Liverpool - Designated Beatles Day
All of you who know me can just roll your eyes and get it over with because there isn't much to report today except everything John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
|Paul, George, John and Ringo -- very early days|
|Our cab's name was "Penny Lane"|
|Here we are with Alan.|
We started with a private Fab Four Taxi tour of every Beatles sight in the city. Even more so than last night, we experienced how intimate Liverpool is – the areas where everything happened in Beatles history are not far apart, and the coincidences that brought all four young men together are not so far-fetched when you can see how closely connected everything is. Our cab driver’s name was Alan, and he brought an unbelievable amount of knowledge to the tour. Many things I knew, but there was a lot of detailed information he had to offer even an old superfan.
The most emotional places for me were John Lennon’s house, St. Peter’s church where Paul first heard John play, and the church hall where they met for the first time. These, according to Alan, are the true Shrines of Mecca for fans. It’s completely corny, but it really was a surreal feeling--like visiting friendly, welcoming ghosts.
|This could be Eleanor Rigby's grave - nobody knows for sure.|
|St. Peter's Church - site of the fete where John & Paul met.|
|John and The Quarrymen playing at St. Peter's - Paul was in the audience.|
|St. Peter's church hall, where John and Paul actually met.|
|This plaque commemorates the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney|
|This neighborhood is The Dingle - where Ringo was born.|
|This is the actual "shelter in the middle of the roundabout"|
|George's home in Arnold Grove|
|The fire station in Penny Lane|
We caught all the highlights: Jan really liked Penny Lane and the stories about how everything in the area was part of the Beatles’ youths. Visiting all four childhood homes was interesting. Hearing how each man grew up gave depth to his personality. One interesting fact is that many Liverpudlians harbor a lot of resentment toward Ringo. He was the poorest of the four and doesn’t have good memories of growing up in the city. He’s made a few dismissive remarks about it and, since Liverpudlians are very proud of their city and very clannish (but friendly), they hold his derision against him and not everyone calls him a favored son. Paul on the other hand is beloved. He’s done a lot for the city (like help start the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts - LIPA) and still has family here that he visits regularly.
|Sculpture in front of the old Liverpool Institute-now part of LIPA|
|Obvious where we are :-)|
|The gates to Strawberry Field - a former home and school for orphaned children|
After our taxi tour, we returned to the waterfront and visited the first part of The Beatles Story, the official museum of the Beatles. We saw a great gallery of photos by a man, Paul Beriff, who took many pictures of the group when he was just 16. The pics have been forgotten in his attic for 40 years and were just released. They were candid and really interesting.
|I like this last pic of Paul & George with Liverpool reflected in the glass.|
We took a short break from the Beatles and boarded a Ferry ‘cross the Mersey. The weather was gray and a little rainy, but the chance to see Liverpool’s waterfront and skyline from the river was super impressive. Plus we got to hear Gerry and the Pacemakers sing their famous song!
|The Mersey ferry - The Royal Iris|
|The Three Graces on Liverpool's waterfront|
We spent the next three hours in the main Beatles Story exhibit. Every detail of the group’s rise to fame is portrayed with recreations of scenes and displays of memorabilia. It was astounding and even overwhelming. By the time we got through and into the gift shop, I couldn’t even choose t-shirts or trinkets—it was like having eaten the sweetest, richest candy all day long and being saturated. I had to promise myself to return before we left the city so I could process all the images and information!
|A few of the hundreds of displays in The Beatles Story|
We walked back past The Cavern, thinking to eat at The Grapes, a famous old Beatles haunt, but it appeared to be just a drinking pub so we went a few steps further to a great Irish pub called Flanagan’s Apple. They had the best burgers we ate during our whole trip.
It was a great first full day in the city, and even though it seems logical I’d fall in love with Liverpool because of the Beatles, it really was the sheer charm of the place that was getting to both Jan and me.