Much More in Liverpool Than the Fab Four
Tonight as we dine in a small Chinese restaurant open for over 40 years, we are amazed at how much we have already seen on one day. We're in Liverpool, home of the Fab Four: The Beatles.
Our flight from Boston on Aer Lingus via Dublin was quiet. It was so quiet that while Dave claimed a middle row of bulkhead seats to himself to stretch his legs, I had the two window seats to myself. While immersed in a book about a family traveling through South America, my thoughts were suddenly interrupted by an abrupt announcement, "Ladies and Gentlemen. The Captain has just reported that someone has been smoking in the bathroom. Please stop or you will be prosecuted," scolded the flight attendant.
"Wow!" I thought to myself. "Someone here is bold." I glanced around to see everyone's reaction. Nothing.
From Dublin we took a short flight across the Irish Sea to Liverpool. The plane was small with high wings and propellers, but was quick, modern, and efficient.
Once we arrived in Liverpool we headed right to our hotel, The Hope Street Hotel. It was only 9:00 am and normally we are told to drop off our bags and come back after lunch causing us to spend hours in a jet lagged haze, but this time our room was ready and it was perfect. Our strategy is to take a three hour nap and then we are ready to go. We have a large room in what was once The London Carriage Works dating back to the 1800s. The hotel which opened in 2004 did not know of the historic significance to this building until they removed some old plaster.
In the afternoon we visited The Walker Gallery. It is small, but free as are many museums in the UK. The museum featured an exhibit of sculptures, several by John Gibson, a Welshman born in Liverpool. Encased in a cylinder glass case was the Tinted Venus. It was considered scandalous by the Victorians who thought the marble skin looked too life like. Upstairs in galleries with creaky wooden floors were collections of paintings. Among them was a self portrait by Rembrandt and a collection of modern art. My favorite one was called Old News. It was a painting of neatly stacked Chinese newspapers.
Down on the waterfront is a collection of old restored brick buildings surrounded by glass buildings with stark angles built over the last 40 years. There was a festive summertime atmosphere with old fashioned carnival rides and even a large sand box designed to look like a beach where children played with brightly colored buckets and spades. Off to the side in a grassy area were statues of the Fab Four. Tourists lined up to pose with their favorite one.
Albert Dock had small shops tucked into arcade walkways. They featured everything from jewelry to solar dancing queens.