Monday, August 29, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Beatles!!

If on Saturday I didn't quite know what I thought about Liverpool, by Sunday it had a place in my heart. First of all, due to a reservations snafu, I ended up moving from the center of Liverpool to a neighborhood in a nearby suburb, next to a giant park reminiscent of Central Park, and a couple blocks from a street filled with boutiques, restaurants, and coffee shops, one of which I walked to on Sunday for a breakfast of creamy mushrooms on toast with a fried egg. Then I strolled through Sefton Park for a hour, stopping in the Palm House and generally enjoying the nice weather and the "neighborhoody" feel. This trip has made me realize that I'm better off in the suburbs than the center of any city - you can always get close to the action on a bus or subway, but it's much nicer to be "home" on the outskirts, and as it happened, for my last two days in Liverpool, I ended up moving from Andrew's which was a 10 minute walk from the central train station to Eliza's, which was 20 minute bus ride into town, but near the park, by the quiet cafes, etc., etc.
the street where Eliza lives
Peter - Fab4 Taxi Tour
John's Arts College (left), Paul's school (right), me (center) 
My flight out of Liverpool wasn't until the evening, so after brekkies and a stroll in the park, I went back to Eliza's, packed up, and waited for my Fab4 Taxi to pick me up. There are many tours in Liverpool which take you around the sites of Beatles lore; the Fab4 Taxi tour does this by squiring you around in an iconic British cab. My driver, Peter, arrived at 1 and off we went. Our first stop was the Liverpool Arts College where John went to school as a teen, and which was next to what was then the Liverpool Grammar School for boys 11+ which is where Paul went to school. We stopped by the Maternity Hospital (now student accommodation at the University of Liverpool) where John was born, and we went to all their childhood homes. We visited Strawberry Field, which was a Salvation Army children's home when John was a boy (he reportedly liked to hang out there so he could hear the Salvation Army Brass Band), Wooten Village Hall, where John and Paul met for the first time, the cemetery where Eleanor Rigby is buried (Paul claims the tombstone is not where he got the name), and of course, Penny Lane. We did this while Peter filled me in on Liverpool and Beatles history, and listening to Beatles' music. Three hours later, Peter dropped me off at, fittingly, John Lennon Airport, where I caught my flight to Berlin.
John's teenage home
Paul's teenage home
Ringo's birthplace - childhood home
George's teenage home
..the shelter in the middle of the round-a-bout;
the church where Paul sang in the choir
"in Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs..."
the village hall where John met Paul

"above us only sky"