Leeds, A City for Shopping and Architecture

Leeds 2013

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I long remember name of the city of Leeds from a play in University in which I played a ridiculous Welsh director of a small Operatic Society, Dafydd Ap Llewelyn. I think it was my lead male auditionee who I continually interrupted, every time the piano played his introduction to start I just couldn’t help but to jump-in myself with a lovely little Welsh translation of “All Through the Night”. My auditionee was from Leeds, I read it out from his application with a strong sense of disapproval. The way I said “Leeeeeds” with my nose wrinkled and voice lowered always got a laugh. I don’t remember being directed to turn my nose up at Leeds but it seemed obvious by the writing that my character might consider it to be somewhere that was below his standards. The play was “A Chorus of Disapproval” by Alan Ayckbourn.

I never heard anything of Leeds reputation throughout the years. The week before my visit my Aunt Jenny told me on Facebook that she was born and spent her first years there. I didn’t know that about my Aunt who was married to my Dad’s late brother Harold all of my life until Uncle Harold was taken from us by a heart attack a few years ago. I knew her English mother too a bit as I was friends with Aunt Jenny’s niece, Joanna. Granny Franny lived in a grandmother’s suite in Jo’s family home. In fact, Joanna was in the above-mentioned play with me; it was put-on by the Drama Department of the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. I was a student of Business Administration, but I took my electives in English, Psychology, and Drama. This meant I had no major, but I did fine in business without a major anyway. A major would make one more employable though, the most lucrative choice after accounting at the time was the very new industry of IT. “No, I think I’ll take Drama and Creative Writing instead,” I remember telling my guidance counsellor that year. She didn’t think that the best choice, but I figured since I was studying business when I’d rather be studying arts at least I could have a little bit of arts and I still get the business degree even if devalued by having no major. (I ended-up just shy of having enough credits for a Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Drama, but I’m not sure they make those anyway.)

I arrived this afternoon in Leeds after spending the day in the beautiful spa townn of Harrogate. An unfortunate contrast, Harrogate attracts a formal senior crowd who enjoy the many tea rooms, promenades, and lovely English gardens. I may just be an old woman trapped in a 39-year-old man’s body so that was rather my scene. I am quite happy for the excitement in my day to be having room for dessert at Betty’s Tea Room, a locally-famous Yorkshire Chain that originated in Harrogate. Sadly I am not kidding, visiting the original Betty’s was high on my list of things to do when visiting the lovely spa town of Harrogate.

I arrive to my hotel in Leeds and park what to me seems like a small car but what in the UK is a very wide car. £14 ($20) per night my hotel charges for the privilege of using their car park and normal cars don’t even fit. The receptionist talks me closer and closer until my car is a hand-width from the car next to me. I don’t know how the last person who parks is going to get out of his car, nor how I will enter mine if there are cars parked on both sides when I need to get in. The hotel is in an industrial building but refurbished quite modern and to very nice effect.

I make my way to the tourist information centre where they are not at all helpful. This feels a contrast to the warm and friendly service I have come to expect in central England. In this city of nearly 4 times the population of York, they can not refer me to a bus tour or a walking tour or any kind of tour whatsoever that I can join tomorrow or anytime. Must sees? Well that depends what you’re interested in. There’s lots of shopping. This seems not to be a tourist destination. They don’t even know a direction where they should point a tourist to. I leave with some maps but no real idea of what there might be to do or see other than shopping.

My first impression on the streets is of being in a rougher place. I notice more guys, always guys, sat on the sidewalk asking for my spare change. They seem to think that they deserve my custom, when I ignore them they seem to think I have simply not heard their request for funds. I give to one fellow who then walks alongside me. I know he is bad news and I try to get away. He asks for £10 to buy a week bus pass. No, sorry. I just gave him £2 ($3), can’t he just thank me and let me go? He doesn’t want to relent. Finally I circumnavigate a bench where two girls are sitting, I am trying to get away from this guy. It ends poorly, me yelling at him to leave me alone, that he should be embarrassed to harass a visitor to his city and give such a poor impression. He walks away and the girls throw me dirty looks. I feel badly for being so harsh, but it was what I was thinking and how I was feeling. He and others have now soiled my first minutes walking around this city. My first impression makes me want to retreat to my nice hotel but I don’t.

The shopping here is incredible. Who is buying these luxury goods? Not the people I see around me late on a Monday afternoon certainly. These shoppers are heading straight to Poundland and McDonalds. Perhaps Leeds is a shopping destination for visitors. Very near to York, I bet people from York probably come here to shop. I was surprised to hear that the receptionist who helped me park has never taken the 20-minute train ride to visit York. I cannot even imagine. I took a much longer route going through Harrogate from York to Leeds, but it was still a very short journey. It’s so close that people might live in one and work in the other.

Perhaps the shoppers of these goods are weekend shoppers, that would make sense. Nine-to-fivers. Professionals and business people. I suppose I won’t seem them about during my brief two-night stay so I am destined to get a continued dim view of this former industrial town. I am much impressed by the architecture though, Leeds has lots of beautiful architecture stock in what is now a very large shopping district. A stately town hall. Gorgeous rows of buildings strewn everywhere.

I have dinner at GBK. “Have you eaten at GBK before?” My brain scans through memories, I know I have, where was that, I can see the empty pedestrian shopping street in the evening, wide and modern, it was another shopping district that seemed out of place for the locals. . . . .”I have, in Cardiff in January!” Well done, brain. Well done.

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If someone parks in the last parking spot, which is on my other side, I don’t know how I’ll get in. “Can you get it a little closer?” No.
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The Ellington Hotel seemed to be inside an old warehouse, but was modern and comfortable.
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A patio with doors that fully open to the fresh air!
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As in Birmingham, I enjoy the new and old contrasting each other.
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In this and the following photos you can see some of the beautifully restored Victorian shopping arcades.
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I don’t mean to be rude, but where are the shoppers for these high-end stores? I don’t see anyone who looks like they shop at these stores, including myself.
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The Newest “Trinity” Shopping Centre
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“The Light”, mostly cinema and restaurants.
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Some shoppers enjoy a wee break.
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Yummy, the Wellington, and angus burger with portobello mushroom and horseradish sauce. Burger restaurants that serve wine deserve awards, I think it’s harder to get liquor licenses in Canada because I do not remember this happiness at Hero or the like. I could be mistaken. I’m sure in Quebec you could though. Canada is very odd with different restrictions province-to-province.
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Back at my hotel I am told that the shopping district in Leeds is second only to London and that yes, people do come here specifically for shopping trips from all over the UK. Much cheaper than visiting London, if you come here you can use most of your cash for the shopping. Makes sense. It’s not like in Yorkville, a shopping area in Toronto where the people are wandering about wearing the couture you see for sale alongside. No one here looks like they shop in any of these stores. There’s nothing wrong with that, I don’t either, it’s just incongruous.

Later I read, “Join footballer’s wives on shopping sprees in the high-end arcades of. . .” Ah, the notorious footballer’s wives. The British are crazy for football, the sport North Americans know as soccer. Like all sports that has fanatical fans, the players are ridiculously paid. Taking shopping trips to Leeds to try to burn-off some of that cash could be a full-time job, even when touting £3000 handbags and filling shopping bags with £200 t-shirts. And they could avoid all that annoying culture and sophistication of London. I can see the appeal, Leeds has all the shopping with none of the pretension.

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I have a first-time experience here in Leeds. Walking through busy crowds, a grown man, seemingly able-bodied, looks to be on his way back to work. Near to 50, wearing a trench coat, appropriate for the on-again off-again rain. Here’s what happens. He coughs a great, chesty, wet cough right in to my face. I am covered by his spray. I am too shocked to react but I stop in my tracks. He bumps into me as he continues past.

I am absolutely disgusted. Maybe his arms don’t work? Perhaps he’s actually very mentally challenged but hides it well? I did meet someone at Castle Howard who was a regally-dressed woman and when she opened her mouth she sounded like a 5-year old. “I really like your shirt because yellow is my favourite colour,” she had run over to tell me. Very sweet. She had the posture of a cave-girl and had a handler with her who was of average appearance. Perhaps years of nobility in-breeding, I thought. The gene pool too narrowed. She had looked like she stepped out of a film set, so lovely was her sun dress, hair, and bag.

But today near the train station in Leeds, I cannot imagine what ignorance would cause someone to seemingly intentionally discharge directly into someone’s face. Square-on. At close proximity. I can remember when my own arms didn’t work, I wrote about this briefly in one of my Edinburgh postings because I was living there when it happened. I would have at minimum pulled out of the crowd to cough into nothing and if possible (ie. were I able to stop a moment in a moving crowd) I would have bent over to cough into my lap. He must be a sociopath. He’s sick and he wants to make others sick. I’m really going to hate this place if I get sick now.

The closest experience this reminds me of happened in Harbin, a city of about 3 million in Northern China, about a decade ago. I was walking down the street on my way to work when a huge ball of garlicky phlegm splat on my face. It was an enormous, warm goober. It was so big that after hitting my face it trailed all the way down my clothes before settling on my shoe. I am gagging now as I write about it. But this was possibly far more innocent. Completely thoughtless and careless, but less intentional than this face-to-face assault. Someone had spit out their window over the busy sidewalk. It may have been in malice too, but at that time people were spitting all the time in Harbin. Even inside trains and buses, shopping arcades, public buildings. It certainly was not limited to the outdoors.

How can people spit so much? I wondered that because I never spit myself, except at the dentist when he tells me to, or at the end of brushing my teeth. But that’s mostly water and dental stuff, not great gobs of secreted slime. I never have occasion to spit, it’s not as though I use my willpower to stop myself from spitting, the thought doesn’t pass through my head, “Wouldn’t it be nice to spit now.” Additionally, it seemed to be a (mostly) male condition. So I looked for causes of this behaviour. For one, around the world women tend to be more polite and conscientious than men anyway, so that explains the high male to female ratio of spitters adequately for me. Women tend to have stronger empathy, they can see themselves more as the other than can an average man. I think that is why we so often use that low “stupid voice” when quoting men. Even men sometimes use the “stupid voice” when quoting other men.

One main cause for the great amount of spitting was the chewing of tobacco, but that kind of spit is apparent. It’s brownish. This also supports the sex ratio, since I have only on occasion seen women chewing tobacco. Those who do also have the look of having generally given-up on life and any possibility of having a feminine demeanour. But brownish spit seems to account for well-less than half of all spit I encounter in Harbin.

I found my second answer in a type of pickle-relish that the Northern Chinese eat with many meals. It also explains the garlic stink-slime that covered my face that unforgettable morning. I made the discovery when I forced myself to eat this harsh-tasting pickle (chutney-like concoction) with my breakfast. I was being polite, my host was saying, “Try it, it’s so delicious! No, take more!”. Perhaps deep-down he was punishing me. Anyway, when I ate this pickle-relish it made me barely able to swallow. It gummed-up my saliva for an hour or more and I was constantly clearing my throat and feeling the need to spit. I nearly felt like I was choking on my own thick, disgusting saliva. I never accepted eating that pickle again, I would just poke at it and pretend to have some.

I know that Chinese government tightened it’s reins on spitting before hosting the Beijing Olympics. It must be lovely to stroll down the streets today, not a care in the world with no fear of being slimed anonymously from above. I should go back again.

There were education campaigns and spitting police giving fines to violators as they tried to stamp-out this bad habit. It could have been fun making the slogans. “See that rubbish that you just dropped in the street? Now, don’t also spit on the street.” One thing at a time. I was always shocked when doing things with well-educated Chinese when they’d have a chocolate bar and just drop the wrapper wherever they were. Or have a bottled drink and truly just toss the bottle to the side as they continued walking. The same happened a lot in India. Walking down the street with University students I met I am carrying an empty bottle to put into a bin should I ever encounter one. “Just drop it, that’s what everyone does.” “I know they do, but I just can’t” Then the same people blame the government for there being rubbish all over the streets. It’s probably a bit difficult to pick-up after more than a billion people, true for both India and China.

It’s unfortunate, I will probably always remember Leeds as the city where a professional-looking man hacked right into my face and left me stood there in shock. In 2013, I might add. NOT 1713 before germs were invented.*

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The handsome Post Office building stands off a square near the Train Station in Leeds.20130625-173813.jpg
There is no shortage of handsome listed buildings in Leeds. I read that the number of listed buildings is 2nd only to London. I also read this “fact” in Birmingham so I’m not sure. Let’s just say that they both have lots of fantastic architecture.

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I go through a list in the “This is Leeds” book provided in my hotel room. “Ten Reasons to Love this City.” It seems like they had a hard time coming up with the ten things, but here is my abbreviated interpretation.

1. Lots of shopping.
2. Some nice restaurants.
3. Some good bars.
4. A concert that took place here performed by The Who in 1970 was made into an album. (Really? This is a reason to love Leeds today? Sounds more like a piece of trivia than anything.)
5. Yorkshire Dales are not too far. (Yes they are lovely, but they are not in Leeds, so that’s a bit of a stretch.)
6. A good Art Gallery
7. Leeds Carnival in August. (Doesn’t help me in June.)
8. Leeds International Concert Season, September-May. (See comment for number 7.)
9. The Carling Festival is near Leeds in August. (That’s lovely, but it’s not in Leeds and also – See comment for number 7, which now also applies to 8 & 9)
10. One of UK’s largest rep theatres.

Basically, when you come here to shop, you will be able to enjoy a good meal and possibly find some entertainment. Unless you come in June.

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Someone did not do a great job on that list. I would certainly have, “Lots of fabulous architecture” high on the list.

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I don’t know what Pleasure Time was but it sounds naughty.

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Like “Pleasure Time” this Horse and Carriage Repository seems to have become redundant.

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Sadly, I think the converse might also be true. I imagine my visit to the information centre from the point-of-view of the workers. “There’s lots of great shops,” they had informed me when I first inquired what one should see in Leeds. “I don’t really want to do any more shopping, ” I had replied.

If the tourist worker had cared, I could see this playing-out like a skit on Little Britain. I imagine the tourist worker calling head office with this conundrum. “I have a gentleman here from Canada who says that he doesn’t want to shop. What should I tell him?”

“Yes, he seems to know that he has come to Leeds. Yes, intentionally. No, I don’t think he’s lost, I think he came specifically here to look around the city. He seems surprised that there are no tours whatsoever that he can join, not a bus tour, not a walking tour, nothing. Yes. Yes. I know. Right, there is that occasional walking tour so I gave him the number for that guy rather than call myself to have that information here. I doubt he’d be doing anything on a weekday anyway, he didn’t before. Yeah, I only have the information for up to last week. I can’t be bothered really, I mean if people come here not to shop I don’t know what they expect. No, he doesn’t seem mentally unwell, not that I can tell. Hmmm? Right. No, I haven’t asked him if he’s a football fan yet. He’s shaking his head, he doesn’t want to see our (soccer) stadium. He’s not interested in the art museum either, he wants to see some local flavour rather than a world collection of works, apparently he travels a lot and has seen a few museums already. Yes, I have told him that this is an excellent centre for the performance arts between September and May. Since there’s nothing on this month he’s not that interested. Yup. He is, definitely. One of those American-types who expects us to help them plan their time in Leeds, as if I have nothing better to do than to hand out maps and give out sight-seeing advice. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s my job description, I’m just sayin’. I know, I know, well I would suggest maybe he’s come to the wrong place but he only just arrived today. There must be something we can suggest because he just won’t give-up already. No, I don’t think he’s fat enough to try out one of the private medical facilities advertising in our tourist information book by having lipo. Well, now that I take a better look. . . . just a second, I’ll just ask him . . . . he’s shaking his head no, oh he’s leaving now. Excellent, thanks for your help! Bye-bye!”

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I found the Market Stalls at Leeds City Kirkgate Market interesting, more so than all the chain stores certainly.

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Inside the Leeds City Kirkgate Markets. This is where Marks & Spencer’s started, as a stall!

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Behind the City Markets is an Outdoor Market.
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If I had visited Leeds directly from Canada I would have been impressed with the architecture and found the local culture an interesting change from what I’m used to. As it is however, arriving after 8 weeks of visiting towns, cities, and villages throughout the UK I am more comparing this apple to other apples and it really does come-up short. If you love shopping, this may be the best place in Great Britain for that, much cheaper than London but with many of it’s stores. Apart from that, I would not plan to return myself.

It’s not a bad place, it’s just not for me. I don’t know how many times I was asked for change and stopped by people with clip boards. Mostly I ignored them or tried to, but sometimes they saw an easy target in my slow wander as I tried to take in the sights. Also being alone makes an even easier target, and perhaps here I look well heeled. But when you spend most of the day wandering about zig-zagging through all the streets, you encounter a lot of this here. Far too much, in fact. The last one asked me a dozen questions about travelling between English cities before it was all voided with the question, “How long have you lived in Leeds?” “Well why didn’t you say so! This is a local survey!” I didn’t know why she had charged across the pedestrian street to block my way and interrupt me with a survey, probably for a budget airline or coach service, but I didn’t find out. And anyway, did I really look and sound like a local? Were there no hints, possible indicators in my manner of speech that might have given her pause to ask before unnecessarily detaining me?

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Along the River Aire in Leeds.

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It isn’t possible to go very far along the river, it’s not been redone in the way it has in Birmingham.

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The handsome Town Hall.

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Just some random lovely architecture throughout the city centre.

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Wow. Look at those windows! I’m not a traditionalist, but my goodness aren’t they an interesting choice.

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Oh my, I seem to have stepped out of the zone.

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I tend to notice things that locals have never seen before. Look at these interesting smoke stacks, or something?

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Picked-up this hat today because I didn’t think to wear one and my goodness, the sun was out ALL DAY!

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Big Building – Little Building – New Building – Old Building.

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I got some odd looks when taking this photo, but it’s a great natural composition.

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*Yes, I know germs were discovered and not invented. I was being silly.
**UPDATE: Three days later and I am sick. My throat is killing me and I can hardly swallow. I hope it doesn’t last too long.

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Beautiful English Countryside of the North York Moors from staying in a Country Hotel

This is a very short posting. I may change my posts to become weekly from now as to have more time to work on each story and improve the quality overall. Expect some more interesting stories coming soon!

I stayed in a beautiful country hotel near to Scarborough in the North York Moors. Sadly, I would not recommend this hotel no matter it’s lovely surrounds due to the extreme incompetence of it’s staff unless you are looking for a Faulty Towers type of experience. I did write a piece during my stay there but it seems to have completely disappeared.

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View of the country hotel from the car park.

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A lovely view from the grounds of the hotel.

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The lovely dining room where I had breakfast the first day. I didn’t bother to have the included breakfast on my second day though.

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WIFI was available in the well-appointed bar. This was a place where we were off the grid, no cellular signal here so WIFI was the only communication available with the outside world.

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This was a lovely place to sit and work. Less so in memory if you later lose your work, as in my case.

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Despite being advertised, lunch was not available. The ducks asked me to share my veggie snacks that I had brought with me but then spit them out. Click on the next image to view a short video.

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Hiking on little trails around the property.

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A hotel guest fishing for mackerel.

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Another view of the hotel.

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The charming green lounge off the main hall near reception.

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Looking across the pond.

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So beautiful, but I do warn that the staff were very untrained as of my visit in June, 2013. It was as if none of them had ever been to an inn or hotel before. Or the people in charge had gone to get some eggs and never returned. Some years previous.

Thank you for reading my blog! I hope you will look around and click on “Follow” at the bottom right of your screen so you don’t miss an adventure! One easy click to unfollow so it’s no risk. Cheers! Darren

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The Waterfront of the Handsome City of Liverpool – Liverpool Part 2

I am still unwell on the day I have allocated to visit Liverpool’s impressive waterfront so this is just a few pics and explanations. I am staying very nearby, just around the corner from the stately Royal Liver Building and the Cunard Building so I have no distance at all to make my way over from Castle Street.

Liverpool’s waterfront stands on the River Mersey and faces the city of Merseyside opposite. There are tunnels under the water rather than bridges over, as well as ferries that cross the river. It’s a shame that my energy is low, there is so much to do here. There are lots of interesting and entertaining options but I will partake of very little this visit.

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(Even my hair looks sickly! I feel horrid today!)
Behind me to the left is the Cunard building and to the right is the Port of Liverpool Building. (The Cunard Line today is a British-American enterprise but was originally founded by a Canadian, Samuel Cunard of Nova Scotia, in 1839. Throughout it’s history of transition, the Cunard family mostly owned the line throughout various it’s incarnations until 1998 when it was purchased by Carnival. ) Some distance behind but appearing to the right of that is the red brick building that is the White Star Building. The White Star Line head office, it was from this building that a very famous announcement was made to the media below.

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A closer side-view to the White Star Building from which the world officially learned that the Titanic had sunk.
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A better picture of these waterside buildings, from left to right: the Royal Liver Building which holds the LARGEST clock face in Great Britain (yes bigger than the one on in London paired with the bell of Big Ben), the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building.

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A great view through a window of the Tate gives better perspective of these buildings. Closer to us are some of Liverpool’s many museums and galleries, the one on the left is the Museum of Liverpool. Notice the maintenance crew on the black building furthers to the right, there are two tiny people in the basket at the top of the mechanical arm that show the scope of the building.
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More views of the Museum of Liverpool.
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And closer of these galleries.
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Colourful sculptures alongside the Museum of Liverpool.
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A view of Albert Dock, the largest collections of Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK. Surrounding 2.75 hectares of water, this is also a World Heritage Sight.
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The enormous orange columns are actually cast-iron.20130701-183038.jpg20130701-183121.jpg20130701-183142.jpg20130701-183210.jpg
I have my lunch waterside at Revolution, a cafe named after the Beatles.
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I am dragging myself about, such a shame to be unwell during travels but it’s bound to happen sometimes. As I mentioned already, there are lots of interesting places to visit. The only one I end-up actually visiting is the Tate Liverpool. I choose to do this because it is having the first exhibition in 15 years of Marc Chagall. When I was 22 and backpacking alone through Europe I stayed a few days at a hotel in Nice in the South of France where one of the highlights for me was visiting the Chagall museum there.
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Visiting the exhibit on the 4th floor also had the added benefit of providing some great views. The photos from a higher vantage point in this posting were taken through windows of the Tate Liverpool.20130701-184126.jpg
Looking down at the mud at the waters edge from Albert Dock.
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Looking across the river to Merseyside.

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There are numerous souvenir shops along the dock and I am able to find some gifts for family at home. This artistic creation at a sweets shop is made of jelly beans.

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More views around Albert Dock.

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After a short day of sight seeing I collapse on my bed back at 62 Castle. I did not visit The Beatles Story as planned, I did not take a bus tour or a walking tour, the only gallery I visited I only viewed one specific exhibition. I was not able to go out and socialise to meet any Scousers or Liverpudlians who are famous for being warm, friendly, and hospitable so I don't have any fun personal stories from here. In a note, I need to visit Liverpool again if I am to really experience this handsome city.


Click on the image above to enjoy some street busking.

The Handsome Waterfront City of Liverpool – Liverpool Part 1

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I arrived to Liverpool in a sad state with a nasty cold that unfortunately coloured my stay with a grey tint as I was simply not well-enough to go out and play with the friendly locals in their local pubs. I arrive mid-afternoon, around 4PM, but after a full day I do not feel well enough to go out and wander. I try to over room service but the small boutique hotel is overwhelmed with the wedding party they are hosting this weekend. This was obvious during my check-in when I helped staff carry chairs out of the only elevator and then to unblock the hallway so I could get to my room. A hotel of only 20 suites, the staff are run off their feet and no one answers the phone. Over the weeks I have come to stock some packaged foods for such occasions so I tuck into a tuna pasta salad and a cup of noodles. Fortunately Liverpool seems to be an affordable city and my hotel room is a nice place to spend time, it’s three times the size of the room I had in Manchester and the ceilings are twice as high. Also, I enjoy listening to my iPod attached to the nice-sounding stereo provided. This a rare offering in hotels because they generally do not equip guests to be able to bother their neighbours with provided sound equipment.

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Driving towards Liverpool I cross one of these two handsome bridges.

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Colourful row housing on the outskirts of Liverpool.

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Driving towards my hotel in the city centre.

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The hotel has me park in the enormous modern car park hidden under the waterfront road, I think it houses 5000 parking spaces. I exited the car park into the impressive open-air shopping structure of Liverpool One.

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My first impressions are of an old city rich with traditional buildings mixed with new modern structures. Basic but traditional and warm housing on the outskirts. An impressive modern shopping zone and a car park where lots of well-healed shoppers have parked late-model cars a good proportion of which are German.

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This statue of Queen Victoria is in the square just outside my hotel. Oops, you can’t see her from this perspective, she’s in the middle.

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The Hotel I will call home for the next few days. It looks big but it only has 20 rooms.

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It’s a good place to feel unwell. Sometimes I’m in rooms that are cramped, noisy, or otherwise not well appointed to spend much time in, so this was very lucky indeed. Perhaps not lucky to feel unwell, you know what I mean.

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You can find my room by the white metal balcony, it’s in the middle.

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Nice big windows, the four door sections are full-sized doors.

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Looking towards Lord Street.

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Looking towards Dale Street, the dark building at the end is Liverpool’s Town Hall.

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I think that all the rooms at “62 Castle” are partially elevated. Named after it’s address, I would recommend staying here. It’s very convenient, comfortable, and good value. When travelling for a long time it’s a good strategy to enjoy nicer accommodation in cheaper cities (which this one seems to be) and save the budget accommodation for more expensive places. I also try to avoid large hotels which usually lack in character. After the fun of staying at a pub in Manchester, I have booked another pub accommodation for one of my next destinations. Coming-up after Liverpool are Chester, Shrewsbury, and Birmingham again.

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I wake-up not feeling better so I linger and take my time before heading out. I have found handy cups of oatmeal that I can just add water to, I’ve never stayed anywhere in England that didn’t provide a kettle. It’s strange arriving to a new city and taking so long before seeing anything, it’s 21 hours after my arrival before I finally head out to take-in the streets of Liverpool at 1PM on a Sunday.

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Notice the plants growing out of the gutters!

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An actual tree growing in the gutters! But things do grow very quickly in wet climates.

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I am finding a lot of impressive building stock in Liverpool, although some of it is in need of urgent attention. This seemed to be only partially in use.

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Liverpool has a lot of museums, in fact it has “the most museums and galleries outside of London” according to a tourist information brochure. This is the World Museum.

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This is quite the Library. I am reminded of Toronto, except that we have nothing like this.

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Tourism is a huge industry in Liverpool and it shows. These wonderful sign posts were everywhere. Notice they even indicate the walking times to get to destinations. Very smart to provide distance location in terms of walking times. They were especially helpful because I forgot my mobile phone at the hotel and nearly the only thing I use it for is GSP when walking about.

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I do love a good mish-mash of new and old and in-between.

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Planning a party? This hall is available for hire!

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Side-view of the same.

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Liverpool Lime Street Station. (Railway)

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The very famous football (soccer) club.

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Looking up Bold Street towards a roofless church.

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Only now did I notice the church is a contained courtyard where once was it’s main hall.

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In this close-up through the window you can see the sky and the other interior wall.

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I edit photos while waiting for my lunch at an Italian cafe on Bold Street.

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A variety of housing as I make my way to Liverpool’s enormous cathedral.

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This, the largest Anglican Cathedral in the world, was designed by a Catholic. Notice the scope of this side entrance by looking at the people who are near to the structure. The much larger central tower was not accessible from outside, but you can see it in one of the coming photos.

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The side entry to “Liverpool Anglican Cathedral”.
“How did it get it’s name?” I want to inquire at the information desk but alas at the end of the day it is unmanned.

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I captured this front view somewhat later from afar after wandering through Chinatown.

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Some interior views of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

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Yes, neon tube signage. They must have had some debates over adding that little touch. The side I would have been-on didn’t win.

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In case you were wondering, I am pleased to inform you that the pipe organ (which you cannot see here) has a lot of pipes.

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How many, you wonder? See, I just somehow knew that you would want to know that. It has 9765 pipes. Which is quite a lot. Someone was playing with it, hopefully not a tourist, when I was inside but they weren’t playing anything, just a few notes. I think you can hear it in this short video. Click on the video image below to play the video. (Email followers, it will hopefully open in to a browser so you can see it.)


Sadly I did not take a photo of the pipe organ as I didn’t notice it at the time and I only read about it later.

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Through this lovely gate stands Liverpool’s Polish community.

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A moment ago I mentioned that this was home to Liverpool’s Polish Community. I was just kidding. This is an entry to Great Britain’s oldest established Chinatown. I just made that up. No I didn’t! Aren’t I silly tonight.

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If I had been writing when I spent 4 months in China I’d probably remember what these cute little hybrid creatures are called that you see me getting fresh with at the other side of Chinatown. In China what I did do a lot of was paint. I’ll do a posting of my paintings someday, many of you probably don’t know that I made my living as a professional artist for a couple of years before I went back to school (OISE/U of Toronto) and became a high school business teacher.

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The famous flower boxes that the Beatles gave to the city.

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Okay, so I did make that up to give me a flawless segway to mentioning the Beatles. But the Beatles gave the city a LOT over the years by coming from here, so in a way they did. An estimated £21 million per year from Beatles tourism. (Tourism overall represents £1.3 billion yearly in Liverpool, so lots of visitors don’t come because of the Beatles too. Most. Actually, I think they may be wrong in that, how could it be so little? £21m is only 1.6% of £1.3b. Don’t believe these figures, they can’t be correct. Don’t blame me, I’m just passing them along from the tourist board who perhaps needs to employ someone who owns a calculator. Or even a mobile phone, that’s all I used myself.)

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The area between Chinatown and downtown was lacklustre but still interesting.

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By lacklustre I might mean desolate. Unsafe-looking. Verging on ruin.

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Trees growing on the walls and here’s the mystery – how can they see out those windows? They’re made of wood!

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Doesn’t this look like a fun building to rent!
Of course, “To Let” is British for “For Rent” but I always want to put an “i” between. That would be funny if someone did that on this huge sign. We’d laugh and laugh, wouldn’t we. Because that would be the British sign for “washroom”.

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I don’t think there is anything notable here, but isn’t it pretty.

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See previous comment.
No wait, I did think of something!
Liverpool has the most Grade II listed buildings in the UK outside of London.
Score!

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Don’t look at this photo because it’s at the waterfront and I’m going to spend my time there tomorrow.

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There she is! A better view of Queen Victoria, I’ve now circled back to my hotel where I will listen to some gorgeous music, have dinner from Sainsburys, and do this posting which I am now completing.

For my next posting I continue visiting the lovely city of Liverpool! But then you already knew I wasn’t finished with this handsome brute of a town yet. The waterfront contains Liverpool’s most iconic sites and is home to the Beatles Story. Anyway, tune in – in 4 days for part 2 of Liverpool.

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(The above photo taken in Bayswater, London last summer (August 2012) on a trip with my then 15-year old niece, Abbe. It looks like I may have been on Sudafed that day also. Poor Abbe was horrified by me making her take photos, people had stopped on the pavement, they were wondering if I was busking! Nope, just another day in my life.)