Earlier this week I visited Liverpool for the first time in many years. It is all part of my plan to explore the area which I recently moved to in Cheshire. My memories of the city were very negative from the last visit I made over 30 years ago……….and yes, I know it is a long time and things would probably have changed.
The journey was by local train and proved to be a very pleasant thirty minutes passing through some nice countryside, the obvious delights of Runcorn !!!) and eventually arriving at Liverpool Lime Street.
Leaving the station I saw a pub across the road and emblazoned across the top of the building was an old fashioned sign that said “Walkers Ales Warrington”. I first encountered the legendary Walkers “pint of bitter” as an illegal drinker, given that I was only sixteen years of age, in about 1964 at a country pub in Glazebury.
We made our way through the shopping centre (with some very upmarket shops) down to the Albert Dock, which seems to be the place every visitor to the city heads for. We passed a couple of “Beatles” exhibitions and I chose to give them a miss as I was always a Rolling Stones fan rather than the Beatles, you couldn’t really be both back in the 1960s.
There are a number of exhibitions on at various venues around Albert Dock but the weather was so lovely we gave them all a miss and wandered along the bank of the Mersey, and watching the legendary ferry that travels from Pier head to Birkenhead (those old enough will remember the song “Ferry across the Mersey” by Gerry and the Pacemakers).
Whilst walking along the riverside I noticed thousands of locks attached to the chains, which run the length of the front. I first encountered this practice over ten years ago (left by newly married couples) in Uzupis, a district of Vilnius the capital of Lithuania. But it is the first time I have come across it in the UK. Maybe there is a big Lithuanian contingent now resident in the city?
Standing at the riverside affords some stunning views of the architecture that graces this fine city, one could even draw some comparison with Madrid such is the similarity at times. And of course it is impossible to ignore the famous building that is adorned by the two iconic “Liver Birds.”
Walking around the city centre you only have to look up to see some of the wonderful buildings that grace the city, including the beautiful Marks and Spencer building, currently undergoing some minor refurbishment.
A quick lunch then it was back home on the train………..a lovely day out and a place I shall visit again very soon.
I have to say that I have always had an affinity with Manchester, as I was born not far away and always considered it my “local” city. However, recent visits have left me dismayed at the state of the city, it is dirty, shopping has gone downmarket and the streets are blighted with beggars and rough sleepers. I think I may be transferring my custom (and affections) to Liverpool in future.