Dis­cover the quaint city steeped in art and mu­sic

Deccan Chronicle - - Sunday Chronicle - NISHA J.K.

Do not judge a book by its cover,” goes a pop­u­lar say­ing. And in this in­stance, you can change it to, “Do not judge Liver­pool by only its world fa­mous foot­ball club.”

Liver­pool is much more than the club and its de­voted foot­ball fans. It is a quaint city steeped in arts, mu­sic, maritime her­itage, friendly peo­ple, her­itage build­ings and a vi­brant night life, not to men­tion awe­some food. My hus­band Subru and I had made a de­ci­sion to de­code Liver­pool mi­nus the foot­ball frenzy, and the city did not dis­ap­point. Liver­pool turned out to be a whole new ex­pe­ri­ence. Yes, all foot­ball fans would be drool­ing over the chance to visit the club and see a live match, but Liver­pool has a whole lot more to of­fer.

We be­gan our jour­ney on a high-speed Vir­gin Train from Lon­don to Liver­pool. The jour­ney it­self proved to be in­ter­est­ing with peo­ple trav­el­ling with their pets (that are quite obe­di­ent, I must say) and en­joy­ing the trip. The Liver­pool Lime Street rail­way sta­tion — built in 1836 — is the old­est grand ter­minus main­line still in use. One can only mar­vel at the mix of old ar­chi­tec­ture of his­toric build­ing and mod­ern swanky malls like Liver­pool One; which is a con­flu­ence of the old and the new ex­ist­ing side by side.

Time for trivia now — did you know that the Liver bird is the sym­bol of Liver­pool? There is a Liver build­ing with two myth­i­cal Liver birds — Ber­tie and Bella — which looks ethe­real at night. They are a pair with the fe­male look­ing out at the sea, watch­ing for sea­men to re­turn home safely, and the male look­ing at the city, keep­ing watch over the sea­men’s fam­i­lies or ‘mak­ing sure the pubs are open’, as the joke goes.

Of course, Liver­pool is syn­ony­mous with the Bea­tles. Any fan of the Bea­tles worth his or her salt has to visit the mu­seum The

Bea­tles Story.

It is a chance to un­der­stand the

early roots of the band, get a taste of their skif­fle mu­sic and see the fan­dom at the pin­na­cle of their fame to the time when John Len­non was shot in 1980, and be­yond. Bea­tles ma­nia is alive and kick­ing in var­i­ous Beatles­themed bars, like the fa­mous Rub­ber Soul. If you want to lis­ten to live mu­sic, then head over to The Cav­ern ev­ery day. Hard­core fans can sign up for the many Bea­tles tours like the Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Tour, where you get a chance to visit their child­hood homes. We vis­ited the street named Penny Lane, which gained in­ter­na­tional fame in

1967 when the Bea­tles re­leased Penny Lane, writ­ten as a trib­ute to the band mem­bers’ up­bring­ing i n Liver­pool.

It takes a while to shake off the Bea­tles hang­over, es­pe­cially for a fan, but it was time to visit an­other high­light of the city, which is the Liver­pool Maritime Mu­seum and In­ter­na­tional Slav­ery Mu­seum at Al­bert Dock. There is a whole sec­tion re­lated to Ti­tanic mem­o­ra­bilia at the Maritime


What in­trigued me was the man­ner in which the sal­vaged ar­ti­facts were dis­played with notes about them elu­ci­dat­ing their his­tory. It is easy to get trans­ported to that era, es­pe­cially dur­ing a walk in an en­closed tun­nel, recre­ated like the old sleep­ing decks with the sound of waves crash­ing, and dull light­ing. What my hus­band found in­ter­est­ing was the UK Border Agency Na­tional Mu­seum, which un­cov­ers crimes en­coun­tered by the Cus­toms depart­ment. The gallery re­veals unique seizures in­clud­ing il­le­gal an­i­mal/bird trade, drug traf­fick­ing and other banned goods seized from the 1700s till date. The mu­seum is made highly in­ter­ac­tive with sec­tions for vis­i­tors to iden­tify con­tra­band and there is a sim­u­la­tion of a Coast Guard cut­ter.

The vi­brant heart of Liver­pool is its his­toric wa­ter­front — the Royal Al­bert Dock, which is a UN­ESCO World Her­itage site. A fact worth men­tion­ing is that the new ar­chi­tec­ture is built giv­ing con­sid­er­a­tion to the older build­ings and the dock. The cafes, gal­leries, stores and restau­rants at the dock are all old con­verted ware­houses.

Hunger pangs set in after all the walk­ing, and we set out to check food op­tions at Bold Street— a street which em­bod­ies the spirit of Liver­pool with its eclec­tic mix of re­tail chains, vin­tage stores, in­de­pen­dent shops and even a cat café. Subru be­ing a ve­gan was ex­cited that the restau­rants had good ve­gan op­tions and were even open to cus­tomis­ing dishes. The chill in the air got to us, but not be­fore click­ing some fan­tas­tic pho­tos of the Wheel of Liver­pool, which is a trans­portable Fer­ris Wheel in­stal­la­tion on the Keel Wharf. The struc­ture is 196 feet (60 m) tall, weighs 365 tonnes and has 42 fully en­closed cap­sules at­tached to it.

We stepped out for din­ner to an Ital­ian restau­rant, Amelia, and got to taste au­then­tic piz­zas. What amused us was watch­ing one of the pa­trons at the next ta­ble tak­ing up a chal­lenge of fin­ish­ing a five-pound Mon­ster Cal­zone — an Ital­ian meat dish with toma­toes, veg­eta­bles and cheese. After din­ner, we took a late night drive to Ja­maica Street to check­out amaz­ing street art on the walls, one of which was ru­moured to be of Banksy. We were also for­tu­nate to visit Dou­ble Fan­tasy —

John & Yoko at the Mu­seum of Liver­pool, which is an ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing the meet­ing of two of the world’s most cre­ative artists who ex­pressed their deep and pow­er­ful love for each an­other through their art, mu­sic and film. It fea­tured per­sonal ob­jects along­side art, mu­sic and films pro­duced by John and Yoko. The ex­hi­bi­tion is drawn from Yoko’s own pri­vate col­lec­tion, some of which had never been dis­played be­fore. We had the priv­i­lege to see rare in­ter­views of John and Yoko as well as un­seen pho­tos of both of them. The song

Imag­ine play­ing in the back­ground tugged at my heart strings. We left there with a heavy heart with the strains of the song lin­ger­ing in our ears.


Wheel of Liver­pool

The Bea­tles statue

The Dock view

Items sal­vaged from the Ti­tanic

Al­bert Dock

The Liver bird

Subru and Nisha at Penny Lane

John Len­non’s hand-writ­ten note

Street art

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