2011 UK and Ireland travel blog

Penny Lane

Banker on the Corner with a motorcar

Strawberry Fields Forever

John Lennon's boyhood home

Paul McCartney's boyhood home

Outside The Cavern

Inside the Cavern

Steve with John

Entry from Joan and Pat. Today we sent Steve off on his own and we went separately to explore Liverpool. NOTE TO TRAVELLERS. Do not believe what you read on the websites, even the official tourist ones. Started out at 10:00 to visit Senfton Gardens and the Palm House ( a Victorian Glass building) which the website said was open at 10:00. Wrong. The website and sign on the gates say 10:00 but it actually opens at noon. Kind gentleman call us a cab. Plan B go to Lark Lane which was advertised as within walking distance according to the website and had a flea market and farmers market. Wrong. A quaint street but need to call a cab and not as advertised - no markets so call another cab and on to Albert Docks. As advertised. Worth the trip. By this time it is 1:00 PM and time for lunch so back to the hotel by cab to have some of their very soup then a bit of rest until we meet up with Steve.

Today was a day of days. Off quite early this morning in the cool morning breeze into

the maze of Liverpool's streets and lanes and alleys. Down to the Docks on the Mersey River to begin a day plunged into the world of The Beatles. And Liverpool is The Beatles

as almost all of the tourist industry which is everywhere is dedicated to The Beatles.

You cannot go, it seems anywhere without that Beatles aura so dominating. I was in my element. Starting out at Beatles One which is the real official Beatles experience it is the tribute and museum dedicated to The Beatles history. For all of us who grew up in Beatlemania this really layed it all out. What memories it brought back. If only my two old pals John Western and the late Danny Turner could be here at this moment to share this with me. Oh when we was fab! So then I hopped on The Magical Mystery Tour. A two hour bus ride into the real gritty Liverpool to experience the roots of what made The Beatles.The boyhood homes of all The Beatles, where they grew up and went to school.

The real down and out sections of Liverpool in crowded row houses that kind of explains

the edge that The Beatles created in rock and roll and how very different they were.

The Liverpool sound was what we in Vancouver were introduced to, the London sound of the

Rolling Stones came along just a little bit later. The tour bus was a great mix but I was the only Canadian on board, most were English with a sprinkling of Yanks and Aussies

and of course the always present Japanese and Koreans. During the entire tour Beatle music was played and the whole damn bus was singing: the grey hairs, the blue hairs, the no hairs and the yet to grow hairs.Seemed no matter your age or nationality everyone knew the words to all Beatles. I sat behind a group of Japanese who merrily bellowed out the all the words to "She Roves You". At Penny Lane we saw where the barber shaved a "coostameer" and on the corner there was indeed a bank but if the banker had a motorcar we knew not. Yes there is a shelter in the middle of the roundabout. Onto Strawberry Field, where all the hippie oldies got out of the bus to worship at John Lennon's tribute. John was always my least favourite Beatle although his redition of Twist And Shout is number 4 on my private list of Rock & Roll's best 500 songs.

The tour ended in the center of Liverpool close to where we are staying and where it all began for The Beatles and so many of those Mersey groups. The Cavern night club. Not the orginal for it was desecrated during the constuction of the Liverpool underground railway,but 60% reconstructed; a delight, a throwback to the late 50s & early 60s.

Below the streets, a small stone chamber that today is so hard to believe that anyone could spend time here. Of course no air conditioning, crowded, sweaty, humid with only little fans as ventilation and then of course almost everyone smoking...I don't know how those bands could play 2 hours sets twice a day in this almost dungeon like place.

But it is beautiful. Joan & I had pints here later on, with live music and bands doing Beatle songs with not a member born before The Beatles broke up.God we had a good time.

I love rock & roll, I love visting the sights that borne rock & roll and have been so fortunate to visit so many of them. And Liverpool really does put a topping compared to visiting Graceland, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly put on his last concert. Joan & I wandered up to a wonderful Spanish tapas bar close to our hotel where we spent the last of this evening. What a lovely place this tapas bar was, contrary to the usual big city ho-hum English lack-of-customer-service this was an

unexpected delight. Immediately greeted by a charming covey of lovely English chickadees

we were, as one so explicitely stated made apparent...Ooo you 'av ox-scents.

Yeah well sometimes I might have a bovine aroma...anyway we linger over tapas and pitcher of sangria and then strolled hand in hand back to the hotel. Its off to Ireland tomorrow...so next time I'll type with an Irish lilt...g'night all

Steve & Joan & Patricia.

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