Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Liverpool Part 2 - Non Beatles Stuff

Liverpool Sans The Beatles:

Well, other than the Beatles sight-seeing we basically just did a lot of walking around, window shopping, pints and pubs, etc.

Luke pretty much told you guys everything, except what we did in Liverpool on Monday so here it is....

Monday we walked to Chinatown. On the way we walked by Europe's largest Anglican Church so we decided to stop and have a peek. It was stunning. Massive. The outside was incredible but the inside was amazing. From there we continued walking until we came to Chinatown. Liverpool has Europe's oldest Chinatown. They were presented with the gorgeous Chinese gate you see in the photos. Stunning. From Chinatown Luke and I walked to Dingle, Ringo's childhood neighborhood, because the Magical Mystery Tour bus didn't stop and let us off there. When we finally found our way to his street we realized why they didn't stop. It is the dodgy-est area I have seen - EVER, I think. Scary. We took a photo of the front of his first house and then ran into the Empress Pub where Ringo's mom worked for a coffee. When we walked in it looked like a regular, sketchy pub. It was early so we asked for two coffees. The barmaid (That's what they call them here girls...) told me that they don't do coffee BUT that they would do it for us. They even had to go upstairs to the apartment above to get milk! They were lovely BUT the patrons left much to be desired. Three people came in... One woman, her daughter and what seemed to be her daughter's boyfriend (The mother ended up kissing the boyfriend while the daughter was in the loo - which I might add - has a sign on the doors that says 'If you see anyone taking or selling drugs please inform the bar staff') They seemed in bits and proceeded to have a drink and then put on music.... Enrique - Hero, at 11:30am. It was creepy. As soon as we were finished our coffees we thanked the bar maid and were outta there! We then ran a block to take a photo of Ringo's second house and then ran out of the neighborhood. Back to the city centre where it was safe! On the way we cut through the church grounds, which was full of old headstones and overgrown plants. It was lovely. (Well, except for the teenagers shooting up in the corner of the place. Not so lovely. Rather depressing, actually).
After that we walked around the shops and grabbed ourselves a Starbucks warm drink and then continued wandering. After a late lunch we headed back to the hostel to pick up our bags and then check out. We made our way to the airport by bus and then passed the time before our flight at the airport pub until we had to go through security (Which I set off, of course... I always do...). The flight was fine though Luke and I are not loving flying anymore. Quite terrifying really. We've taken way too many planes in the last year.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Liverpool - Home of The Beatles!


1. Sign for The Beatles Story at Albert Dock
2. Luke outside of The Beatles Story
3. Re-creation of Cavern Club - in The Beatles Story
4. John Lennon's piano
5. Building The Beatles were on when 10,000 fans welcomed them back from Hamburg
6. Banner at top of Mathew Street (Location of Cavern Club, etc.)
7. Exterior of the Cavern Pub
8. Inside Cavern Pub
9. Inside Cavern Pub
10. Beatles jukebox inside Cavern Pub
11. Luke at the John Lennon statue outside of the Cavern Pub
12. Luke at the Cavern Club entrance
13. Rubber Soul Oyster Bar on Mathew Street
14. Lennon's Bar on Mathew Street
15. City bus going- Destination - Penny Lane
16. Macartney's Bar in the city centre
17. Magical Mystery Tour Bus
18. Luke and I at Penny Lane
19. Penny Lane sign
20. Sign at top of George's street
21. George's childhood home
22. Strawberry Fields Children's Home
23. Luke at Strawberry Fields
24. Me at Strawberry Fields
25. Close up of Strawberry Fields sign
26. Lennon's Aunt Mimi's house where he spent most of his childhood
27. Paul's childhood home
28. Me at the Cavern Club entrance
29. Inside Cavern Club entrance
30. Inside Cavern Club
31. Inside Cavern Club
32. Inside Cavern Club
33. Luke sitting on the stage at the Cavern Club
34. Original wall at the Cavern Club - at the back of the stage
35. Inside Cavern Club
36. Luke and I in Cavern Club
37. Me on the Beatles bench on Mathew Street
38. Beatles statue in mall
39. Beatles wall in mall
40. Beatles Store on Mathew Street
41. Beatles Cake in mall
42. Back at the Cavern Club
43. Geoff Nugent and the Undertakers
44. Kingsize Taylor
45. Admiral Grove sign for Ringo's street
46. First of two of Ringo's childhood homes
47. Empress Pub where Ringo's mother worked as a barmaid
48. Empress Pub - featured on the cover of Ringo's 1st solo album
49. Ringo's second childhood home
50. Yellow submarine at airport
51. Liverpool John Lennon Airport sign "Above Us Only Sky"
52. Statue of Lennon in the airport

Liverpool home of the Beatles... for those who never heard of the Beatles they were are British band from the... just kidding.

I wanted to go away for the weekend and figured we would do so to kind of celebrate both of our birthdays (yes mine is coming soon March 4th, so you all still have time to get me something and send it over... I do accept all major credit cards).

Anyhow... I booked us some flights (€86 return 2 people) cheap as all hell. And since we are not travelling Europe on a budget any more there was no way we were going to stay in a hostel, so we rented an apartment. This apartment ended up being about 100 times better then the one we live in. New kitchen, big kitchen/living room, nice small balcony, it was very nice.

We flew out of Dublin at 810am on Saturday and landed in Liverpool John Lennon Airport 25minutes later. The weather was nice, no clouds and sun was starting to shine. We took the bus to the apartment, checked in and decided to get going. We wanted to do the Beatles Story (it’s a museum I guess, but its really cool and there are different rooms set up for all the different Beatles areas) and we wanted to take the Magical Mystery Tour (a bus tour taking you to all the Liverpool Beatles highlights including their 1st homes, schools, things mentioned in songs like Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields etc).

We got a map and realized we were pretty close to the city centre of Liverpool and could walk to pretty much all the hot spots. On the way to our 1st Beatles destination (The Beatles Story) we walked thru downtown and walked by a really neat looking church (You will see the picture) which later we found out is a bombed out church that they left standing there. It has no roof.

We walked thru the main downtown areas (Pictures will be in the 2nd part of the blog. This is strictly a Beatles blog. We have too many pictures for one entry). So lets just skip the downtown and get to the Beatles stuff. We arrived at Albert Docks where the Beatles Story is. Albert Docks are really damn nice!

Like I’ve said, the Beatles Story is a museum with an audio guide. It was really cool to see some of the original things they used, or played with, photos, album covers etc.

I think we were in there for a good hour and after that we bought some small souvenirs, and decided we were going to go watch the Liverpool v.s Manchester United game. We managed to find a pub near the Albert Docks (It's like Dublin pubs everywhere but I think there are more in Dublin), anyway we had some pints and enjoyed the atmosphere and watched Liverpool beat Man U 1st time in 82 years in the FA Cup. So needless to say, the people in the pub were very happy.

From the pub, after some Guinness Extra Cold and John Smith’s, we decided we should try to find a pub that might have the Olympic Hockey game on (Canada v.s Switzerland. Glad I didn’t see it knowing now we lost). In the process of looking for a sports pub/bar we ended up on Mathew Street “The Birthplace of the Beatles”. I was stunned to be standing in front of the John Lennon statue right outside the Cavern Pub. It was pretty surreal to be on that street. Now, we didn’t notice that the Cavern Club where the Beatles actually played was kind of hidden right across the street from the Cavern Pub, so we decided to go in the Pub. We had couple more pints there and took some pictures. The Cavern Pub is more like a memorabilia pub. It had some wicked things in it. While having pints Jess was told by the bartender that the Cavern Club was actually across the street (That’s how we found out, depending on which way you walk up the street you will either see the Pub or Club first). We finished our pints and decided we should probably do some groceries and eat since it was only about 1pm and we were getting hungry, so we skipped going into the Cavern Club and decided we would come back later that night. (All the photos of the Rubber Soul Oyster Bar, Lennon’s Café, Beatles Store(s) etc are on Mathew Street. It is Beatles heaven).

On the way to the grocery store Jess had to pee, so we stopped at another pub to pee and, well, you have to buy something, so we had a pint. It's what we do.
Since the apartment had a full kitchen we decided it was worth spending money on a nice place to stay where we can cook or a cheaper hostel where we have to spend money on eating out. So we got stuff for dinner and breakfast etc.

We got back to the apartment around 5pm or so and started to cook. After we ate we decided to lie down, which is always a bad idea cause we fell asleep. Jess hates falling asleep in the day time or taking naps, but my plan worked, we both fell asleep. We were up at 5am that day and after walking around for a bit and 4-5 pints a nap is never a bad idea.

We woke up around 9pm and decided not to go out since we wanted to make the 11am Magical Mystery Tour bus so we stayed in chilled out watching TV.

The next morning we woke up around 9am, made breakfast got ready and headed towards the Magical Mystery Tour pick up point.

The tour started at 11:40am and we got on a bus which pretty much looks like the one that was used in the movie, but it is not the original one. The tour “guide” was pretty funny, had a very John Lennon sense of humour.

Stops on the tour:
1)Ringo’s houses (where he was born and where he lived from the age of 4) The 2 houses were across the road from each other and on the corner was the pub his mother worked in and which was featured on the cover of his 1st solo album. The bus didn’t actually let us off there – we found out later why when we went back to take pictures.

2)Penny Lane - the barbershop, the bank, the roundabout (now turned into Sgt. Peppers Bistro) from the song Penny Lane, the houses featured in Free As A Bird video. It was all there.

3)George Harrison’s 1st house.

4)Strawberry Fields Children's Home

5)John’s house where he lived for most of this Liverpool life with his Aunt Mimi. Now there is a plaque on the wall and you can book an appointment to go inside the house which has been recreated to its original state by Yoko.

6)Paul’s house which like John’s has been recreated and you can book to go inside it.

7)Cavern Club.

This was a 2hrs tour, and we got to see most of Liverpool as well. Those were the main stops but we did along the way see other little Beatle stuff (Schools, work places, things like that).

Once at the Cavern we had a drink and took some pictures and decided to go back to the aptartment to eat. On the way we stopped at different stores to poke around and finallt got back to the apartment and made lunch/dinner.
We decided to go out later that night so after we ate we pretty much just chilled out and figured whatever else we wanted to see (Ringo’s house and the biggest Anglican Cathedral in Europe) we had all day on Monday (our plane left at 920pm).

We left the apartment at about 8:30pm and made our way toward the Cavern Club. On the way there we stopped at the Cavern Pub as we heard there was going to be a band. After a pint and a half hour watching the band set-up we decided to just head across the street to the Cavern Club. There were a few bands playing.. The John O'Neill Band, The Undertakers, etc. They are all bands that were popular on the scene back in the 1960's. It was great fun to watch and great music to listen to. We hung out there for about an hour and a half or so and then moved on doing some bar-hopping. We headed back to the apartment at about 1:00am.

Next day we checked out at 11am and have 8hrs to walk around. We went to see the Cathedral, the oldest Chinese area in Europe (huge gate at the main street entrance) and Ringo's home etc. Man did he ever live in a bad area. It was scary. We stopped at the pub his mom worked at, had a coffee and got out of that area.
For the rest of the time we just walked around enjoying a day off.