On Saturday the Leeds Global Community (for international students), provided discounted bus tickets to Liverpool of the day. I made the trudge early that morning to Parkinson Steps, one of the central meeting places on campus. The bus was only about an hour and half, and I would have enjoyed watching the scenery on the way, but I was still pretty cofee-deprived at this point so I ended up falling asleep for a bit. On the bus I met some other Americans and decided the tag along with them around Liverpool.
When we got their the sun was out and on full blast! It was the first time I needed my sunglasses. It was über windy, per usual, but I couldn’t complain. Still better than the awful Wisconsin winters. One does not simply go to Liverpool without doing all the Beatles shit, so the first stop after a coffee run was The Beatles Story, the only permanent Beatles museum in the world (apparently).
The museum: SO. COOL. I’m a total Beatles bandaid, so I was geekin’ out the whole time. It was very well-done. It went through the complete history of the boys and went into a lot of details that people don’t think about, like the original members that left the band, the manager, label producer, etc. I loved loved loved the replicated buildings and such – like the Cavern Club where they used to play (see video, see Sarah be a dork) and recording studios. UGH SO GOOD. Everything. One particular room that gave me feels (almost cried, not gonna lie) was a John Lennon “Imagine” room. It was completely white, a white piano stood in the room with a pair of John’s glasses and a photo where “Imagine” was on repeat in the background. #feels. #allofthem.
The town: After the Beatles Story we hit the town. We headed to the Cavern Quarter on Matthew Street, where it all began. To get there we walked through the main shopping center (England seems to be obsessed with outdoor malls). It gave a similar vibe to Leed’s shopping center, but a little more modern. Complete with a lady playing “Let It Go” on the flute, I was enchanted. I felt very safe too, which is a feeling I don’t always have in Leeds. It was a very clean and pretty city.
The Cavern Quarter was awesome. We went to the Cavern Club, or at least the replica built in 1984. The original structure that housed the Beatles in their early years was torn down in 1973 to build an underground rail, but it was rebuilt with some of the original bricks and floorpan. It was seriously so sick. When you enter, you go down a few spiraled flights of stairs underground. I could instantly picture it in the 1960s when the Beatles played their. While it attracts many tourists, the music warehouse still features live music every day of the week, and there was a guy performing when we were there. It was full of a combination of tourists as well as groups of locals just out getting a pint on their lunch break.
We went to The Grapes Tavern for lunch, the pub where the Beatles used to grab a drink before or after their shows (the Cavern didn’t serve alcohol at the time). It wasn’t busy at all, we seemed to be the only tourists there. We walked in and immediately sat down at the table where coincidently the Beatles sat years ago. There was a picture on the wall to prove it, haha (the plaque on the wall read “This photograph was taken here –>”). Again, SO. COOL. So there we sat, ordered a pint and fish and chips and sat where the Beatles chilled. What is life.
Following that we just sort of ventured the rest of the day, walked through Chinatown (apparently the largest Chinatown in Europe) and went to the Liverpool Cathedral. The building itself was breathtaking, and again, is apparently the largest cathedral in Europe (way to go Liverpool). It took 74 years to build between 1904 and 1978. The architect died before it was finished. It really was beautiful, and there was even a service going on when we got there. The choir was something out of this world, I recorded some of it so hopefully I can get that posted too. The only thing that irked me about the whole thing was that there was a cafe and gift shop right their in the church. There’s just something a little off about buying a refrigerator magnet, postcards and a latte while people are worshipping God….
When we walked back to the bus we stopped back at Albert Dock to look at the cheesy souvenir shops – at which point I excitedly exclaimed to my friends, “Let’s go look at all the cheesy British souvenir shops!” A group of local children burst out laughing at my very Wisconsin accent, to which I replied “Are you laughing at me?!” slightly flabbergasted. Yep. Yep they were. Bite me. Damn youths.
We got on the buses and I reflected on the amazing day. I see you, Liverpool. I see you. You very much exceeded my expectations. I am charmed. Would recommend.
The subdub adventure that followed my Liverpool day is featured in a another post, so check that out.