Our train arrived in Liverpool in the evening, dropping us of only a few blocks away from our hotel. After checking in and going to our room, we were amused to find this enchanting painting hanging above the bed:
"Welcome to Liverpool, mates!"
We dropped off our bags, bid Ringo adieu, and went out to walk around the city. We went to the Albert Dock, stopping for dinner and a beer at one of the local restaurants. Most of the shops and museums were closed by the time we got there, but the view along the waterfront at nighttime was just gorgeous.
The best part of our evening, however, was at the very end when we stopped into "Lady of Mann" for one last pint. Tucked into the back corner in the basement of the bar a small but excited crowd was seated, listening to two men playing gypsy jazz guitar.
I drank my beer, snapped a few photos, smiled and thought "this is the closest I've ever come to seeing Django. I wonder how people felt seeing him play for the first time... so many years ago..."
The crowd was super responsive, cheering and chanting "one more, one more" until the bar finally called it in. It was so great - two very talented guys just having an incredible time playing music - and isn't that what it's all about?
The band sported the name "Modjango." After they packed up I shook their hands, telling them they were totally our favorite part of Liverpool so far. They were!
Near our hotel there were tons of loud bars full of Beatles tourists, all scrambling to take a photo in front of the Cavern Club. I think the Modjango experience was much more our speed... and we left the bar happy and warm.
We awoke early the next morning to go back to Albert Dock and visit some of the museums.
My cousin and her husband live in Liverpool, but unfortunately they were out of town while we were in. However, they gave us great recommendations for things to do. In addition to walking around the waterfront a bit more, we went to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Merseyside also houses the International Slavery Museum.
The exhibitions were all quite somber, but excellent.
And no offense, Beatles fans... but the maritime history of Liverpool was what resonated with us far, far more than the Beatles history. (Which is saying something, because I could have sworn Ringo was chanting "Number 9" while we slept, to subliminally turn us into Beatles maniacs...)
We happened to be in town during the Liverpool Marathon. This is now the second vacation we've been on where there was a marathon right where we were staying. Are we just lucky that way, or are there a lot of marathons these days?
As we wound around the streets of Liverpool, we tracked down some of the public art installations I wanted to see. I feel as though we barely, barely scratched the surface of public art in Liverpool.
One thing I was set on seeing: SUPERLAMBANANA!!!
We walked past Richard Wilson's "Turning the Place Over" - but it wasn't in motion, unfortunately. (You can see it in motion in the Youtube Video, below.)
We returned to the hotel with a little time to kill before we had to catch the train, so we sat in the lobby for some soup and tea... complete with scones and clotted cream.
It was heavenly.
Art. Music. History. Food.
It's safe to say we had a very lovely time in Liverpool.