Here I am in the town where I was born: Liverpool, England. It's 43 years since I was here.
The flight from Boston to London was smooth. I was able to upgrade to business class for $500. Considering that my whole round the world ticket, at business class rates, would have cost $16,000 instead of the $4500 I paid for Economy, 500 bucks is a drop in the ocean. No, I'm not joking about the 16 grand. Business class is definitely the way to go if you can get it: leg room, proper reclining seat, decent sized TV/DVD screen with real headphones, 4 course meal, bottomless wine glass, attentive crew, etc etc etc. Seductive.
Ha, then back to economy for the flight from Heathrow to Manchester - squishy seats, bacon roll and lukewarm tea. Hahaha, back to reality!
In keeping with this magically charmed trip I'm having, the 2 strangers sent to pick me up at Manchester recognised me and I recognised them. Thank you Keith and Richie :)
I'm staying with my aunty Sheila and uncle Les in West Derby - not that far from where I used to live. Haven't checked out the old house yet but I will.
Sheila and the extended family have welcomed me with open arms and gone out of their way to make me feel at home. Once again I'm spoiled rotten. Don't know who my guardian angel is but she/he is working overtime :)
I've only been into the city centre once so far - parts of it seemed very familiar: road names, buildings, etc. A lot of it has changed lots - been a lot of modernisation, touristy additions, etc. The first place I looked at was The Cavern. I was nowhere near old enough to see it when I lived here originally. It is a tiny tiny place. Surprisingly small. It closed in 1973 but has since reopened and operates as a music venue again, but also, now, has its eye well and truly on the tourist dollar/pound. The interior is all brick and every one of them is covered with people's names. Must add mine next time I'm there.
From there I walked down to the Pier Head and Albert Dock - on the Mersey. Recognised the Three Graces immediately. They're the 3 big buildings along the waterfont - the Liver building is the one I most remember. Seeing the Liver Birds on top of the building almost brought a tear to my eye. The ferry leaves from the Pier Head. I remember taking the ferry often when I was young. Haven't done the ride yet but will soon.
Instead of the ferry I decided to visit the Tate Gallery instead. Picasso exhibition. £10 entry to that, the general gallery is free. I've never been much of a fan of Picasso but, like any art, once you see it for real..... impressive. The exhibition is titled Peace and Freedom and includes works from the post-WW2 period. The most impressive piece was The Charnel House - referring to the murders of a Spanish Republican family in their home by Franco's forces. It reminded me strongly of Guernica in that it's black, grey, white and is done in that same style. It's unfinished though and sketch lines, etc, can still be seen on the canvas. Picasso's justification for this was apparently: "Only death finishes something." The rest of the exhibition featured a range of works - some landscapes, the dove of peace, the Algerian Women, lots of skulls (reflecting the carnage that had recently occurred), etc. Worth the money.
Apart from that I've been catching up with family, meeting most of them for the first time and hearing lots of stories about my mum'n'dad and others.
I haven't done much touristy stuff yet and I'm ready to start doing that again now. So much to see and do, I don't know where to start.
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2 years ago