Last weekend Roma and I went to Liverpool with The Beatles very much in mind. We had to fly to Manchester on the way out, but this was very pleasant as was the train trip from Manchester to Liverpool. Very little to see from the train on a very wet day, but I did see the newish City of Manchester stadium in the mist.
On Friday night we stayed in the Hard Day's Night Hotel which is a Beatles themed four-star hotel. It was very nice,and while it was a Beatles theme throughout (we had a huge poster of John Lennon over our bed) - it was not over done. The hotel is a very central place to stay, it is right beside the Cavern Club - and is a most pleasant hotel to stay in. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant, though Beatles-themed throughout was called Blakes.
On Saturday we had a tour of the main Beatles sites with cabbie Jay from the Fab Four Tours. Jay was an excellent tour guide who knew everything about The Beatles - he brought us to each of the four houses where the Fab Four grew up, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Eleanor Rigby's grave, and the place where Lennon and McCartney met - St Peter's Church. Lots of nostalgia - we also saw the spot where Julia Lennon, John's mother was killed, and the Empress Pub that featured on the cover of a Ringo Starr album (Sentimental Journey), Ringo's boarded up old house. The tour was made special by Jay - he was very friendly and was happy to take photos and let us out wherever we wanted to go. The picture to the left is of him and me at the barber shop mentioned in the song Penny Lane. In between us on the poster in the window is a picture of Jimmy Osmond of "I'll be your Long Haired Lover from Liverpool" fame) getting his hair cut - Jay had been his cabbie on his tour. Definitely worth doing this tour, though you don't get into John or Paul's house as they are owned by the National Trust and must be booked separately.
In the afternoon we had lunch in The Pumphouse after which I went to The Beatles Story on Albert Dock while Roma hit the shops. The Beatles Story is excellent, but when you know a lot about them already - there is not much new to learn. At £12 it is definitely worth going to. After such a Beatles day we went for a pint in the Fab Four bar. Liverpool Central was hopping - every pub had loud music - The Cavern Pub was a bit of a kip, so we didn't stay. For dinner we went to Piccolino's Italian restaurant where we had the best table in the house at the window. Smashing food and a very pleasant atmosphere.
On Sunday we did a little bit more shopping - I bought a Let It Be t-shirt which has the picture to the right. This is my favorite picture of The Beatles as it is really how I remember them - I was only 11 years old when they broke up. We also got t-shirts for the girls - Yellow Submarine for Vicki, Help! for Kate, and another Let It Be for Claire. I also bought the obligatory fridge magnet - Sgt Pepper! I did treat myself as well by buying the recently released remastered stereo box of all the Beatles albums which I have been listening to since the weekend. Expensive, but worth it! Finally, we dropped in to the Tate Gallery for a quick look - that's all you need for "modern art". While a Picasso and an Andy Warhol painting were worth looking at, I'm afraid that the rest was completely lost on me.
Overall a great weekend from which I will have very special memories. This was a birthday present from Roma, so it was also my final fling in my forties. I'll have a job following that for a birthday present for Roma next year!