Birmingham stop on the Europe a la Carte Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour

Birmingham was the first stop on the Summer 09 UK Blogging Tour. I arrived in Birmingham on the evening of Wednesday 22 July and made my way to my accommodation in the penthouse at the Staying Cool Apartments on the 20th floor of the Rotunda in the city centre. I was absolutely wowed by the views over Birmingham.

View from Staying Cool Penthouse, Birmingham

The views over Birmningham from the Staying Cool penthouse

The morning of 23 July kicked off when I met up with Jon Bounds, who took me on a two hour circular trip on the city’s number 11 bus. The no 11 route shows you almost every part of Birmingham, apart from the city centre. Jon led a project on 11 November last year 11-11-11 where a posse including artists, bloggers and photographers spent eleven hours on the number 11 bus.

View from no 11 bus, Birmingham

View from no 11 bus, Birmingham

I then made my way to the Jewellery Quarter,where I visited the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, some jewellery workshops, the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and St Pauls Church.

Showcase at Museum of Jewellery Quarter

Showcase at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Next was a whistlestop tour of the Balti Triangle, before calling in at the Art Deco Electric Cinema, the oldest working cinema in the UK, celebrating its centenary later this year. You can sip an Absinthe served from a traditional Parisian style fountain, as you sit on a leather sofa watching the best in independent and mainstream films.

The Electric, Birmingham

The Electric, Birmingham

In the evening I met up with local blogger Nicky Getgood of Digbeth is Good and Karen Strunks, photographer and blogger, for an evening tour around Digbeth taking in some street art, a canalside walk and a tour of the local bus depot.

Karen Strunks in the drivers' cab

Karen Strunks in the driver’s seat

On the morning of 24 July I visited to the National Trust Back to Backs a restored courtyard where the domestic and working lives of four families has been recreated.

Back to Backs, Birmingham

1840s house, photo taken with permission of The National Trust

I had a really enjoyable time in Birmingham. It was great to meet up with some fellow bloggers and get some local insight. I found everyone in Birmingham to be very friendly and helpful which drew me even more to the city. To me that’s a really important factor in my rating of a destination. I hate it when locals are unapproachable or obviously can’t be bothered with visitors.