Thursday, November 08, 2001

Liverpool - Home of the Beatles

Liverpool – Home of the Beatles

Since we over purchased days on our Britrail pass, we decided to take a side trip to Liverpool for the fun of it. Once we confirmed that we could indeed stay here through Sunday, we went for our refund at the other hotel and then on to the train station.

We were warned from the hotel staff, at breakfast to be careful in Liverpool. They said there is a high crime rate there and to be careful. It seems there is a lot of poverty there and therefore; it has a higher crime rate. I was dubious about the trip from that point on and had I been alone, would have curled up under the bed covers and would not have ventured out. But, Ron is not as easily intimidated and off we went. The ride to Liverpool was only an hour.

From the train station we went to …alright I heard the chorus of readers saying “The Tourist Office” and you are correct. If there is one thing Mr. Map needs, it is something with compass points, little pictures of things to see, and wavy lines representing roadways. It was also an ideal spot for me to buy a Beatles postcard, not that the choice of venders would have been limited to the tourist office. If the Beatles were never born, there would not be a map of Liverpool, I am sure of it. Apart from their bringing fame to this otherwise sleepy little port, the buildings are magnificent. Again the architecture was a feast for the eyes. Everywhere you looked, there was something to be in awe of. Even the more modern buildings are interesting in contrast with their older relatives standing nearby.

We walked down to the Albert dock. It was wickedly cold and windy and I kept questioning what I had said before leaving California about wanting to experience the change of seasons once again. I had forgotten what COLD is like. Along the dock, the Tate Museum from London has an additional gallery here. The Tate is a Museum of Modern Art. This is usually not my preference in art and most of what was displayed confirmed this defining of my appreciation. One piece of ‘art’ was a non-stop video in black and white of a man submerged in water in a bathtub with a woman hanging over him. Each time he exhaled, she gave him mouth to mouth, so that he would not have to surface. I, like a fool watched this video for over ten minutes assured in my own mind that something more must have been following. The accompanying sign explained that this was a different slant on the Narcissus myth with the reflection being different than what would normally be expected and having to breathe life into the reflection in order to keep it alive. Pardon me, but did someone pay money for this? And you want my donation for what again?

One painting, which really made me question human intelligence, was a canvas piled three inches thick with brown paint. It was a painting of a construction scene with truck tracks and cranes. Could someone tell me why I can’t be as delusional as those who purchased this painting? It is like those pictures that were so popular a few years back. The pictures that looked like abstracts and you had to stare at them for five minutes, then blink your eyes three times and squint and you would finally see the ‘hidden picture’ of the zebras grazing on the African plain while the lioness is getting ready to pounce. I have stared at dozens of those pictures for hours to be part of the crowd that were visionaries and could see the real picture. I never could accomplish this and thought it must be because I am cross eyed. I am rethinking that theory after touring this museum.

When we thought we had finished with Liverpool and the sun had set at 4:30 pm, we stopped for coffee. I made the mistake of looking at the tourist map and commenting on the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ that was designed in the free Gothic style. It is the world’s largest Anglican cathedral with the highest gothic arches and vaults ever built. The tower is 331 feet high. It also boasts the highest and heaviest ringing toll of bells in the world. God bless him, with that said, it became Ron’s mission to take me to see it. So off we headed into the wind and frigid weather that would make a penguin shiver to see this *&%# church, on our way back to the train station.

The church was on the way to the train station like we are working our way to Mongolia. Block after block I said, “We really don’t need to see this church” at first quite calmly. The more we walked, the darker it was becoming, the lonelier the streets became, the more insistent I became that I could care less about this church. When I saw that the church was on the top of a hill, I was about to say, “If the church were hit with lightning at this moment, I could care less. Let’s get to warmth”, but I knew a man with a mission is no match for Ron’s determination, so I dragged my frozen, what is left of my butt, up the hill. There were no signs of life near the building so it saved having to cross six lanes of traffic to see it up close. I took a picture to commemorate the moment, but since the church is dark brown and it was now dark, the picture will look as impressive as the painting in the museum. Ron was pleased he could fulfill my wish to see the church, I was happy we were heading toward a heat source and with any luck some shadow will appear on the film I used to take the picture to prove that this is a true story.

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