Why I was so impressed by Birmingham

I’d never been to Birmingham before my visit on the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour. To be quite honest I didn’t know much about Birmingham (affectionately known as Brum) beyond having heard of The Bullring and Spaghetti Junction.

Birmingham city centre

Birmingham city centre

Well if there’s one thing that makes a city, it’s the residents and I have to say that every Brummie I encountered couldn’t have been more helpful and friendly. Often when you approach strangers to ask for assistance, their reaction is one of a combination of fear, suspicion and closed body language but that wasn’t the case in Brum, quite the opposite.

When I arrived at Birmingham Airport on the bmibaby flight from Edinburgh, I had trouble locating the Air Link, which wasn’t very clearly signed. When I finally got there, it looked as though I’d merely reached the end of a corridor with nowhere to purchase a ticket or board a train. One of the bmibaby crew from my flight was the only other person standing there. I approached him with some trepidation, thinking he’ll be hacked off at being asked more questions as soon as he’d finished his shift. Well no, he was charming and chatty, explaining that the Air Link is merely an unmanned shuttle to the rail staion.

Birmingham Airport Air Link

Birmingham Airport Air Link by gavinandrewstewart

On reaching the rail station proper I went to purchase my rail ticket into the city centre, I asked if I should buy a single or return ticket, omiting to say my destination. Well instead of being snappy, the lady at the ticket window very politely asked my destination.

On arrival at New Street station I exited the station by a different exit than the one from which my directions to the Staying Cool Apartments had been given and was soon lost. I stopped a guy walking past and he happily gave me clear directions.

On my final day when I got lost on my way to Back to Backs, a National Trust reconstruction of city life in the past, I’d to ask for directions twice. Both the guys I asked came toward me when I said excuse me with open body language and were very pleasantt, giving the impression that they were happy to help.

On my return rail trip to Birmingham airport, I was assisted with my luggage both on and off the train.

Brumies, I award you top marks for politeness, helpfulness and openess, it’s such a positive influence on a visitor’s impression of a city.