Friday, June 08, 2007

o/` We All Live In A Yellow Submarine..... o/`

June 7th, 2007

An early morning, bound for Liverpool via Virgin Rail. I
would not get up that early for most things while on
vacation, but, for The Beatles, I did.

After a 2-1/2 hour train ride, with only about 5 stops, the
rain arrived in Liverpool. I was excited. Yet, I was also
quite surprised. I had always pictured Liverpool as some
small little town tucked away, but here it was, a rather
large industrial city, with a lot of impressive architecture
in the main city buildings. It had been bombed heavily
during the war, so much of what one sees today is newer
and imposing. However, one unfortunate observation was
that too many of the statues and monuments were not
protected in any way from vandals and graffitti "artists".

The tour is one that is self-guided on the train, and when
you arrive in Liverpool. You are given a list of "things to
see" while there, plus admission to "The Beatles Story",
and a ticket to ride "The Magical Mystery Tour" Bus.
It also gives you admission to the Cavern Club, the place
where the Beatles once played daily at lunch, and packed
the place, enough to eventually lead to being discovered.

"The Beatles Story" is a museum you walk through at
your own pace, with an audio device. Key in a number
that is on a display, and you get to hear about that
item, with detailed background, often music, and many
more tidbits of information than I ever knew about.
There are lots of original items on display, as well as
recreated venues and settings. It's like going back in
time, and really brought back some memories.

Most touching though, was near the end, in the John
Lennon room, as they spoke of his life, and his fateful
day, while listening to "Imagine". That was touching.
I did not know (or did not remember) that Mark
David Chapman had gotten John Lennon's autograph
hours earlier as John & Yoko left the building. He was
still holding on to it, when they returned hours later,
and he shot John.

Once you take that tour, you then are able to board
the "Magical Mystery Tour" Bus, that takes you to
the birthplace and / or early homes of the Fab Four.
It also goes to "Penny Lane", "Strawberry Fields",
and other places of Beatle Interest. Some places you
are able to unboard and take pictures.

The bus then leaves everyone at the end, at Mathew
Street, a short otherwise non-remarkable street,
that holds more history than much of the rest of the
city. This is where The Cavern Club was. The
Beatles memoriabilia is up and down the alley, and
several shops sell everything from shirts, to post
cards, to refrigerator magnets, to lunch pails, etc.
It's quite a scene. On the exterior wall of the
original Cavern Club, the bricks have the names
etched in them, of those singers and / or groups,
that performed at the Cavern Club over the years.
Of course, The Beatles are in the coveted middle
spot, but also listed are Stevie Wonder, Cilla Black,
Gerry & The Pacemakers, and many others.
While many of those listed are world famous, also
listed there are the local groups, whether they ever
made it to the big arena or not.

Leaving Liverpool meant another 2-1/2 hour train
ride, but I did learn why taking a train, or a coach,
can be a very good things. Nap time.