Leeds day-out. 3 continents in 1 day
I don’t really need to travel to far away countries to explore and learn about various cultures, I can just go to visit people living in the same city. Here is one of my favourite day outs in Leeds where we’ll visit several different cultures.
Morning (Optional). 5 km parkrun at 9 am. In my mind, parkrun is an English thing to do. It started in 2004 in London and now spread to over 1,400 different locations in 23 countries across five continents. Usually, around 100-500 people gather in a park on Saturday morning to run 5 kilometres, cheer each other and some go for tea and a sandwich to a cafe. There are seven parkrun around Leeds city centre. Participation is free and if you register at www.parkrun.com you will get a token which you scan after a race so your time will be recorded. I still got my first parkrun time done in 2011 on their website.
India (North-West India. Punjab region)
We’ll be visiting the Sikh temple which is called Gurdwara. Sikhism is a pretty cool religion. Few interesting facts below
- Men wear turbans to protect and keep their hair clean because Sikhs don’t cut it because of religious observance.
- Hindus have strong caste (i.e. social class) system. Your surname defines your class and can’t really climb up the ladder. Sikhism saw this as a major drawback, therefore everybody has surname Singh meaning lion
- Free food is given to everybody in canteen located in Gurdwara. It is a vegetarian too.
The Middle East
Another stop just 10 minutes away be walking is Bilal Masjid mosque. There’re around 10 mosques in Leeds however the biggest in the region is in Bradford called Al-Jamia Suffa-Tul-Islam Grand Mosque. There are few interesting things inside for example washing rooms before a prayer. Muslims pray five times a day so if we get lucky we might observe Salah.
North Europe - Lithuania
(Optional) We can visit the Lithuanian community centre if any event if hosted which is always on national holidays.
Africa - Ethiopia
Time for food so we’re going to an Ethiopian restaurant. This is one of my favourite cuisines in the world and I reckon it will one day become mainstream. However, nowadays the restaurants are mainly orientated to expats from Ethiopia which is an even better way to get a priceless cultural experience. As far as I know, there are five Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants in Leeds. Prices are as low as they get in Leeds. First, we can order a typical dish and later a whole coffee ceremony including popcorns, scents and a jug freshly roasted, grounded and brewed beverage.
The day came to the end by this point and it’s a good time to head back home. Just in one day, we’ve visited several distinct cultures around the world. For me, it’s wonderful that people from different parts of the world, various cultures could happily live in one city.