Tue 24 Sep - Liverpool, England

More of Liverpool and catching up with Louise from Cairns, Australia who was formerly resident in this area.

Apologies for a massive photo day. It was just so much that we felt we had to include in the blog and of course, catching up with somebody you haven't seen for a while triggers "trigger happiness"...

First off though is a photo out from our room on the first floor of The Old Dairy. We just needed to include a pic from behind a row of Liverpool terraces - and the kennel which belongs to the dog that barks every time Hans is near the window. Fair enough, we figure the poor dog must be bored.

We had organised to meet Louise at Albert Docks at noon, so we decided to wander into town from the Old Dairy Inn and potter a bit beforehand. This is how we walked...

Old gas storages becoming art and features of the Liverpudlian streetscape. This was just 5 minutes from where we stayed on Cadogan Street.

We don't know what this park was called off Spekeland Road, but it looked nice...

...until you looked further down Spekeland Road...

...then this stretch looked positively as something out of the TV series "Cops". You know, one of those backstreets that are very familiar to the coppers as a place where drug deals take place after dark.

High fencing everywhere, broken glass on top of many of the walls, barbed wire... you get the picture...

We walked right onto Tunnel Road which is where Edge Hill train station is.

It appeared from the timetable that Manchester's Piccadilly station is less than one hour away from Liverpool's Lime station, the respective towns main train stations. Not really that far.

Di popped into an antique shop, or should that be junk shop, while Hans explored the train station.

The antique furniture shop had been there since 1957 and to Di it looked like some stuff had not moved out since - just more piled on top. We could have spent an hour or more gaping at all the things on display.

Thumbs down from Di to Harbord Street... Is that because they have not yet updated the name to Freshwater? Or because she has no fond feelings to certain inhabitants there? She did not explain...

This place looked like a prison - razor wife, high fences, climb proof paint - what is it?

...very sad - Children's Services. Whatever happens here must have started with a bad news story. We were not even sure whether the fencing was to keep inhabitants in or outsiders out. We quickly moved on.

Further down on Oxford Street we ventured into the university district and the University of Liverpool - where young fresh hope springs eternal...

We just had to photograph one of these newish looking pedestrian crossings. There are no pedestrian lights on the other side of the street where they normally are. Instead, they are down at eye level on the side you start from. No, we have not got used to them yet.

In aptly named University Square, we found a student cafe and decided we could benefit with a hot cuppa and the "ambiance" of chatty happy students around us.

A cup of Joe for Hans in this very black / red environment.

And a cup of tea for Di.

The interesting thing about this cafe is that it was the first time in the UK that VAT (Value Added Tax) was not included in the published prices. Hence 2 * £1.20 became £2.88 once the 20% tax was added. And we thought that we left this behind in North America.

University Square looking towards the old part of the Uni. One guy was selling wall posters for £7 per large poster, perfect for student accommodation. We could see posters from "The Big Bang Theory", Einstein of course and Pink Floyd album covers. Einstein to the right in this picture.

We have passed Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral several times already in our travel, but never at street level. It is an odd mix of old and new.

We loosely made our way towards where we thought that Chinatown would be and suddenly saw this enormous cathedral. Liverpool Cathedral is the largest Anglican cathedral in the world and the 5th largest cathedral overall. We just had to check it out.

Free to get in means we are in business. Mighty impressive one may say. One way...

...and the other.

This seemingly random set of colored tiles showed all different kind of figures and motives at closer look, including the obvious religious motifs.

We were also very impressed with the entrepreneurship of the church. They had positively taken the cathedral into the 21st century with a raised coffee shop offering internal views and a gift shop underneath. More on this later...

There was a plaque on the floor honoring the architect. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was only 22yo when he designed the cathedral, but it then took more than 50 years to fully build it to his specifications. In fact, he never saw it completed in his lifetime.

Then we found out that you can actually get up to the tower of the cathedral. Here the entrepreneurship strikes again as this will set you back £5 for this added experience, but you are provided with this "map". We can tell you right now that it was definitely worth the money.

In addition to designing this huge Liverpool Cathedral, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott also designed this... The very familiar British red telephone box. Not such a complex and huge project as the cathedral one would assume...

Di was discussing the gameplan with the tower attendant (shall we call him...)

Now, as per the tower map, you use a mix of lifts and odd and narrow walkways... This was... Different.

I think that we are still on the right track... Can you get lost moving vertically?

Then we found ourselves in a big hollow space together with the church bells...

...which all had different names as this overview explains. The big bell is not big. It is Great. Great George.

After negotiating the maze of lifts and 108 stairs, we finally reached the top of the tower. View...? Fantastic, although it was a bit of haze on the day. The main building is the Radio City tower.

River Mersey with the rectangular brown buildings around Albert Docks in front of it.

The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral we passed earlier in the day.

Looking straight down where there were graves beneath street level.

These very lovely houses were looking across to the Liverpool Cathedral and we found out later that many of the people who became wealthy due to the slave trade used to live here and the street used to be called Gambia Row.

A few pics from the top of the tower. We came up from within the greenish hut to the left of Di.

Selfportrait of Hans "standing" on the outside looking in...

Di, as usual, smiled at the bloke who had the top of the tower duty, and then he came out to chat and just kept going...

On the way down, we were encouraged to stop at level 3 where there was an exhibition as well as great views of the inside of the cathedral. This is level 3...? Looked a lot higher to us.

Yep, Liverpool Cathedral is impressive from every angle.

On our way out, we were temporarily held up as a short prayer service was conducted at noon. Sit down or stand still were our options, but don't move. As the preacher said, the cathedral is still foremost a place for worship.

Louise texted to say that she would be a little late and so were we, but we still did a small detour through Chinatown, apparently Britain's oldest. Impressive arch though.

However, on the other side of the arch there was little commerce. Most restaurants, which were really not that many, were closed with shutters drawn as unlike in Oz they don't do business at lunch time. Anyway, we had to move on.

We caught up with Louise at Albert Docks and she suggested a drive out of town across the Mersey to the Wirral peninsula. Louise spent her first 17 years living in this house at Wallasey. A mandatory photo of this nostalgic moment beckoned...

Louise's old street, which we didn't catch the name of, with a golf course opposite. Apparently, there has been a theme developed where she finds herself with a residence close to or even within golf courses.

After a drive to check out New Brighton, we moved on to Chester, another town with a strong a Roman past, at Louise's suggestion. Chester is in the south of the peninsula and very close to the Welsh border. Chester was THE port town until the River Dee silted up and the Port business moved to Liverpool.

It was another truly beautiful day and we found a very nice lunch place called the "The Architect". We sat outside and enjoyed the food and the sunshine.

There is a very intact Roman wall around Chester which can be walked upon and that's what we did after lunch. Not the full loop, but as follows...

Warning, several photos of us on the Roman wall follows...

View from the wall and a bridge across the river Dee.

We warned you...

For the first time during our trip we encountered autumn colours. It looked very pretty.

Find Hans and Louise in this picture...

Within the city there is a large portion which is very Tudor, called Rows. Particularly, High Street of Chester one way...

...and the other. Di was checking it all out.

The obligatory self portrait from underneath Eastgate.

Di on High Street...very photogenic.

Hans next to a plaque confirming that we were at Eastgate and that this gate had been in use since Roman times.

High Street was lined with shops on two levels, going through a variety of different buildings and styles, but Tudor styles were certainly very common in the centre of Chester. Di and Louise are looking down from a great example.

What was called a Mercat Cross in Scotland is called a High Cross in England, a place where the town crier performed his duties. This guy went even further and offered his services to the public.

Louise had spent a fair amount of time in Chester as a youngster and wanted to relive some of that. The Debenhams department store used to be a Brown's Department Store in the old days, but they still had a tea shop/cafe in a crypt, below street level. So we decided to have afternoon tea and scones there.

Looking back into the crypt. Not your everyday coffee shop, is it?

After a quick visit into Chester Cathedral, at 5pm, we decided to call that it had been a full day of sightseeing. Louise had a dinner appointment in Manchester, but she still drove us back to Wavertree and The Old Dairy. Very kind. We said goodbye to Louise just before 6pm and then had a quiet night with Di using leftover bits and pieces to cook us some dinner.

Liverpool has turned out to be far more interesting that we could have imagined. We wouldn't even have gone here if it wasn't to catch up with Louise for a day, but now we were very happy that we did.

So all good, but tired, so good night from us.


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