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.
Driving towards Liverpool I cross one of these two handsome bridges.
Colourful row housing on the outskirts of Liverpool.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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”.
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.
(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.)