A Travellerspoint blog

England Day 8: Keep Calm and Carry On

We woke up about 8:30a and Mike was feeling much better today. We wanted to see the Horse Guards at 10a so we headed to Bermondsey station by the apartment only to find out that the Jubilee line was shut down between Waterloo and Westminster. So we had to readjust our plan of travel to get there.
IMG_6869.jpg

IMG_6870.jpg

We made it to Parliament Square and walked along the street to the Horse Guards Parade. On the way, we passed the home of the British Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.
IMG_6873.jpg

And a memorial to the women of WWI.
IMG_6874.jpg

We arrived at Horse Guards Parade but not in time for the ceremony. At least we were able to see the Horse Guards as they were leaving to go to Buckingham Palace.
7A5DC5D5F5BBB4B1874ABC9B5924E88E.jpg

7A72D2C0EADCB163BFA15A1150744BCF.jpg

IMG_6882.jpg

IMG_6883.jpg

IMG_6888.jpg

We crossed the street to walk through St. James Park on our way to Buckingham Palace.
IMG_6902.jpg

There were lots of ducks and birds in the park and unfortunately lots of people feeding them and even children kicking at them! I wish people would not feed wildlife. It is not good for them. And I certainly wish people would not let their kids chase and kick the ducks.
IMG_6889.jpg

IMG_6894.jpg

IMG_6900.jpg

IMG_6904.jpg

IMG_6906.jpg

We arrived at Buckingham Palace on the other side of the park and it was packed full of people waiting for the changing of the guard.
IMG_6908.jpg

IMG_6912.jpg

The Horse Guards arrived shortly after we did.
IMG_6914.jpg

The people who stick their ipads up in everyone else's pictures are really annoying!
IMG_6916.jpg

We didn't even try to find a spot on the front gate but were able to find one on the left side. We saw some activity inside the gates but never did see the changing of the guard.
IMG_6919.jpg

IMG_6924.jpg

IMG_6927.jpg

IMG_6921.jpg

A little after 11a we decided we'd had enough of the royal palace. We walked back towards Parliament Square on Birdcage Walk and came upon more guards. These were of the miniature variety, kids dressed just like the Buckingham Palace guards.
IMG_6930.jpg

IMG_6936.jpg

IMG_6939.jpg

During this part of the day it wasn't freezing cold or raining so the walk along Birdcage felt and looked very fall-like.
IMG_6938.jpg

IMG_6940.jpg

After arriving back at Parliament Square, we decided to have a late breakfast. The only place we could find open and nearby was Red Lion (not our first choice but it would do). We went upstairs to the dining room where I ordered a full English breakfast and a hot chocolate and Mike ordered a bacon sandwich and coffee.
IMG_6948.jpg

We then went downstairs to the pub portion where Mike had a Seafarers beer and we contemplated our next move.
IMG_6950.jpg

IMG_6951.jpg

Next we walked across the way to the Churchill War Rooms, the underground bunker where Churchill's government lived and worked during various periods of WWII. Construction was completed in 1939, days before Britain declared war on Germany.

The Cabinet room
IMG_6955.jpg

Churchill's telephone office
IMG_6957.jpg

Bedroom of a Cabinet minister
IMG_6961.jpg

Kitchen
IMG_6965.jpg

The telecommunications room
IMG_6966.jpg

The map room
IMG_6969.jpg

This bunker sustained hundreds of lives over a five to six year period while bombs went off in the city overhead. Everything was left completely intact, just as it was the day they closed the doors when Japan surrendered in 1945.

We spent some time in the gift shop then walked from the War Museum towards Trafalgar Square. We passed Admiralty Arch.
IMG_6970.jpg

We were headed to the National Gallery but decided to stop in for a drink at the Silver Cross pub first.
IMG_6975.jpg

After our drink, we walked to the National Gallery just down the street. There were quite a few people in Trafalgar Square out front taking pictures or just hanging out.
IMG_6976.jpg

IMG_6979.jpg

We could not figure out why there was a blue rooster in the Square. After returning home, I googled it to find out that it's a humorous symbol of Britain's defeat of France in the Battle of Trafalgar. Both ultramarine blue and the rooster are symbols of France.
IMG_6980.jpg

IMG_6981.jpg

On our way into the museum, I saw this dog lying in the street. He belonged to a street performer. He reminded me very much of our Taylor that we lost five years ago to old age.
IMG_6982.jpg

We spent about an hour in the National Gallery, gazing at masterpieces of the last few centuries. It was dark when we came out and we stopped in the square to get our directions right. We were approached by a bum asking for money. When we refused his request, we were subjected to a tirade about how Americans come over and take all of the jobs! Really? I don't think that's the reason he's unemployed, could be the liquor on his breath but that's just a guess.

We had dinner reservations at Rules Restaurant at 7p and about an hour or so to kill. We made our way in that direction and decided to stop into another little pub called The Marquis for some cider. I'm not a beer drinker at all but I did enjoy the cider. At reservation time, we walked up the street to Rules, a place in Covent Garden that bills itself as the oldest restaurant in London, established in 1798. Rules is a classic game restaurant and even owns a hunting estate where game is raised for the restaurant. Our table wasn't quite ready yet so we had a couple of drinks in the bar. We moved to our table shortly thereafter.
IMG_6994.jpg

IMG_6995.jpg

IMG_6996.jpg

We started by splitting a green salad with rocket. It was good but had very little dressing (especially for us Americans who drench everything). We shared a bottle of Spanish wine with dinner. Mike ordered the pork belly with lentils and veggies.
IMG_6998.jpg

I ordered the loin of roe deer with artichokes. It was incredibly delicious. A European roe deer is about the equivalent of an American whitetail.
IMG_6999.jpg

IMG_7001.jpg

After our dinner, we walked back to the tube station for our short ride home.
IMG_7002.jpg

On our walk in between the Bermondsey tube station and our apartment, there were a couple of little stores at which we would stop to buy beer, snacks, or whatever. City Wines was one we stopped at frequently.
IMG_7005.jpg

Before calling it a night, Mike decided to try his hand at night-time pics from the balcony. He took a time delay pic using the lights from the ferry.
IMG_7011.jpg

It had been a long day so we once again watched a little BBC and went to bed.

Posted by deniseandmike 20:35 Archived in England Tagged london england Comments (0)

England Day 7: Where East Meets West

Today we had pre-booked a 9:15a tour of Parliament and then planned to take the ferry out to Greenwich for the afternoon. Mike still wasn't feeling well so we decided he would stay home and rest in the morning and I would go on the Parliament tour by myself. There was no way to reschedule it. I took the tube to Westminster station and when I walked up the stairs to street level, getting my first view of Parliament Square and Big Ben, I felt like I was really in London for the first time. It actually took my breath away.
IMG_6782.jpg

IMG_6784.jpg

IMG_6788.jpg

IMG_6789.jpg

IMG_6790.jpg

The tour of Parliament was very interesting. We started in Westminster Hall and visited the Queen's Robing Room, Commons Chamber, Lords Chamber, Central Lobby, and several other rooms. The guide was informative and I learned a lot about the way the British government works. My only complaint was that the group was a little large so sometimes it was difficult to hear the guide. After the tour, I bought some House of Lords vodka and a Big Ben rubber duck in the gift shop. The duck was a gift for our apartment hosts as they collected the ducks and displayed them in the bathroom. They had several English-themed rubber ducks such as the Queen, palace guards, etc. I then headed back to the apartment to meet Mike.

I picked up Mike and we rode the tube back to Westminster station and walked to the pier. We caught the City Cruise ferry going to Greenwich. This ferry was more of a tourist ferry and provided some commentary on the sites along the Thames River. It also had a nice snack bar so I had a delicious ham and cheese panini while we cruised. We crossed under several bridges but Tower Bridge is my favorite and by the end of the trip came to symbolize London for me.
IMG_6793.jpg

IMG_6799.jpg

As we crossed under the Waterloo bridge, the narrator told an interesting story of how the bridge was built during WWII by women. It's the only bridge in London that was built on time and under budget. No surprise there, women get things done!

We arrived at Greenwich around 2p and walked around a little bit, getting a plan together of the places we wanted to visit before closing time.
IMG_6805.jpg

The obligatory red telephone booth.
IMG_6809.jpg

WTH?
IMG_6811.jpg

We decided to head to the Royal Observatory first since Mike really wanted to see the Prime Meridian. To get there, we had to first walk through the National Maritime Museum.
IMG_6812.jpg

IMG_6835.jpg

This skater chick was hanging out in the museum with her board. :)
IMG_6813.jpg

After walking through the museum, there was a long path that wound up to the top of the hill where the prime meridian is located along with Flamsteed House, the original Observatory building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675.
IMG_6819.jpg

The red ball on top drops every day at 1p.

Of course we took the obligatory, stand on the line pictures.
IMG_6824.jpg

IMG_6828.jpg

There were other telescopic instruments to see as well.
IMG_6832.jpg

The view from the top was beautiful. There was a lovely contrast of the green fields with the fall-colored trees against the gray city. Lots of families were there and many dogs, running and playing.
IMG_6830.jpg

IMG_6833.jpg

We then made our way down to see the Cutty Sark, a wooden clipper ship, built in 1869.
IMG_6808.jpg

In the beginning, the Cutty Sark was sailed back and forth to China in the tea trade. But the opening of the Suez Canal and the popularity of steamships made sailing vessels in the tea trade virtually obsolete. She was then used in the wool trade with Australia for a number of years until that trade also became dominated by steamships. By 1922, she was used only as a cadet training ship until being dry docked in Greenwich in 1954. She is open to the public for full tours as a memorial to the Merchant Navy and those who lost their lives in both world wars.

The berths
IMG_6843.jpg

IMG_6844.jpg

IMG_6847.jpg

IMG_6848.jpg

IMG_6850.jpg

The copper hull
IMG_6853.jpg

Our last visit was to the Old Royal Naval College.
IMG_6837.jpg

IMG_6859.jpg

In 1692, the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich was built here. It closed in 1869 and four years later, the Royal Navy took over using it as a training facility. They Royal Navy left the premises in 1998 and it became a tourist attraction. The two main buildings to visit here are the Painted Hall and the Chapel. The Painted Hall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was used primarily as a dining hall for veterans staying at the hospital. It's the fanciest cafeteria I've ever seen!
IMG_6854.jpg

IMG_6856.jpg

The nearby Chapel was used for worship by the seaman and for many years had no pews. It was destroyed by fire in 1779 but redesigned and rebuilt with a heavy Greek influence.
IMG_6857.jpg

IMG_6860.jpg

IMG_6862.jpg

By now it was getting dark and we were getting tired and hungry so we decided to grab some food at The Old Brewery at the Royal Naval College. We split a gigantic plate of fish and chips and Mike tried the local beer, Meantime. We took the faster, Thames Clipper ferry back to Westminster then the tube home. London at night is even more beautiful than London during the day.
IMG_6864.jpg

IMG_6865.jpg

We watched a little BBC then called it a night.

Posted by deniseandmike 14:39 Archived in England Tagged london england Comments (0)

England Day 6: Hatless Horse Racing

Mike woke up this morning not feeling well. He was having a flare up of his FMF so he took some medication and went back to sleep for a while. We had plans to take the train to Ascot for the horse races. They didn't start until 1p so we had a little bit of time to work with. I passed the time watching "Jeremy Kyle," the British version of Jerry Springer, only much more polite and low key. The show still had the same white trash premise but without the physical fighting and cussing.

We were really looking forward to the horse races as it's something totally different that most visitors to England don't do. I researched the proper attire for our visit and discovered that during what is called "jumps" season, the attire is more casual than during Royal Ascot. We still needed to dress up more than we usually would if going to the horse races here in the U.S. but fancy dresses weren't necessary. I, however, really wanted to wear a fascinator hat and I didn't think that would be inappropriate based on the pictures I'd seen. I couldn't decide between a red one and a grey one so I ordered both, took pictures, and took a poll amongst my friends and family. The red hat won hands down so I built the rest of my outfit around the hat.

By 10:30a, Mike was feeling well enough to go so we took the tube to the Waterloo train station. Mike didn't want me to wear my red hat on the train so I took it in a little bag. We arrived in Ascot around 1:30p and walked along the path from the station to the racecourse.
IMG_6726.jpg

When we got inside, I was really glad Mike had me bring the hat in a bag. Not one person was wearing a hat! I was so disappointed and not brave enough to be the only one.
IMG_6746.jpg

The racecourse was beautiful and green. I wasn't expecting that. The racecourses here in the U.S. are dirt.
IMG_6730.jpg

IMG_6731.jpg

On one side, there was grandstand seating to watch the races.
IMG_6742.jpg

This side was shaded and very cold that day.
IMG_6747.jpg

On the other side, the horses were brought out before and after each race for presentation. That side was sunny and warmer.
IMG_6727.jpg

IMG_6729.jpg

There were six races scheduled for the day and we had missed the first two. The third race was about to start so we hurriedly decided on which horses to bet. We each bet five pounds - me on A Hare Breath and Mike on Tradewinds. My horse had 25:1 odds but I liked the name A Hare Breath since our greyhounds were bred to chase rabbits.
IMG_6736.jpg

IMG_6739.jpg

The winners' circle.
IMG_6743.jpg

IMG_6745.jpg

My horse came in a close second. That would have been a nice win with such high odds.

The fourth race came around about 30 minutes later and we decided to up our bets to ten pounds each. I bet on Simply Wings (because I love wings) and Mike bet on Greywell Boy. They did not win.
IMG_6749.jpg

IMG_6751.jpg

Towards the end of the race, one horse threw its jockey and finished alone.
IMG_6753.jpg

After the fourth race, I went downstairs to check out the Christmas village. I had been really excited about it but that excitement was pretty short-lived. When I first read about the Christmas village, I imagined these little, crafty-type booths with Christmas decorations and homemade items. Instead, it was frou-frou sweaters and paintings, none with a Christmas theme whatsoever. Needless to say, I did not spend long walking through the village.
IMG_6755.jpg

The fifth race was a huge race with 12 horses and it was hard to decide which to bet on. I went with There's No Panic and Mike went with Annacotty. The leaderboard kept track of the changing odds as the bets were placed.
IMG_6762.jpg

IMG_6763.jpg

IMG_6765.jpg

Lost again! We are not good at this!

Last chance - race six. I went with Brinestine because it was an American horse and Mike went with Specialagent Alfie.
IMG_6770.jpg

Again there was no payoff but it had been a fun day. As we were leaving for the walk back to the train station, we watched them cool the horses down in the winners' circle. You could see the steam rising from the horses in the cold air.
IMG_6772.jpg

IMG_6774.jpg

Beautiful creatures!

We walked back to the train station and joined the crowd waiting for the train back to London. Unfortunately, the only other Americans there were what appeared to be three very drunk, college students who were bragging about how much money they had bet and lost at the races. I guess they thought they were high rollers or something. They would talk to anyone who would listen. When they approached us, Mike talked to them in the best British accent he could muster so they wouldn't know we were American! What an embarrassment! The train arrived and we luckily found a couple of seats. Mike was starting to wane a bit so he immediately fell asleep when we sat down. I busied myself by reading some London-equivalent of the National Enquirer that actually had nudie pics in it! Apparently England does not have the same censorship standards the U.S. does.

We made it back to the apartment and Mike crashed on the sofa. I had another picnic with the items from Borough Market and watched NCIS reruns. I never watch NCIS but one of the shows I happened to watch was all about the medication that Mike is currently taking for his newly diagnosed FMF. I was able to help solve the crime because of my research on his disease. Afterwards, I tried my hand at some night-time pics from our balcony. The lit buildings in the distance are in Canary Wharf.
IMG_6775.jpg

Posted by deniseandmike 11:47 Archived in England Tagged london england Comments (0)

England Day 5: Eyes Over London

We were once again up early for our 9:45a train from Liverpool to London. After sharing a bacon and egg sandwich with HP sauce and a side of hashbrowns at the hotel restaurant, we stepped outside to wait for our taxi. The night before, I arranged for a car to take us to the train station. The front desk person told us it might be difficult to hail a taxi in the morning. So we waited....and waited...and waited. I started getting irritated and went inside to ask at the front desk about the car. The woman on duty called the car service who said they were on their way. We waited some more. I got more irritated. She called again. Again they said they were on their way. It was getting late and I was worried we were going to miss our train. Finally, we see the car coming down the street. The jerk doesn't stop. He drives right by. By now, I've had enough. I yell at Mike to grab the luggage and we walked down to the corner to a larger intersection. Just a few feet away is a taxi stand with a line of taxis. I was furious. It's obvious to me now that the hotel and the car service have some sort of mutual agreement or they wouldn't have told me it was difficult to get a taxi. By now we only have 20 minutes to make our train. We flagged a taxi and explained the situation. He did an awesome job of getting us there. We made our train with only a couple of minutes to spare. Our reserved tickets were once again for the quiet car but Mike was not having that! We ditched it and went to a regular car where we could talk without fear of dirty looks.

About two hours later we arrived at London's Euston Station where we had left from just three days earlier.
IMG_6683.jpg

DSC05577.jpg

We were welcomed by the usual train station welcoming committee.
DSC05578.jpg

DSC05579.jpg

We purchased our seven day travelcards, good on the tube and buses, then lugged our bags over to the tube station where we hopped on the Jubilee line to make our way to Bermondsey station. We were heading to our apartment where we'd be spending the next six nights. After a fairly short ride, we arrived at Bermondsey, and set off on the "short" walk with our bags. It actually was a fairly short walk to our apartment but after all of the travelling and then having to deal with hauling bags over uneven streets and sidewalks, it seemed to take forever.
DSC05580.jpg

We finally arrived at the apartment around 2p. We were staying in the Southwark borough of London, right on the River Thames. I found a great little one-bedroom apartment with fabulous reviews on vrbo. Our hosts, Janet and Peter, were there to greet us and show us around. They gave us some instructions and tips and left us to settle in.

The entryway. The front door is to the left of the red suitcase and the door to the bedroom is to the right.
IMG_7165.jpg

The bedroom, with an entrance to the terrace.
IMG_7164.jpg

The kitchen.
IMG_7163.jpg

The bathroom.
IMG_7170.jpg

The living room, with another entrance to the terrace.
IMG_7166.jpg

The large terrace, with views over the River Thames.
IMG_7167.jpg

We got things settled and then took off again back to the tube. We wanted to make it over to Borough Market before closing.
IMG_6686.jpg

And I am so glad we did. What an incredible place! Borough Market has everything - fresh fish, meats, cheeses, fruits, produce, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. There are also tons of homemade meals that you can purchase and eat there or take home. I would love to have a place like this close to home.

Paella
IMG_7083.jpg

Fish
IMG_7084.jpg

Stuffed pies
IMG_7086.jpg

Cheeses
IMG_7087.jpg

Produce
IMG_7088.jpg

Wild pheasant, anyone?
IMG_6688.jpg

We bought a variety of foods to have a snack-type dinner at home that night then jumped back on the tube for our next destination, the London Eye.
IMG_6696.jpg

The London Eye is a giant ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames River.
IMG_6694.jpg

At one time it was the world's largest ferris wheel but has now been surpassed by the High Roller in Las Vegas. There are 32 sealed and air-conditioned capsules which hold 25 passengers each. The Eye does not stop for loading/unloading but moves continuously, taking about 30 minutes for a complete rotation. Passengers can move around inside the capsule, taking pictures around all sides.
IMG_6704.jpg

We got some great pictures of the city sights at night.
IMG_6708.jpg

IMG_6713.jpg

IMG_6715.jpg

IMG_6718.jpg

IMG_6719.jpg

IMG_6720.jpg

It had been a long day and by now, we were exhausted. Mike had even fallen asleep on the Eye! We got back on the tube and made the short ride back to our apartment. I laid out our Borough Market treats for dinner but by the time I was done, Mike was already asleep again.

3 different types of venison sausage, anchovy wrapped olives, plain olives, pepper cheese, French bread, and white truffle oil
IMG_6725.jpg

So I enjoyed the treats myself, watched "Ocean's Eleven", and caught up on emails home. I feel asleep myself soon after.

Posted by deniseandmike 14:32 Archived in England Tagged london england Comments (0)

England Day 4: Fab Four Fun

We woke fairly early on Wednesday morning to another cold, windy, and rainy day. We had scheduled a 9a tour of the Beatles' sights in Liverpool. But first we grabbed some breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
IMG_6566.jpg

I had eggs benedict and Mike had a sausage and egg sandwich.
IMG_6570.jpg

Mike is a huge Beatles fan so he was looking forward to our 3-hour private tour. Our guide, Jay, arrived right on time and we made our way to our first stop, the Mount Pleasant register office. This is where John Lennon married his first wife, Cynthia Powell, on August 23, 1962.
IMG_6573.jpg

John Lennon was born at the Liverpool Maternity Hospital on October 9, 1940, now a student residence hall. Sixty years later, this plaque was placed there in his honor.
IMG_6575.jpg

From there, you can glimpse the interesting architecture of the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, also called Paddy's Wigwam.
IMG_6574.jpg

After John and Cynthia were married, they lived in Brian Epstein's secret apartment at 36 Falkner Street. Epstein was the manager of the Beatles and a suspected homosexual. He kept a secret apartment where he met his boyfriends out of the public eye. While living at this apartment, John Lennon wrote, "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" on the toilet there.
IMG_6577.jpg

John first met Cynthia in 1957 when they were both students at the Liverpool College of Art, shown here in the background.
IMG_6585.jpg

Also in the picture, Jay and I are standing by a sculpture of concrete luggage called, "A Case History." Each bag has a tag referring to a notable person or institution from Liverpool. These guitar cases have tags labeled for Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
270_IMG_6579.jpg

The lambanana, the artistic symbol of Liverpool. It's a cross between a lamb and a banana, both once common cargo on Liverpool's trading docks. There are eight of these across Liverpool and each is painted in a different pattern.
IMG_6583.jpg

We took a small break from Beatles' sights and stopped off at the breathtakingly beautiful Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the UK which took 74 years to build.
IMG_6586.jpg

IMG_6587.jpg

IMG_6588.jpg

The neighboring graveyard is over 600 years old.
IMG_6591.jpg

Back on the Beatles' route, we stopped off at Ringo Starr's birthplace and first home at 9 Madryn Street.
IMG_6595.jpg

When the bricking was re-done, the construction guys wrote the word "Beatles" acrosst the top in mortar.
IMG_6597.jpg

A few blocks away is the bar where Ringo's mom worked when he was a child. Coincidentally, our guide's family owned this building at one time and when he and his now-wife were dating, she fell asleep in the second floor bedroom with a lit cigarette and almost burned the whole place down.
IMG_6598.jpg

Around the corner from the bar, at 10 Admiral Grove, is the home where Ringo lived until he was 21 years old.
IMG_6600.jpg

We then made our way to the infamous Penny Lane, the bus stop on the street where Paul McCartney and John Lennon would meet to catch the bus.
IMG_6603.jpg

"the shelter in the middle of the roundabout"
IMG_6604.jpg

The barber shop mentioned in the song
IMG_6607.jpg

Not far from Penny Lane is Paul McCartney's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road. Here Paul wrote "I Saw Her Standing There" and "When I'm 64."
IMG_6613.jpg

John Lennon's childhood home, where he lived with his Aunt Mimi, is also not far.
IMG_6619.jpg

And just behind it is the Salvation Army children's home where John played as a child, which inspired the song, "Strawberry Fields Forever".
IMG_6616.jpg

And, finally, the home of the last Beatle, George Harrison, where he lived just before becoming famous and buying his parents a new house, at 174 Makets Lane.
IMG_6623.jpg

Paul and John met for the first time at this church hall during a concert of various bands in 1957. Paul helped John tune his guitar.
IMG_6624.jpg

Across the street is the graveyard where later they would go to drink and write songs. There they would be inspired by the gravestone of Eleanor Rigby.
IMG_6626.jpg

Our ride for the tour.
IMG_6630.jpg

The tour ended with a stop at the Casbah Coffee Club, the place where the Beatles truly got their start. The Casbah was a small club located in the cellar of the Best family home in Liverpool. Mona Best got the idea of the club from a similar one she'd heard about in London. She sold all of her Indian gold jewelry and bet the proceeds on a horse with 33:1 odds. That horse won and she bought this big house and opened the Casbah in 1959. The Beatles, minus Ringo Starr and then known as the Quarrymen, played at the Casbah quite frequently and even helped Mona paint the inside before the grand opening.
IMG_6634.jpg

Lennon carved his name in the wood wall.
IMG_6637.jpg

Mona's son, Pete Best, became the Beatles' first drummer in 1960. He was later fired from the band and replaced by Ringo Starr. His brother, Rory, gives the tours of the Casbah.

The unbelievably small stage.
IMG_6640.jpg

IMG_6641.jpg

IMG_6644.jpg

Rory Best and Mike on the larger stage built a few years later.
IMG_6648.jpg

It was early afternoon when we left the Casbah and still rainy and cold. It was our plan to travel out to the beach to see Antony Gormley's "Another Place" statues but it was just too miserably cold. Jay offered to drop us off at the Cavern Club, a larger downtown club where the Beatles played when they became more famous. We agreed.

Jay had been an excellent tour guide and we enjoyed our morning with him. He even made the Beatles interesting for someone who is not a big fan.
IMG_6652.jpg

A musician outside the Cavern Club.
IMG_6653.jpg

The Cavern Club has been the center of rock 'n roll in Liverpool for over 50 years. It's several stories underground and the walls are made entirely of brick. The Beatles first played there in 1961. Since the weather was so bad, we stayed there for a good three hours or so and watched several sets. The music was great and they even had a great strawberry cider on tap that I loved.
IMG_6658.jpg

IMG_6661.jpg

IMG_6668.jpg

After the club, we walked to a little shop and bought some souvenirs then took a taxi to Italian Club Fish for our dinner reservation.
IMG_6682.jpg

IMG_6679.jpg

Dinner was fabulous! We shared a bottle of white wine. Mike had smoked salmon with toast and I had lightly fried calamari and prawns with chips.
IMG_6678.jpg

We walked outside after dinner to find a taxi back to the hotel and a local bum asked us for some money. When we answered that we didn't have any cash, he could tell we were American. He then asked us if we thought Bush was a good man. What a loaded question! Now I don't think Bush was a good President but I don't think he's a bad person so I said yes. Well that just opened the door. He then started on this huge rant about Bush and Saudi Arabia and how he wanted to teach us some history. Ugh! I told him to get lost and we went on our way. It then took us three attempts to get a taxi. The first one we tried had no idea where our hotel was. The second one we tried, we believe, the driver was high as a kite. Finally, the third one was sober and seemed to know where he was going. Success!

Posted by deniseandmike 16:27 Archived in England Tagged england liverpool Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 48) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 »