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  • Devin Gackle

Journals from Across the Pond: 2 Days in Liverpool, England (Day 1)

The road to Liverpool was filled with the music of the Beatles blasting through a portable speaker, and the voices of at least half our group singing along. We arrived in mid-afternoon, first getting settled at our Beatles-themed hotel (a.k.a. the best hotel ever.)

The lobby was funky and cozy, with a Beatles music mural on one wall; a bar sat in the middle, dividing the lobby from the breakfast area. Each room was theme-decorated after a Beatles song, most commonly Strawberry Fields, Ticket To Ride, and like the room I shared with one of my friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Our guide then took us around to get to know the city. We passed by the library, went down Mathew Street, pausing outside the Cavern Club and at the Liverpool Wall of Fame, which has the names of famous musicians engraved in bricks, then finally ending at the Liverpool Waterfront.

The concrete walk stretches long, and on this sunny, warm day, was perfectly picturesque, with the sea shimmering beyond the rail. Here our guide gave us a little history of the city, including why there’s an eagle that doesn’t look like an eagle on top of the Royal Liver Building (the artist had never seen an eagle, and so didn’t know what one looked like.)

Then she sat down in front of one of the oddly shaped statues painted all over with various bright colors and lining the dock in a neat little row, explaining that these were lambananas. As in, part lamb, part banana.

The original—the superlambanana—was commissioned in 1998 to promote art in Liverpool as part of the Art Transpennine Exhibition, and the mini lambananas were designed later. The artist, Taro Chiezo, took inspiration from the city’s history, as lambs and bananas used to be some of Liverpool’s regular cargo; it also ended up being a kind of statement on the consequences of genetic engineering.

We were so taken with these lamb-banana hybrids that the superlambanana became our mascot for the remainder of the trip. A few of us made it a goal to find the superlambanana, who was not on the dock.

We were then free to explore, and by that time we were all hungry. A large group of us wandered down the waterfront, past the Museum of Liverpool, the locks of love, and the Canning dock until we reached Albert Dock, where there were many brick buildings lined with shops and restaurants. It was a pleasant walk down the walkway, taking in the industrial vibe and the scenery of the sailboats and motorboats lining the walls of the walkway.

We stopped at a restaurant in the corner of the dock called What’s Cooking; I ordered their Scooby Snack burger. And let me tell you, it certainly lives up to its name—I’m pretty sure only Scooby or Shaggy could finish that burger in one go. I did eat a good portion of it—a double burger with cheese, bacon, and pineapple heaped on top, and side of chili cheese fries, yumm.

After that we headed back over to Mathew Street to check out the one and only Cavern Club. Underground and dimly lit in a classic rock atmosphere, it boasted displays of iconic classic rock bands, a small stage in the center (between the arched walkways), and a jam-packed crowd that included most—if not all—of our tour group.

A Beatles cover band—even dressed in black turtlenecks—played many favorited Beatles tunes and other classic rock hits, and nearly everyone was singing and swaying along. It’s still my favorite part about Liverpool.

We poked into a couple other bars on the street after the band was done, stopping at one that was hosting karaoke. I didn’t get a chance to sing anything, but a few of our other tour-mates did, and we enjoyed cheering them on.

As the night went on, we all returned to the hotel to hang out in the lobby and play Cards Against Humanity (there were a bunch of games in the lobby.) It was late by the time we called it, all of us aware we only had one more day to enjoy not just Liverpool, but one more day to experience England before boarding a ferry for Ireland.

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