We went well beyond the Beatles in the last two days to better understand the great city of Liverpool. One of the most important trading ports in the world, this city is full of many grand buildings have been constructed in the city as headquarters for appropriate for great shipping firms, insurance companies, banks and other large businesses. There was great money here, and great civic pride.
We had the great good luck to be shown the real Liverpool by two very knowledgeable Liverpudlians, who graciously spent their day showing us the city behind the guidebooks, and telling us the real story. (And no official guides could ever be half so entertaining.) June and Barbara started us at the dock, where – yes – we actually ferried ‘cross the Mersey, on a boat named Snowdrop, dazzled painted by pop artist Sir Peter Blake, with all due homage given to Sir Norman Wilkinson.
We have had remarkable weather to admire the waterfront, where the spectacular Three Graces sit – the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building. On the Liver Building sit bronzes of the city’s icon Liver birds, mythological beasts that speak to the strength of the city. (Not, I must add, pronounced like the essential organ of the body.) They are glorious and become familiar images of this city.
Our ferry ride gave us an idea of the scope of this port city, once crowded with docks loading and unloading the goods of the world. How amazing it must have been to see it in its glory.
We got a better idea of those days touring the wonderful Museum of Liverpool, which is full of memorabilia and memories of a much-loved city.
The waterfront today is a combination of old and new buildings – some successful, some not. But the good news is that it is a vibrant area, full of visitors even on a Tuesday morning.
With appropriate breaks for tea, lunch, tea and dinner (couldn’t manage to squeeze in cream tea), we were well nourished in our journey across the city. We also were able to visit the Anglican Cathedral, the largest in the UK, and the Catholic Cathedral, a very different style. They are connected along Hope Street, which also has a tribute to the Welsh Diaspora. (We are grateful for that, as we seem to have so many Welsh among our friends elsewhere in the world.) There was much more the city to see, and we did the best we could.
Our time here has been glorious. Endless thanks to Barbara and June for making a rough tough city seem like a place that one could love and cherish.