Jan, Julian and me at Bold Street Coffee
September 28, 2015
After pleasantly poking around Coniston and Hawkstead in the Lake District we took the Windermere Ferry across the lake and by 4 PM were Liverpool bound. It was about a 100 mile drive on the M6, and I was glad to be on the motorway, as there’s no “other side of the road,” it’s like any freeway. Yet it turned out to be almost the most fraught driving of all. When a vast lorry pulled up right behind my bumper, keeping only a few inches between us (and we were going 60 mph in the slow lane), I thought that driver must be a lunatic. I just held on and eventually he went around me. To my horror it turned out he wasn’t an individual nutter – by the time we reached the outskirts of Liverpool a dozen lorries had given us the same treatment! Yet we weren’t driving in a “lorry lane,” plenty of other ordinary cars were driving in it, and we were going at the speed limit. Never saw anything like it, and I’ve driven thousands of miles in the UK…but not in the last ten years. I have no idea of what has changed. I’d be willing to admit maybe it’s me, growing older as a driver, but my moments of panic at confusing signs and roundabouts weren't on the motorway, where I was driving straight on. So I don’t know. Has driving civility declined in England? Are there a hell of a lot more cars now? On previous trips I quite enjoyed the driving; this time I simply felt unsafe, and was thrilled to get out alive. I don’t understand the reason, but will stick to trains and buses in future. Better that way.
Julian meets us at Liverpool Cathedral
The Anglican cathedral, on a golden evening
Sunset at the cathedral
Nadler hotel, hip and comfortable
Morning at the hotel
By the time we reached Liverpool it was nearly 7, and we were very tired. Jan’s son Julian guided us in by phone (“Head for the cathedral, see the spire, and I’ll be waiting in the street!”), and we arrived in golden dusk at his place, most relieved and rejoiced to have arrived. From the park surrounding glorious gigantic reddish Liverpool Cathedral, you can look down and see the whole city, lit by a magnificent sunset. Julian and Becca walked us over to our hotel, the Nadler, an amusing contrast to the old cathedral area, being super hipster modern. It’s in a lively neighborhood with lots of restaurants, and we had dinner in a cool, cutting edge barn of a place, looking for all the world like it was straight out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They made very tasty dishes of things like lamb and rice and salad all in a box together. After that, time to collapse!
Pictures of the Albert Docks
A sunken ship
Passing by Beatles exhibit (we didn't go in!)
Tuesday, September 29
Liverpool is the greatest, a real revelation. I was so amazed by what a terrific place it is, I just walked around all day exclaiming at it! First of all it was an absolutely beautiful sunny day. Awoke in my hip, cool room at the Nadler, and met Jan, Julian and Becca in the lobby for breakfast at the Bold Street Coffeehouse, where they did wonderful creamy scrambled eggs and the kind of fabulous cured bacon you get in Wyoming and Montana – funny that old world Liverpool should keep giving me those Western vibes. Then we went walking to the Albert Docks. Spacious, airy, a harbor with boats, buildings ancient and new, beautifully juxtaposed, the area scattered with fine museums - you'd want to go there all the time! Unlike most cities you don’t have to travel to go to one museum or sight after another; here, everything is located in easy walking distance from the Docks, and you can see as much or as little as you like in a day. First we did the Maritime Museum, with its wide range of exhibits of seafaring subjects, from the Lusitania disaster to ships’ figureheads to World War II bombings, everything remarkably interesting and well presented. We broke for tea and little cakes in their big attractive refurbished warehouse restaurant. We walked more about the Docks, and marveled at the impressively beautiful ,grand old library with its gorgeous dome and treasures, and the Tate Modern and Walker art museums. Particularly loved the Walker, which reminded me of the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge.
Port of Liverpool Building
Liverpool Town Hall
"England Expects Every Man to Do His Duty"
"They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships"
At the Maritime Museum
Maritime Museum, ground floor
Figureheads at the Maritime Museum
Tea at the Maritime Museum
At the beautiful Walker Art Gallery
"The Green Monkey," George Stubbs (1775)
"Eventide: A Scene at the Westminster Union Workhouse" (Von Herkomer, 1878)
Jan and Julian in front of "The Death of Shelley"
Julian and Queen Victoria have nothing to say to each other
"Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice," Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1871)
The venerable and beautiful Liverpool Library
Looking at the library's dome
A gorgeous combination of new and old
"Imagine" (sign against back wall)
Disraeli and the young Queen Victoria bid us farewell to Liverpool