Appreciating the Beatles

Liverpool Travel Blog

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Today I again went out with a group, with the main goal of going to Liverpool. However, since they had not been to Stratford-upon-Avon at all, it was on the way to Liverpool, and I had seen it earlier in about 45 minutes (see July 8th blog entry) we stopped there first. It was a beautiful morning and it made the town all the more enjoyable.

Most of the group went to see Shakespeare's birthplace and all that jazz, but me, George, and Ben all opted to not spend the 10 pounds and we instead just walked around the town. I really enjoyed seeing the town again this way. We walked by the river and the park with all the swans and ducks- there were many! We then walked over to the church where Shakespeare's grave was. The church was very impressive and calming for us to go in. After winding back around the parks and through town, we met the group and grabbed lunch at Subway or the grocery store. By then we wanted to catch the correct train to Liverpool, so we went to the train station and got on.

We had to connect in Birmingham, which was kind of cool because now I've been to another English town! It is really nothing special though, just sprawling development that makes up England's second largest city.

We were surprised when we found out we had a little over an hour in between connections. There was a huge mall attached to the train station that was full of stores and lots of people. You give me a free hour and there's a big mall right in front of me? Hmmmm.... an interesting business scheme going on here. Well it worked. I went into a few stores but realized the lines were so long that I would not have time to get through a "till" (that's what they call them) and make the train. Also being the point in the trip where I need to avoid spending money, I was fine with leaving.

However, I am tragically clumsy. I was walking down the steps of a store and scrapped my heel open against the step causing me to start bleeding profusly. My first thought was "ah, it'll stop" but then it looked like I was going to start leaving a trail of blood through the mall back to the train station, which is never good. And I don't want people tracing my steps. So I hobbled my over to the nearest newstand to buy some bandaids.

Me: "Do you have any bandages?"
Store clerk: "A what?"
Me: "Like.... like, a Band-Aid" (Yes, I quickly realized my lack of logic here as I was being a stupid American and using the same word to describe a band-aid)
Store cleck: "I don't know what that is..."

Well apparently they call them "pasties" here in England. The poor store clerk had no idea what I was talking about and yet I was being stupid and not really helping him with my descriptions. It went on for several minutes of me being stupid while my heel bled profusly. Luckily an Englishman in line saw our struggle and bridged the gap. It's just funny because it was probably the most trouble I've had this summer with ordering or buying something and we both spoke English... Oh, my.

Anyway, we took the train to Liverpool and were there fairly shortly. We walked across town from the station to waterfront where the Beatles Store museum was. Liverpool is a nice town, but just like Portsmouth or Southampton or any other town on the water.

The Beatles Store museum was very interesting and definitely worth the visit. I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did everyone else, including those who didn't even care much about the Beatles. It told their "story" wonderfully and was very informative. Although, they ended it strange with a kind of cheesy shrine to John and no mention of the others' careers after the breakup. But still a great museum.

After that, it was pretty much time to grab dinner and head back to the train station to make the last possible train back to Oxford. We grabbed Burger King (ick, but only real option) and got on the train. When it was time to get our last connection, we quickly saw that the train wasn't going all the way to Oxford, but instead to Reading, the town before Oxford. It had started raining and they were worried that tracks would easily wash out between Reading and Oxford with the water levels already so high.

Being the well-traveled, ready-for-anything people we are by now, we didn't worry and simply waited for the conductor to come through and inspect our tickets. When he found out our dilemma, he immediately handled it very well. They train company actually ordered taxis for us from Reading to Oxford! While you could easily say "that is what they are supposed to do to accomodate you!" that idea has certainly not been precedent in previous cases this summer. So it was nice for everything to work out so smoothly, especially when we got a cab ride that otherwise would have been about $160.

Our cab driver was a guy about our age paying for college or something and he was really funny to listen to. I have no idea what he said half the time (couldn't understand with the accent), but it was still interesting to hear his complaints and worries that he has as an English college student. Very dry humor.

We got back to Worcester before we knew it and were back in the dorms. I don't think that tomorrow I will go anywhere, I'd like to stay in Oxford, rest a little, and enjoy time around town as this last week will be really busy with exams and the end of the summer!
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photo by: monkeymia79