Liverpool is a city located on the west coast of Britain. It is one of those cities that has a lot of prominence in this country firstly as an old port city and secondly as one of the places where the industrial revolution started. There is more as well one of the biggest pop acts that this world has seen came from Liverpool. Four young lads formed the Beatles and the rest is history so they say. Liverpool is not too far from Stafford and looking around on the interwebs I found cheap tickets that will take me there and so the adventure begins.
Just had to wait a little for the laundry to finish. I’m looking at the watch and the minutes are ticking away. I’d like to get a coffee and some breakfast for the road. This bloody machine is taking its time to finish the cycle. It’s probably just me wanting to just get on the road and catch the appropriate train. I walked fast and picked up the coffee as well as breakfast in time to make the train. Things seem to take longer when one is in a rush. When I grabbed me tickets from the machine I noticed an extra one that wasn’t mine. Someone was going to have a hard time getting back to Stafford later on. I tried to look for who it coil ups have been but I had to run to get my train.
I made it onto the train just in time. It was quiet and peaceful as it pulled away from the station. I dug into me breakfast and admired the countryside as we rolled past it. The next stop saw a whole bunch of people get on. All around me there were a bunch of lads talking loud and drinking. They looked to be in their mid twenties and they were excited about the darby that they were going to attend. I tried to concentrate on what I was doing but it was difficult. Good thing that this journey is only about an hour long.
As the train pulled into Liverpool Lime Street it was obvious why it’s named this way. The station is carved from the lime outcropping that is the top of the hill. The station is right in the middle of the city perfect for starting out me exploration. First things first there is a concert happening here in April that I’d like to attend. For some reason I wasn’t able to purchase tickets online for it so I stopped into the box office and purchased a single ticket. Right from here I figured I’d also stop into my phone carrier in order to get a dongle. The wifi is horrible in the flat and in order to communicate with home and with Barbs without the annoyance of lag more data is what I need. I ended up upgrading my phone plan as well.
Free from any other matters to attend to I set off in a direction that would take me to the waterfront. There were interesting little side streets that distracted me and my route adjusted accordingly. I was also conscious of how much time I had.
One of the first areas was a shopping mall area that had a funky street which housed many hip shops. These trendy places were the usual or unusual assortment of restaurants, bars, clothing, and coffee shops. Much of this street was cut off from traffic and padestrians filled its narrow corridor.
The weather was nice but in places there was a brisk bitter wind that reminded me of the single digit temperature on this march afternoon. When the sun was out the city felt bright and airy. New modern structures mix in with the old Victorian structures that hail from its heyday as an economic powerhouse. Liverpool was where the British slave trade originated and it is the location of one of the oldest African communities in Europe as well as the oldest Chinese community. Walking through an old Chinatown here kind of surprised me. Thinking about it though as this was and is a port city it made sense. There are old buildings further away from it that are just standing there derelict right beside buildings that are becoming refurbished into modern flats.
Being a port city and quite prosperous Liverpool became quite cosmopolitan and multicultural. There were waves of immigration starting with the potato famine and propelled further by international trade. The glory years lead to periods of decline. Ze Germans blitzed this city as well during the war and the subsequent redevelopment was not ideal. The recent redevelopment has been much more successful. The mixture of the old and new is quite pleasing to the eye especially on this partially sunny day.
Being this far north and up against the Atlantic gives this place a toughness. Everything is clad in brick or stone to protect against the elements that sweep in from the ocean. Ireland acts as a partial block but compared to the size of some of the systems that move in from the ocean there is scant protection. Walking through Albert docks now converted to a museum and shops the remnants of the once bustling port remain. This was where old wooden cargo ships docked with their wares from overseas. Canals would lead the ships in and out into a safe haven temporarily out of the ocean.
Much of the waterfront has been refurbished and walking along here I could picture many people hanging out in the summer months. Many statues line the walk along this high pier including the four chaps that made this city famous due to their cultural influence. I guess there is the football team as well. If you search for Liverpool that’s the top result.
One of the places that I wanted to see was the Cavern club. This is where those four lads played many shows that lead to their fame. It was a club that operated for a long time until it was shut and abandoned. What is there now is a refurbished and modernized space. At three in the afternoon it had a long line up to get in. There was a lot of people here in the center of town. Supposedly before the refurbishment this was all quite a rough area. Now it is filled with people that walk around this padestrian area shopping and just hanging out. There are many buskers strategically separated filling the street with music. There was a liveliness to the city. A vibrancy that soaked into me.
In the late afternoon I found myself back near St Georges Hall and the Railway station. There is a museum there and since it has free entry why not check it out. If anything I could definitely use the loo. Kids were everywhere which made me think about weather or not this place would have anything that would interest me. There was really one floor filled with worldly artifacts the rest had different themes in order to engage the kids. The skulls and bones were cool but I wanted to see something else.
One floor up they had what I was looking for some cultural artefacts. There was a great variety of stuff much of which was dominated by African items. That olde colonialism and geographical dominance brought with it a wealth of museum pieces. This isn’t a huge museum so I made it through a lot of the exhibition quite quickly. Once outside I thought that calling my bro would be appropriate. It’s been a while and it would be nice to sit down for a bit. Essentially all I’ve done is walk since getting here.
The trendy street had a coffee shop that looked decent so I made my way over to it. When we finally connected the little one was fascinated by the bicycle behind me. He kept pointing at it. It was hard to hear and actually have a conversation inside the place as the coffee shop was hoppin’ with activity. By his point in the day I was a bit tired and further exploration wasn’t warranted. I made it back to the station and found my departure time.
There was still a bit of a wait. I just missed the preceding train. There were a lot of police present at the station. It’s to control all the people at the station. There was a football match on earlier between a West Ham and Everton. Hmm… Everton is right beside Liverpool it seems. Everton lost and the jubilant fans jostled for position as the team walked by to board the train while we waited to get onto the train. There were chants as the supporters joyfully reveled in their sides victory.
The ride on the train was equally rambunctious. The entire way to Stafford there were chants about going to Wembly among other good time oldies. The train was packed with people. There were even people standing and siting in the luggage spaces. A lot of alcohol was consumed prior to getting on the train. The old men lamented at the table beside me. Some older (not by much?!) Chinese lady sat down beside me. She had everything in neat bags. She was on her way to Paris. I got that from the phone conversations she was having throughout the journey. She was ignoring the drunk guy asking her for peanuts sitting behind her in the luggage space. He was Canadian I think. He spent a good chunk of the journey chatting on the phone lamenting something to do with football. He was passed out when I walked past him on my way out. It was a tiring journey back. I did the same soon after.