Edit Blog Post
Published: June 16th 2009
my London hostel
This was my bed...and my luggage.
So on Sunday, May 24, I went to Liverpool! Originally, I had planned on going on May 25, but before I left for England, I found out that there were some events going on at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool on May 25 that I wanted to go to. Unfortunately, I had already booked my first London hostel through the 25th. Of course, I called to confirm my hostels before I left the U.S., so when I did, I asked them how to go about canceling that last night (when I would already be in Liverpool). They said I could cancel it when I checked in to the hostel, so that's what I did. There was no penalty/charge for it.
I had booked a coach (what we'd call a bus) for 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 24 to Liverpool. It's always a lot of fun moving luggage around. I was a little concerned about whether or not they'd accept all of my luggage. On their website (National Express), they said they couldn't guarantee that they'd be able to fit everyone's luggage, because they don't know what all people will bring on each journey. I had a big bag, and I
didn't know where it would be stored on the coach. Turns out, there was no reason at all to be concerned, because they keep all of the luggage in a compartment underneath the coach! I was expecting them to be kind of strict on carry-on luggage as well, but I never heard anything being said. It's just that on their website, I think it said you could only bring 1 piece of carry-on luggage. It worked out fine, though, and they even loaded my big suitcase into the compartment underneath the coach.
I was one of the last people to board the coach, so I had a limited number of seats to choose from. I had been unsure of where to go to get to where I needed to be to board the coach. It was at Victoria Station, but I had to find the National Express area of the station, and then figure out which platform I needed to get to. I had just enough time to buy a bottle of tea in the station. So anyway, I waited in line (or should I say queue) to get on the coach, and when I didn't see any window
seats available (aw man!), I sat next to this girl who was around my age. I asked her if anyone was sitting there, and she said, "No, it's fine." Those were the only words she said to me the whole trip. She seemed very reserved, and I think she was dressed in darker clothing. Now that I think about it, she reminds me of this girl who was in one of my classes a couple semesters ago. This girl was really quiet, wore unusual clothing, and just seemed kind of uncomfortable and insecure. I got the feeling that if I tried to take pictures out the window, she would get annoyed...as would anyone I'm sure, though. I took off both my coats and stuffed them through the loop of the seat in front of me.
About half-way through the trip, we stopped at a rest stop, which had little fast food joints, bathrooms (or should I say toilets), and a little store inside of it. I wanted to get some food, as I hadn't really eaten anything. So I bought a bag of crisps (aka chips); they have unusual flavored chips here in the UK. I've bought a bag
Wimpy's inside the rest stop
This is a fast food chain; I thought it was a funny name!
of bacon-flavored ones before (here), and recently I heard that they have chicken and steak-flavored ones as well.
While at the rest stop, I saw these little machines (well, they weren't even machines...) where you could buy chewable toothbrushes. I had never seen these before, and I thought that while it was a really gross idea, it was also interesting, so I bought a couple. You could get 2 for 1 pound. They are nasty-looking, too, and I haven't tried one yet. The idea of chewing a mini disposable, rubbery toothbrush is just gross.
It took 5 1/2 or so hours to get to Liverpool, and I was excited to be there. One of the first things I saw as we were arriving into town was a car dealership, which I had certainly never pictured in Liverpool for some reason. I guess you don't really picture average, ordinary things when you're about to go visit some place.
I arrived at the coach station, and really needed a map, as I had none. A man who worked there gave me one, and I picked up some bus route brochures as well. I was still confused as I left
the station, though. I stood outside and looked at my map and my surroundings for a while. Then I asked a lady who was also standing there, and she helped direct me a little bit. I just wasn't sure which direction I was facing and which street was near me. It's harder to figure things like this out in the UK, as the street names are on the sides of the buildings!
Somehow I managed to take the long way. I walked way up further than I had to, and once I learned my way around, I realized just how difficult a journey I had made it. I walked and walked along little side streets, pulling my luggage behind me. At one point, I asked this man, and it turned out he had a handheld GPS system thing- not sure what it's called! Actually, all I had wanted to know was what street I was on or what street was ahead or something. He told me some directions, but I knew by looking at the map that it'd be a little easier to go a different way. In any case, when I finally arrived at the hostel, it was
a sight for sore eyes. Thank goodness!
The guy at the desk was nice, and I paid for my 3 nights there. Later I asked him some questions about internet usage, etc. My room was on the third floor, and so there were lots of steps. There was an elevator, but at first I wasn't sure if I could use it. I think I even pulled my luggage up the first flight, but decided to give the elevator a shot. Sure enough, it opened, and there was just enough room for me and the suitcase. Had the suitcase been much bigger, I might have had to send it up and meet it on the next floor! I was really glad there was an elevator. I got to my room (which had 6 beds), and it was very, very nice. I was extremely impressed with the room and our bathroom! It was like a hotel; it was just so clean and new-looking. And especially when you compared it to the hostel I had been staying at in London, it was wonderful. The bathroom didn't stink, the bathroom was big, there was Kleenex, soap, and bodywash, a towel bar (can't even
think of the name for these...a thing to hang towels on!) Inside the room, there was a small table to set stuff on, some sort of shelving unit, and 3 bunk beds. The windows provided a pretty nice view, and all the carpet and paint looked nice. Turns out, as I was leaving the hostel 3 days later, I found out that the hostel only opened 2 months ago! That would explain it.
I found a Tesco Express and bought a Liverpool map first thing. It was actually the Liverpool A-Z book, that contains many small pages of maps. When I bought it, I asked the clerk something. He looked at me and almost sort of smiled, and I could tell that he must have been surprised at the "accent" coming out of my mouth. I bet he wasn't expecting an American there. The man at the hostel desk had told me that I could access wireless internet free at McDonald's, and I'm glad he did. I walked around, looking for the McDonald's, but I had to ask a lady on the street. Turns out, the McDonald's was really pretty close and was very easy to find. Typical. I
bought a cheeseburger, some fruit, and some water, went upstairs, and turned on my computer. Mom and I chatted on Skype as I ate. There were some middle/highschool kids sitting near me, and that's when I first realized that kids nowdays seem to dress all punkish! I didn't remember seeing kids looking like this in the U.S., but then again, I'm never really around kids of this age! Their hair was all puffed up-looking, and they were dressed different. I can see now that the 80's styles are definitely back in full-swing. The hair, the makeup, the clothing...
I decided to try to go see some Across the Universe filming locations that evening before it got dark, which was going to be pretty soon. I walked to Liverpool Station, and I told them that I didn't know how to pronounce it, but I needed to get to the Aigburth area. You pronounce it EGG birth. Well, I had to buy my tickets from the Central Station instead, which I didn't know how to get to. She asked me if I knew where a couple of places were, and finally I was like, "No, I don't know where ANYthing is."
Of course, I walked around, studying my map. I arrived at the area where it looked like the station would be, but it looked out of place. It didn't seem like a train station would be there. I turned back around to go the opposite direction, when I saw two older men and one younger guy walking along in the direction I was just going. I asked them if they could point me in the right direction of Central Station, and in fact it was in the direction I was just walking. So we all chatted for a couple of minutes as we walked a little further and turned the corner towards the station. They asked if I was new in town, and I had to smile at that. I told them I was visiting and that I had just arrived that day. So they started telling me about things I should see- like the cathedral- and why I should see it, etc. One of the older men said he had grown up near the Aigburth area. As we walked along, the other older man kind of led me to the sidewalk so I wouldn't get run over by
I had the top bunk, and yes, that's my luggage.
the approaching car. They were really nice! I later told one of my roommates that it was almost like out of a storybook, the way I came across these 3 guys, and they were so helpful and nice. It was a really positive experience on my first day there.
Once I got to the Aigburth rail station, my actual destination was very easy to get to; I literally had to turn 3 times to get there, as it was only an "L shape" away. It was really exciting when I got to the area that they had filmed some of the scenes of the movie. See, there was this guy on YouTube who had posted a behind-the-scenes video of the making of Across the Universe. He has a business I guess, and he lent them (the makers of the movie) some old cars to use for the movie since it's based in the '60's. Well, he did some videotaping when they were filming, and he posted it on YouTube. I had watched it many months before, but I looked it up again and sent him a message asking him where exactly they filmed in Liverpool. Only some of the
view from my room window
Ok, so maybe it doesn't look like a nice view in the picture! But we were up high, and you could see lots of buildings.
movie was filmed there, by the way. I later saw that he had already said the streets where they filmed, but it's a good thing I sent him a message anyway. He sent me one back saying that he had had a lot of people ask him, and so he was going to post a google map soon, showing exactly where they filmed, which was really nice of him.
So I was just looking for those streets he had said. I ended up seeing an alley around where one of the characters lived, and it was really exciting! The look of the alley was so familiar to me, because I saw this movie more times in the theater (ha, I had to stop myself from spelling it the British way!) than I have with any other movie. I'm not even going to say how many times...plus I own the movie. It's one of my favorites, and I love the soundtrack, too. Actually, I think I might have been at the wrong alley, but I didn't know it at the time. I'l have to watch the movie when I get home and compare my pictures of a couple different alleys
I took pictures of.
Once I took the train and was back in the center of Liverpool again, I bought a small chicken and mushroom pizza at a place near the hostel. I also bought this grapefruit citrus-y soda, a candy bar, and water at...what else...Tesco. Tesco is everywhere; it's like a little convenience store/grocery store. I had begun my streak of buying different English candy bars and trying them out to see which ones I liked best. Normally, I hardly ever buy chocolate bars. I hope I can break this habit once I get back to the states.
I got back to the hostel and got online...in my room!! This was a treat because I always had to go to McDonald's to use wireless internet when I was staying at the hostel in London. See, I had bought a 5 pound pass (for like 3 hours) at the hostel desk there in Liverpool, but he told me that I could buy a pass directly from the internet company-PolkaSpot. So once I was online, I actually did decide to buy one directly from them- a week-long pass for 15 pounds. I felt bad spending all that money on
the internet, but I felt it was important. So I spent 20 pounds on internet usage, which adds up to about $31! I had also tried to buy a map of Liverpool at the station earlier (I guess I figured it'd be handy because it was a small map of the Liverpool city center), but lost my money in the machine. Luckily, it was only 1 pound.
Tot: 0.051s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 10; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0121s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb