July 29 – Day 3.
We spent the morning touring Chester, England.
We shopped inside the walled city. Well, as much “shopping” as you can do with 3 sometimes 4, 11 year old boys in tow…one mom was looking for boots. Really though, we just window shopped. We stopped to look at the store windows, and watched the town crier make fun of Americans…something like, “the Romans brought the walls the Greek brought the theater…and the Americans brought…McDonalds” yeah we get it – fat Americans, McDonalds, ha ha!
One way to keep them – “contained”.
We walked on the wall. It was a little drizzly that morning and the wall was a little slippery, but we all made it with only 1 slight stumble.
We visited the Chester Cathedral…built with legos. The cathedral had a portion sectioned off for a Lego transportation exhibit. They were in the process of building a Lego replica of the cathedral, the boys then were able to (for a fee) add a Lego brick to the replica.
A quick lunch ay Pret-a-Manger, (we stopped here a few times – it’s like the Panera of England) the boys were only mildly embarrassing, and they served Diet Coke. It was here that Cohen’s strange eating habits were most noticeable…
After lunch here wasn’t too much time left for touring. We tried to make it to see the Castle on the other side of the town and got slightly turned around. We ended up finding the gate – only to see that it was only open to groups with reservations. It was at this time, when nothing was around – far from the shops, that Cohen decided he had a bathroom emergency. So I took him into a traditional English Pub for the first time.
Our tour guide John wanted us to be punctual (always) – so we ran/jogged back to the bus…even with a quick bathroom stop near the TK Max (England’s version of TJ Max) for everyone who didn’t have to go at the pub, we sill weren’t the last ones on.
Since we were so good about being on time…well, most of us. We had time for a quick run to see Manchester City Stadium, no tour, but a quick look at the stadium and a run into the gift shop…of course!
Off we headed to our special training session with Manchester’s coaches. This training wasn’t in the best of areas and we as parents were advised not to venture off too far…so we hung around and watched, from the other side of the fence. The boys learned new (some times confusing) drills and worked really hard with the coach there. I wish I had video of the boys trying to figure out the drills.
July 30 – Day 4, Leaving Leigh and heading to London
This was the day of our second friendly game. The game was in Coventry and the team was called Coventry Sphinxes. It was earlier in the morning and the boys wore their white jerseys. The boys didn’t win this one, not sure if it was the early start to the day…the long drive in the bus to get to the game…or the “new” kid that had just started playing with the opposing team (boy was he fast!!), but they weren’t able to pull off a win. Coach Mike decided it was the white jerseys that were bad luck, and they wore the red for the remainder of the games.
Another group shot – I am sure Cohen eye rolled, and thought I set this up!
The opposing team treated us to a lunch in the clubhouse near the field. The boys ate and played more soccer in the back – while the parents mingled.
After lunch we headed to see a professional game. We saw Aston Villa vs Middleborough. We were told that games weren’t like American sporting events – that no concessions would be brought into the stands and sold. They told us that it was frowned upon to get up (and disturb the row) to go to the bathroom or get food during the match, and that we should wait until ½ time to do so. While our group was polite and waited until half time – the people sitting near us (other American soccer clubs) did not get the same memo and were up and down most of the game. They were apparently on to something because by the time our group got to the front of the concession line (during ½ time), they had run out of most of the food. We were left with French fries…good thing I always keep snacks in my purse.
When the game was over, we boarded the bus – and headed to London, for more adventure.