Robin Hood's Bay- Departure
Liverpool – Arrival
It was so strange awakening to a different routine the day after our walk was finished. No hiking pants (at least not for me—they’re the only pants Jan brought), no moleskin, Elastoplast or Phineas and Ferb Band-aids (yes, Dr. Doofenschmirtz decorates our wound protection, so?) on the spots that need protecting beneath our hiking boots. No hiking boots! We ate breakfast and headed for a couple of shops in (the very small and downhill-located) downtown Robin Hood’s Bay. We needed t-shirts to commemorate our accomplishment, after all. (“Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.”)
|On the train to Liverpool|
|Bye to Joy and Andy :-(|
|Our train from Scarborough to Liverpool|
|Lime Street Station|
We made it to Lime Street Station in central Liverpool and it struck me that I’ve been thinking about this city since I was eleven years old. I’ve always had a series of pictures in my mind of the city, but reality never matches imagination. We pulled our suitcases through streets filled with busy people, beautiful old architecture, a shopping mall crowned with gaudy-but-cheerful 70’s-neon, buses, fast food restaurants (Chukky Chicken), construction, two homeless men sleeping in doorways, and a plethora of interesting pubs. In other words, a normal, bustling city.
|The old . . .|
|. . . and the new.|
|Hatter's Hostel - midtown Liverpool|
We stayed in Hatter’s Hostel just blocks from the station. It was a typical hostel with young people hanging around and a super-helpful staff. On the spot we booked a Beatles taxi tour for nine the next morning and dropped our bags and back packs in our room. It was quite a different experience to walk out without toting our rain gear and lunches. Our only goal was to try and find a few of the iconic sights I’ve read about forever: the Mersey River, the Liver Building and its famous Liver birds, the Albert Docks, and the city’s two huge cathedrals. What we didn’t realize was how compact and easy-to-navigate Liverpool is. As soon as I let my preconceived ideas fade away, I fell in love with the city as it really is.
We headed first for the Liverpool Cathedral-the Anglican church. On the way we stopped in front of the modern Catholic Cathedral both loved and derided by Liverpudlians. They’ve nicknamed it Paddy’s Wigwam—but it has beautiful stained glass, an incredible top crown (The Crown of Christ) and is striking on the cityscape.
|The Metropolitan Cathedral - "Paddy's Wigwam"-unique and beautiful.|
|The Liverpool Cathedral - a much more traditional church building|
A couple of miles down the same street (Hope Street) is the Anglican Cathedral. This is truly a proper cathedral that took 78 years to build. It’s made of red sandstone quarried in the city, and the interior is truly spectacular. We missed being able to climb the tower for views of the city by about fifteen minutes, but the visit to the church itself was worth the walk.
|The high altar in the Anglican Cathedral.|
|Looking toward the rear and the choir loft.|
|The Royal Liver Building--stately & impressive|
After that we wandered to the River Mersey and strolled along the waterfront. The iconic buildings of Liverpool are called the Three Graces: the Royal Liver Building, the Port of Liverpool and The Cunard Building. Since I put these buildings into a story set in Liverpool and have been staring at pictures of them for so long this, for me, was a moment akin to seeing The Eifel Tower or The Sydney Opera House. We watched the Mersey flow along, wide and gray and powerful. I’m sure Jan thought I was nuts, staring at buildings and water like they were special or something!
After we left the waterfront, we headed back into the city center and followed our map and the city signs to Mathew Street, which calls itself The Birthplace of the Beatles. The Cavern Club is located there, as are a couple of old pubs the Beatles used to frequent. The original Cavern is gone, but the club’s been reconstructed just yards away using most of the original bricks, the exact dimensions and identical decorating. We ended the night by having pints of beer and cider in The Cavern and listening to a solo singer performing Beatle songs. Awesome!
|Statue of John Lennon outside the Cavern Pub (sister to the Cavern Club)|
|Inside the Cavern|
|Mathew Street is proud of its Beatle heritage|
|Statue of the Fab Four above one of the original Beatles' shops.|
It was a grand introduction to Liverpool, and considering we didn’t arrive in town until 4:00 p.m., we got the lay of the land pretty well, I’d say!