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Published: November 4th 2019
Re-imagined office building
At 5:50 p.m. I am sitting in Darby Square
, one of the few places with benches for sitting. The other cities also had a similar dearth of public benches, as if they are scared of people loitering with intent. I was going to have a cup of tea and write these notes; unfortunately, the streets are becoming empty, and shops and non-pub cafés are closing.
Just a few minutes ago I explored Matthew Street
, the self-advertised “Beginning of the Beatles”. A version of the Cavern Club
is there and doing a roaring trade from grey-haired tourists - the first place in England the band played according to the Beatles tours pamphlets. Along the one-block street are Beatles-themed pubs, clubs and souvenir stores, but the advertising is circumspect enough that I doubt any of them actually existed at the time.
This has been a slow day for me, much needed. I bought the breakfast at the hotel, and seeing few other options outside, I will probably buy it for my whole stay (must be bought in advance). I drifted through the possible plans for the day and chose to wander to the nearby Docklands area, rehabilitated in the last few decades from a
Cormorant plus extras
seedy rundown existence. The morning was chilly enough to send me back for my fleece under my jacket, and drizzle challenged my taking pictures of the magnificent stone buildings of the Edwardian era. Each one was an imposing statement of “I am here!”. In this century new grand statements have been made by ultra-modern buildings such as the Museum of Liverpool
, “Discovery”, and some offices. In the nearby Tourist Centre, I booked a walking tour for tomorrow morning.
Outside I remembered to take a picture of the River Mersey
in commemoration of the Beatles’ song. Farther on was the Tate Liverpool
, inside the famous Albert Dock
. The Dock used to be the focal point of trans-Atlantic trade, including the slave trade. Now its red-brick magnificence is home to the Tate and lots of restaurants and tourist shops. As are all museums and galleries in the UK and Ireland, entrance was free, except for the special exhibition. Looking at the galleries and themes in the Tate, I was disappointed – perhaps I was spoiled by the museums in Chicago, New York and Toronto visited last year. The themes were hard to follow without reading the notes, and the lighting was depressing. Many of the paintings
Zobop by Jim Lambie 1999
Dizzying optical illusion
were covered in glass, and the position of the lights made for glare. The most famous works were one Picasso and one Warhol. By far, the most entrancing artwork was on the floor of two rooms where the artist had meticulously applied coloured tape in a geometric pattern that tricked the eye into thinking the floor had dips and rises. Good fun.
Within an hour, I had seen everything sufficiently. Since I was hungry, I bought a strangely tasty open-faced sandwich in the café. On ciabatta bread, bite-sized pieces of pot roast, small sweet green peppers and the sauce of the roast had been placed and drizzled with light mayonnaise.
Fortified, my next exploration was for a Boots store because my eyes were irritated; the woman at the Information Centre had marked two Boots on the map for me. About a block away from the docks, I suddenly found myself in a huge pedestrian mall. Lots more people were out walking and shopping and eating compared to this morning, or even last evening. Boots was easy, and I enjoyed walking back to the hotel in a not-too-straight direction. Liverpool is much easier to navigate than Edinburgh. I remembered,
Lamb Shish Kebob
Delicious speciality of Shiraz Restaurant
however, that a lot of the old dock area was bombed flat in WWII – surprising there is anything left.
After a welcome nap, what I really wanted to do was sit outside and write these notes. And I have.
For dinner I was suddenly inspired to eat at the cute Turkish restaurant
down the street. Excellent ground lamb kebabs with a well-spiced dipping sauce, rice and a small salad. Back at Zed, I enjoyed my large glass of red wine before tidying myself for an early sleep.
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