A day by the sea

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March 6th 2008
Published: March 14th 2008
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Albert DocksAlbert DocksAlbert Docks

This is actually by the Salthouse dock, which is a part of the Albert Docks. It's the old pumphouse that has the impressive chimney.

European Capital of Culture 2008?

After a couple of hours on the oldest remaining railroad division in the world, we entered the Liverpool Lime Street station. During 2008, Liverpoool is denominatend the "European Capital of Culture". As a gothenburgian, remembering the strict prohibition of any construction project during the World Championships in Athletics 1995, I was very surprised to see that virtually the whole centre was a construction site! I read in the local paper that the City council had demanded money from the government, but didn't get everything they had been promised (according to the liberal democrats in charge). I guess that's why everything is delayed.

We started out by going down through the city, slave trade walk-map in hand (not mine, but you've guessed that already) to the Albert Dock, named after grand old Victoria's consort, and the combined Maritime/International Slavery museums. To be honest, we were disappointed. First of all, the signs in the first room at the Maritime museum were illegible. Light green text on white background!? *shudder* Secondly, the information in itself was not very well presented, and the "International" Slavery exhibitions were very British/American-oriented, even though slavery existed in several other countries around the world at the same time,

No, no birds, but construction cranes. We didn't capture more construction sites on photograph, but here's at least some.
before and after. Too bad. But since it's free entrance, it's still worth seeing, especially if you're not that much of an expert on the issues.

At Albert Docks, there's also a Tate museum of art, which we saved until the day after. Small and not at all bad!

Later, we walked through the centre again, to get to our hostel. In the evening, we took a stroll down towards some places on the "Slave trade walk" tour, and then into Chinatown. On the way, we found Gustaf Adolfs kyrka: the Swedish Seamen's church and the Swedish consulate (or maybe it's not a consulate anymore, at least passports can't be issued there since March, 2007)! It was located close to the old port, which probably was very good some hundred (or maybe just fifty) years ago, but now it looked very strange, close to a generally weird-looking area with small two-family houses that looked like the perfect suburbia, except it was basically in the centre of Liverpool! We didn't go in, though, since we didn't know then that it was anything but a consulate.

The Liverpudlian Chinatown was basically one street (at least in the evening), but we chose another Chinese restaurant just outside
Maritime museumMaritime museumMaritime museum

Impressive entrance, compared to the exhibitions.
this street, because it had a better vegetarian menu. Definitely recommended, not for the cosiness, but for the good food.

Our second day in Liverpool was mostly spent with the Slavery history trail in the northern parts of the centre, admiring the Town Hall's adornments, amongst other things (see pictures). Then down to be blown away at the Pier Head, which seemed more or less abandoned (we missed a local guide here!), adn then we gave in. Of course we had to see the Cavern, place where the early Beatles and several others have played. Still, not being total Beatles fans, we just took some photos, had a cup of tea at a café (not really recommended, but not horrible, hence not named here) close by.
And à propos tea: isn't it fascinating how the English treat tea? Everywhere, you can get black, unflavoured, tea, probably from India (I'm not good at defining tea origins), that gets to steep too long, and then it's compensated by milk (and sugar). At trendy places today, there seems to be several "infusions" available, which is simply not from the camellia sinensis, tea plant. Not even rooibos is popular on the British Isles. No, to
Earle and his shieldEarle and his shieldEarle and his shield

This is General Earle, showing how he treated the Soudanese that tried to stop him from colonising them! It's so fascinating that things like these are still here... or at least it is for a Swede.
get good tea in Europe, it's the Czech Republic or even Poland, and sometimes the Netherlands. For "infusions", France is better. But, later on during this trip, I managed to find a box of green tea with lemon flavour, which saved my hope for the Camellia sinensis in England.

This evening, we tried another Indian restaurant that I'd found on the Net, the Keralan Maharaja on 34-36 London Road. Also very good, and the mango lassi with cardamom was almost to die for!
We finished off by finding the Swan Inn, the only place I think I've ever been to that let the customers choose music from a jukebox (which, by the way, had a volume that made us wish we hadn't left our ear plugs at the hostel...)! So we had a bit of fun there, but simply had to leave after half a pint because of the volume. Too bad.

Well, to sum up our visit to Liverpool: a big construction site with good restaurants, decent pubs and a nice harbour/dock area, but we missed someone local to talk to. Thursday morning, we were off to the south...

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Gustaf Adolfs kyrkaGustaf Adolfs kyrka
Gustaf Adolfs kyrka

The Swedish Seamen's church, Liverpool.
Chinese Arch, entrance to China TownChinese Arch, entrance to China Town
Chinese Arch, entrance to China Town

This marvel stands on Nelson street, in the southeast centre of the city.
Banksy's ratBanksy's rat
Banksy's rat

Here's a piece of art that almost got painted over when the Culture Capital year was approaching. Not until March 2008 did the City Council get that this was wctually painted by a now famous artist, named Banksy, who's got rats as his primary symbol. (Check out www.banksy.co.uk if you want to see more.) But I must say it looks more like a cat...
S:t LukeS:t Luke
S:t Luke

This bombed church was on the way to our hostel. There are a few of these around England, that have been there since WWII as a rememberance. This photo obviously taken "Gothic style", by sunset.
Town hall decorationsTown hall decorations
Town hall decorations

Now, let's make some nice decorations around the new Town hall! Let's put up things that remind of how the town got it's wealth. Let's put up some animals, like an elephant to the right, a sort of monster (?) to the left, and in between, a... Thank goodness the world in general is a bit more enlightened today, although you might think not, sometimes.

And now, let's decorate this new bank! Let's show where the wealth comes from, but more clearly than on the Town hall! The building is from 1927, and Martin's bank was later incorporated into Bank of Liverpool and even later, into Barclay's.
The CavernThe Cavern
The Cavern

This is *the* Beatles quarter, where the club The Cavern was (and a successor is), and around here's one of the more 'official' Beatles' shops. We didn't try the Cavern in the evening, though. We suspected it to be full of drunk Beatles fanatics.

15th March 2008

You can't have a Chinatown in Beijing
Many cities in the World have a Chinatown (London, New York, San Francisco for instance). But Beijing doesn't since being a Chinese city it in itself is a Chinatown, right? So instead Beijing actually has a Russiatown. It's true! Road signs and shop signs are written i Russian, the shops sell typical Russian products and the restaurants have a larger selection of vodka than of food.
15th March 2008

What fun!
Thanks for the Liverpudlian insight. What was there in the consulate that you found out later? Or did I miss it in the text.
15th March 2008

It was just me being not-very-clear, as often in a hurry :-) We went past there in the evening, and just visiting a consulate withoud an errand seemed useless, but had we known it was an active church still, we might have gone there to ask for Djungelvrål or something :-) and of course, to get to know more about the city, since we lacked any local aquaintance.
15th March 2008

Russia town
Fascinating. When the Chinese take over the world, we'll probably see more of those ...

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