Day 114: LiverpoolJune 9, 2017 in the United Kingdom
Long day today, exploring what's known as the Maritime Mercantile city of Liverpool. For several hundred years, Liverpool was the second-most important city in the UK, and was second only to London in terms of wealth, activity and dominance of global affairs. Obviously those glory days are long gone, but the city has apparently reinvented itself several times, so we were interested to have a look.
Out the door fairly early, though our hosts were already long gone at this point on their journeys to work! Called for an Uber but didn't feel like waiting the 15 minutes for one to arrive, so we got on a bus instead, carrying Schnitzel of course! Sat on the front seat upstairs of the double-decker, just like we were kids again. Although we're staying on the fringe of the posh area, the main road into town goes through some fairly grim places before arriving in the city.
Off the bus we walked down to the riverfront at the Pier Head area, where the three most important buildings in Liverpool stand: the Royal Liver building, the Cunard building, and the Port Society building. These are all large early 20th century office buildings, constructed in a variety of styles but very important to the workings of the dockyards. They're still in use even though the docks aren't, and still impressive to look at though not as old as I'd though.
Did some filming, and briefly popped our head into the Beatles museum that sits prominently here. Although I don't mind their music, and I know many of their songs quite well, I wouldn't ever call myself a Beatles Fan and neither of us had any intention of making the day about them!
Next spot was the Albert Dock, which when built was the largest dock and warehouse space in the entire world. It also had the innovative idea of putting the warehouse in a square shape around the dock, so that ships could be unloaded directly into the warehouse without transporting goods all over the wharves. Revolutionary! These days it hosts a branch of the Tate Modern art gallery, the maritime museum, a slave trade museum (remember that many of the "goods" shipped through Liverpool were humans bound for America), and of course another Beatles museum. Stopped and had a spot of lunch at a food truck here, and did some filming as well.
After this we walked over to the Ropewalks district, where is so named because it's where many of the rope factories were during the age of sail. It was apparently very cosmopolitan back in the day, as due to the dockyards proximity many merchants, sea captains, traders and so on all lived in the area. As far as we could tell, these days it was mostly hipsters!
Next stop was the "cultural quarter", where St George's Hall (a combined courthouse and concert hall) stands on a large plaza opposite several important cultural buildings. A grand library, cinema, art gallery, train station and a few others are the buildings here; very impressive. It's also the sort-of heartland of the city, where they have large public gatherings like Beatles funerals and where Everton and Liverpool football clubs have celebrated their cup wins.
Lastly we walked down to finance district, centred around Castle Street and the old medieval centre of town. Nothing remains from that era, and these days it's just a Victorian-era town hall and some grand terraced buildings that once housed banks, insurance companies, shipping companies and so on. Still several banks in the area, though most of the financial management I saw was of the betting variety.
Had a drink in a pub before wandering back to the shopping area: I sat outside H&M with Schnitzel while Shandos went shopping. Lots of pats for him, none for me but I guess he's a bit cuter. Once Shandos came back it was time to meet her friend for dinner and drinks - a travel blogger who was on her media trip in the Philippines last year. She's originally from York a bit further north, but has lived here for the last few years.
Picked a random pub for a few drinks and some dinner. It was a Friday night so lots of places were very busy and there was a great vibe in the city. Since there's a huge university many of the people are young, and it's quite dynamic and exciting. All my life I've heard stories of Scousers stealing car wheels and being rough, but this was a long way from that. Finally around 10pm we said our goodbyes and hopped in a cab after 12 hours in the city!
Back home I chatted for a bit with our hosts who were commiserating about the election result, but not too downcast. Good for them I guess! Onwards tomorrow!Read more