Monday, September 22, 2008

Back from Beatlemania!

This weekend I took off to Liverpool to be an annoying tourist and check out the Beatles' history. Definitely a worthwhile trip. The first day I was there I went to the Liverpool Cathedral/St. James Gardens. The Cathedral tower is so high that you can see Wales from it. I did not have a chance to go up in it because it had already closed for the day when I got there at 4pm. I also wandered around the University of Liverpool. It was like a much bigger version of the University of Rochester. It had lots of brick buildings and pretty greens but was also right in the heart of the City. I got a map of the popular Beatles sites and started walking. I decided I have going to try to do the sites in the residential area first since they were further away from everything. It turned out that my map and the directions I got were not very good and I only made it to two of the five sites I was trying to I get to. I did make it to Penny Lane and Dovedale Primary School (John and Paul's primary school).


Saturday morning I got up early and caught a bus out to Strawberry Fields, St. Peter's Church (where John and Paul met), and John Lennon's childhood home. I couldn't go inside the house because it's part of the National Trust. However if you pay for a certain tour you can go inside John's and Paul's childhood homes and see all sorts of cool stuff like family pictures and their bedrooms. I was on a budget trip as far as time and money were concerned so that didn't happen. Next, I caught a bus back into City Centre and went to Mathew Street, home of The Cavern, where the Beatles were discovered. The street was a very small back street which was packed with tourists. It was still pretty cool to go down the street even if it's been almost completely commercialized. I wanted to eat at The Cavern, but I got there right at lunch time and decided it might be better not to in the interest of time. After Mathew Street, I went to Albert Dock which was full of warehouses back-in-the-day. Now it has a maritime museum, the International Slavery Museum, and the Tate Liverpool (modern art gallery). Not to mention over a dozen cafes, sweet shops, and souvenir stores. 

The main reason I went there was to go to The Beatles Story. It's a museum of sorts that showcases the Beatles' careers from before they were discovered until the present. It took me over two hours to find my way through everything and I still think I missed a wing. Mixed in with the vintage posters, recreations of clubs, photographs were scores of pieces of Beatles paraphernalia and possessions on loans from various families and collectors. They even had a pair of John Lennon's gold-rimmed sunglasses which he had given to his interpreter on display which had recently been purchased of one million pounds! At the end of the history portion of the museum there were four mini-amphitheaters which each showed a short film about where each of the band members ended up after the Beatles broke up. It was all very very cool.

I wish I could have stayed in Liverpool for a couple extra days. There were so many other things I would have liked to have been able to do. There was a football game on Saturday and the streets were crawling with fans in red jerseys or wearing Liverpool scarves. There is also an awesome philharmonic hall, the Victoria Gallery and Museum, and a tour of Williamson's Tunnels. I guess there's a reason why it's called the European Capital of Culture.

Entrance to cemetery at Liverpool Cathedral

Eleanor Rigby statue

Port of Liverpool

Beetles Stage Outfit

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