The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
Liverpool Travel Blog› entry 8 of 16 › view all entries
June 26th, 2007 – by: Isabetlog
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour wasn't until 2pm. I thought the timing was perfect as it gave us this morning to check out the other places I had planned to visit, particularly the Liverpool Football Club Souvenir Shop (no, I'm not into football), Liverpool Cathedral (Anglican) and the Metropolitan Cathedral (Roman Catholic). I may have failed to mention that aside from train stations, I also have a thing for churches. Old churches. Not that I'm religious. It's about on their aesthetic appeal than anything else. So we set out to catch the hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing bus which seemed to be the most practical way to go about our plans provided we were at the bus stop on time.
Back at Albert Dock, we made it just in time for the bus which comes every half hour. We passed a lot of landmarks - the Town Hall, Queen Victoria Statue, the World Musseum, Lime St., among others and got off at the Queens Square station at the city center and made for the football club merch store for some gift shopping. Conscious of the time we could take, we did a quick run through the store and paid up right away. As we exited the store, a man stopped us to do a quick survey on smoking. We figured we had enough time so why the hell not. In no time, we were back at the bus stop and waited for the bus. And we waited. And waited. And waited. We kept checking our watches as we knew the bus comes every half hour and surely, we didn't take that much time in the store and doing the survey.
Next stop was the Metropolitan Cathedral. Prior to the mid 1800s, Catholicism was only practiced in secret, but as the Catholic population increased dramatically due to the migration of the Irish following a potato famine in 1847 (this is too funny!), the need for a cathedral arose. Construction began a few years after. There was much contention and delay thoughout the ages and what we find today at Hope Street is the fourth and modern reincarnation, completed in the 1960s. Took a number of shots of both the and interior, said a quick prayer and we were off.
So off on Hope Steet we go, passing what we didn't know to be landmarks such as the Liverpool University, the Philharmonic Hall, the nursing home where Florence Nightingale once worked, and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts which had a rather interesting outdoor sculpture of cases and things. On one side was a mound of guitar cases where Paul and John's names are inscribed. Hmmm....ok, time to get cracking.
The Anglican Cathedral was now just across the street and boy is it HUUUUUGE. The gargantuan structure is the third largest cathedral in the world, with the Vesty Tower hovering 101m above sea level.
The morning has so far been quite tiring and whimsical (if this blog had a soundtrack it'd be something you'd hear at the circus), yet full of blessings in disguise. Now, if we could only catch that damn bus back to Albert Dock. And what do you know, we walk out the gates and it's there!! It's there, driving off in the other direction...WTF. I was so tired at this point I don't even remember if we walked or cabbed it back to Albert Dock. I don't even remember if we had lunch.
In any case, we made it in the nick of time. Halleluiah. Must've been all those church visits that saved our day, hahaha.
Finally, the highlight of Liverpool - the Magical Mystery Tour - the very reason for making the trip in the first place. It takes you to the various landmarks in the Beatles' lives and early career, around the city and in the suburbs where the boys grew up.
We hopped on and strangely enough, Waiting for a Star to Fall by Boy Meets Girl was playing. Funny, I didn't remember signing up for the "One Hit Wonder Tour," and this is the right bus...Thankfully, Ticket to Ride started to play as we headed off into the suburbs. Though there are only 4 stops on the tour, we drove past a lot of landmarks as entry to these places was not permitted -- The Dingle - the area where Ringo grew up & fronted by the Empress Pub, Dovedale Primary School (where John and George went), St.
From here we drove to Beaconsfield Road in Woolton, to the site of the Salvation Army orphanage round the block from where John lived, more famously known as Strawberry Field. John used to attend the summer fetes they had annually and loved to hang around and play in the woods behind the building.
Moving on, we made our way to the homes of John Lennon at Mendips (the name given to the house by its previous owners, and in this lower middle-class part of town the houses had names, not numbers) and Paul McCartney at 20 Forthlin Road. Both properties are now owned by the National Trust and are the exclusive operators of the homes' tours.
Driving up to Smithdown Road we found ourselves going round the famous roundabout where the barber shop, the bank and the firestation were located back in the day. They're completely different establishments now and are not exactly on Penny Lane (it's a few kilometers down the road). Their hometown was obviously an endearing part of John's and Paul's childhood that they drew upon the places they frequented for inspiration.
After a quick stop at the actual Penny Lane, we head back to the city center, driving by places the band used to roam and seem strangely familiar - Hope Street, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Anglican Cathedral.
Liverpool certainly possess a charm of her own, but it's really those four young lads that breathed life into this charming little city, putting her on the map. I love her, yeah, yeah, yeah.
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