at 4:00am, got ready, and caught a 5:51am train. I arrived in Birmingham at 9:00 and made it to Cadbury world by bus at 9:30 for my tour. Upon scanning my ticket, I was given several free bars of chocolate. Some parts of the experience were clearly aimed towards young children, but other parts were suited for all ages. I spoke with some of the workers about my research paper, and they were all fascinated with me being American. Most of them would say right away, something along the lines of “Your accent is so thick!” which I found funny. One worker in particular at the chocolate tempering station was excited to talk to me, and decided to show off some tricks using melted chocolate and a spatula.
There was a large section of the tour which included information on walls about the company’s history. I took pictures of the text and will definitely be citing it in my paper. After leaving Cadbury world, I headed to the Jewelry Quarter. Birmingham is known for its jewelers. I spent about an hour looking through shops and was able to conclude that jewelry is, in fact, too expensive for me to buy. While walking back to the city center, I took in my new surroundings. Birmingham had canals, and most buildings I saw were made with bright red bricks. It was quite scenic.
Finally, I visited Bullring and Grand Central, which is an enormous mall located in the city center. After walking in, I noticed people were congregating around something. Suddenly there were loud crashes and drum beats! I finally figured out that the Lunar New year was being celebrated, and there were people dancing in a Chinese dragon costume. It was really fun to follow the crowd around the mall.
After the celebrations settled down, I browsed around shops. For dinner I came across a restaurant in the food court that labeled itself as “Real Californian Burritos!” which I found funny, because as far as I know Americans think of burritos as Mexican food, not Californian. I decided to eat there and it was basically Qdoba, but not quite as good. It still hit the spot though!
I caught a 7:00pm train back home, but part way through my journey I looked online and saw that one of my connecting trains was canceled. I was able to talk to some staff on the train, and they helped me plan a new route home. I finally made it back to my dorm at 10:30pm, and basically collapsed on the bed. It is a bit straining to wake up early and get home late for trips, but I think it’s worth it for the vastly cheaper ticket prices!
(Pictures: Walking along a canal in Birmingham, Cadbury World World War Rations)