You can’t buy me Love, Love, Love,…Let it Be, Let it Be, Let it Be.
Oh how I eagerly awaited our Beatles tour in Liverpool. Was there anything else to experience in this seaside village but the Beatles? Well the answer is an overwhelming YES. Cruising into Liverpool a traveler could feel the sophistication in Liverpool, the investment in the town and the comfortable lay out of the city. We wanted to tour the city in the morning and the Beatles history in the afternoon.
Walking off of our ship we were officially in Merseyside, England on the East side of the Mersey Estuary and transported to “The World Capital City of Pop”. Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers is one example. Mersey is in some lyrics of the Beatles and the title of an album cover refers to them as the Mersey Beatles. Our walk along the beautiful and well renovated Estuary abruptly took us to a statue of the Beatles. These larger than life statues mirrored the enthusiasm and pride this community takes in their contributions to music. A picture was a must.
Continuing our walk we realized that we were on Albert Dock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is now the heart of the cultural heart of Liverpool. Walking further we discovered cute restaurants, renovated warehouse buildings seemingly made into condos, the traditional fences ladened with thousands of rusty old and new padlocks and large modern museums. Deciding to walk toward town we stumbled upon the famous Beatles Museum called The Beatles Story. The Beatles Story is the largest permanent exhibition about the Beatles in the World. Since it was early and not crowded we decided to view it. What a well done Museum. Taking us through the journey of the Beatles it was a great introduction from the beginning to the true end of the Fab 4. This exhibition sweetly Interlaced the Beatles music, experiences, album covers, personal pictures and career changing public appearances historically. The exhibit intimately made one aware of these young men’s journeys. Make sure if you are a fan that you have a few hours to linger in this award winning museum.
What was shocking to me was the hardships many of these young men faced and their ability to not just survive but enlighten and brighten so many others lives. My appreciation of the Beatles escalated. I was anticipating our physical tour of their surroundings even more.
Before the tour we were able to see much more of Liverpool by foot. A large metropolitan area with over 500,000 residents in the city proper we headed into the city center. Historically Liverpool found success as a sea port (Cunard Building) and horrifically was involved in the slave trade. Due to this Liverpool is home to the oldest Black community in the country and the oldest Chinese Community in Europe. With this diversity, their musicians and other groups from the Mersey beat era, Liverpool held the “2008 European Capital of Culture” title. One can feel this multicultural flavor.
Not only did we know we landed in a multicultural city for music we were reminded repeatedly through souvenir shops and conversations that Liverpool Reds successfully won the European Champions Football League. We had forgotten the rabid enthusiasm of the football fans in England until now. Shop owners, travel guides and idle conversations repeatedly came back to this great win just a month earlier. Liverpool kept reminding us it had a lot to offer. Many cruisers kept saying they would love to come back.
Other sites to see in Liverpool are their Museums. There is the Western Approaches Museum about the tense WWII Battle, Museum of Liverpool where Liverpool’s story is told, the International Slavery Museum as well as the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Noteworthy is that the Titanic was registered in the Port of Liverpool. If you are into the art galleries your choices are Tate Liverpool for contemporary art and the Walker Art Gallery for Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art. Finally if the outdoors is your cup of tea walking the Albert Dock and going to the Radio Tower which is a 450 foot tower in the center of the city where you can see the surroundings of Liverpool with a birds eye view. We also enjoyed the extensive shopping promenade. Finally for the church lovers the Liverpool Cathedral is the largest in the United Kingdom. One is able to climb the tower and the view is spectacular.
So many things to do but I was still eager for my Beatles bus tour. Off we went at 1 and we wound through Liverpool seeing the Casbah Club and The Cavern Club. Next we visited the Beatles homes. Between moving homes due to no monies, Dad’s leaving and never returning, one living with an aunt, being reunited with his mom finally and then having her die being hit by a car the compassion for this group of 18 and 19 year olds grew. On top of learning their history the music was played as we traveled around the area. Julia in honor of John’s mother I finally understood. Paul whose mother died of breast cancer young and Ringo with an ailing childhood all saddened me. Only George seemed to have a steady family life. My respect for their ability to overcome these challenging childhoods escalated. A great lesson for many.
After experiencing this wonderful day in Liverpool, with a desire to do more, the ship was leaving. Returning to Liverpool would be fun. The energy, the kind Liverpudlians (a jest) and the beauty of the area draws you in. The music scene is still active and hopefully will create more amazing musicians overtime. Encore!