Well, maybe it’s a little bit about the leaving of Liverpool.
What do you think of when you think of Liverpool? I’m betting The Beatles. That’s what I figured too.
When we first started making real plans to take this trip to Scotland (because I pushed relentlessly, I know…), Constance avowed that we’d also be going to Liverpool “on the way.” You know, since we’d be in the area and all. Mark thought this was kind of crazy, seeing as how being in the area was akin to stopping in Seattle when we were going to San Francisco from, say, Germany. I agreed, but I also pointed out that Scotland was a lot closer to Liverpool than California was, and that nearness was a relative term. And Constance would not be put off.
We decided that we’d stop in Liverpool for 3 days before heading into Scotland. Since we flew into London, it really was on the way, more or less. I figured 3 days was plenty of time to do the whole Beatles tourist thing.
We arrived in the evening and we were starving. The helpful concierge suggested we walk over to Liverpool One, a shopping plaza, that had lots of restaurants. I wasn’t terribly keen on going to a mall, but we were all very tired and hungry and we decided to just go and see what we saw. In the end, we went to a lovely French restaurant called Cafe Rouge. It is a chain, but the food was good (no, seriously, the English know French food).
Oh, and did I mention the rain? It was raining, not too, too hard, but enough to get us pretty thoroughly wet. This would be a continuing theme…
Anyway, Cafe Rouge was quite nice. Our waiter nervously approached our table and said, “I just have to tell you we’re all out of steak tonight. And whole chickens. The pirates ate them all.” (I believe there was some other form of meat he mentioned as well, but I’ve forgotten.) We hesitated for a moment, still processing that tidbit. After we had our moment, we assured him it was not a problem.
It turns out there was an enormous gathering of “pirates” that day in Liverpool in an attempt to break the world record; how sad that we missed it! We all found it terribly funny that the pirates came through and cleaned out the restaurant of all the big pieces of meat. The other funny part was that many of our friends had been at the Northern California Pirate Festival setting that very world record. Small, geeky world.
The pirates became a running joke for us during our stay in Liverpool.
The kitchen stayed open late so we could have dessert. The desserts were excellent. We overtipped. (oops)
Duncan ate his too fast for me to get a picture before it was gone…
We mostly just passed out after we got back from dinner. Mark and I had shared a bottle of red wine and we were feeling no pain. The rain helped keep the warm mugginess of Liverpool from being oppressive and we didn’t mind all that much being wet. We’re rain-loving folks anyway.
A little tele before bed:
I have to admit, it was all any of us could do not to break into Monty Python and Eddie Izzard bits and speak with British accents. We really, honestly didn’t want to mock anyone, nor to make anyone feel we were mocking them, but the accents SO wanted to come out.
The next day was all about The Beatles Story. We went down to the Albert Dock and descended into the lengthy, and highly produced, Beatles “experience.” I did learn a lot about the band, possibly more than I ever had the inclination to know. Some of the location recreations were really cool. I love that sort of thing. There was a Cavern Club, the office of the Mersey Beat, and a psychedelic Yellow Submarine area. My numerous pictures of that, and other locales in Liverpool can be found here.
After spending far too much money at the Fab4 Store on the way out (partnered with Starbucks, there’s no escape), we were hungry and went looking for a place to eat lunch. We almost ended up at a pub-type place, but they were out of nearly everything (residual pirate fall-out?), though we learned an important factoid there: they had something called Scouse on the menu, apparently a traditional lamb stew that is a local speciality. From this stew comes the locals’ name for residents: Scousers. Not to be confused with Mancs (from Manchester). There is quite the rivalry between Scousers and Mancs, mostly friendly (but not always). Never having been to Manchester myself, I lean toward the Scouser side of things.
So, didn’t eat at that restaurant, don’t remember its name. We did eat at Gusto, an Italian restaurant right on the waterfront.
On the way back, it started pouring. We didn’t have any umbrellas (naturally) so we got exceedingly wet. Stopped to take this silly picture in which you can tell the kids are simply sopping:
When we were nearly back to the hotel, we stopped in a pub called the Rat and Parrot. How could we not, you know? Coffee in the UK seems to always be served with a sprinkling of sweet cocoa powder on top. Also, virtually every dessert appears to be served with the choice of vanilla ice cream, sweet cream, or whipped cream, and most are served warm. That means that if you order chocolate cake, it will come warm with melty chocolate frosting and in a pool of cream or with a dollop of ice cream. Took some getting used to, but I think I like it. Warm sticky toffee pudding with cream? Oh my god.