4 May 2012

Destination: Liverpool

Liverpool, now what springs to mind? The Beatles, Cilla Black or even the infamous 'Scouse brow?' One exceedingly cold October day took me north to Liverpool for a sight-seeing day that I will treasure for a long time. From the Liver Birds to the Albert Docks, Liverpool serves more than a bowl of Scouse Lar! Oh, Ms. Lily Savage, don't think that you've been forgotten!

I have always seen Liverpool as a intriguing city to visit and decided to just do it! The day I went to Liverpool it felt like the coldest day possible, honestly the cold bit my face as I made my way through Liverpool One. I forgot about Birmingham instantly, L'pool had me from the second I stepped off the train at Lime Street Station! Liverpool is super accessible by foot for I could see the Liver Birds and the Albert Docks as I made my way down James Street. I arrived at the Albert Docks within plenty of time as I had a lot to see during my short visit to the city of the Mersey river. A modern and sophisticated vibe was felt whilst walking along the waters edge, the historical charm still remained amongst the presence of the many trendy restaurants and the Liverpudlian edition of the Tate Museum and Art Gallery. I saw it in Liverpool's eyes that the Albert Docks looked ready for the next chapter!

Maybe the cold weather warded away people but it was lovely to stroll along the flagstone path to see replica ships across from the slavery museum. What these docks were like in their heyday would have been something very interesting to see, I suppose there would be certain aspects of the Albert Docks history that should never be repeated. Like with every trip that I take, time is always of the essence so dawdling around wasn't on my sights that day I was by the Mersey! I expected a real and honest vibe from Liverpool, I got that feeling and then some! Like I mentioned the history of the Albert Docks has a gritty tale to be told but I suppose Liverpool acted as one of Britain's key shipping ports? Liverpool's Albert Docks may hold a few secret, but what Maritime city doesn't? A hurried phase of development is changing the facade of Liverpool's historic waterfront but the Albert Docks definitely balance Liverpool's next chapter. Where's Sonia? I'll have to get to Liverpool Pride!

One of my main motivations to see Liverpool was because I had ancestors that made their way from Eastern Europe, who finally ended up in the port city of Liverpool. It's a good job my ancestors got off their ship in Liverpool because I wouldn't be here today! By the time I reached the Port of Liverpool the contrast between the old and new buildings certainly produced a contrast between the historical and the new developments. Liverpool is definitely a city that is pushing forward into the future, crowned the 2008 Capital of Culture there's a bright tomorrow for this Liverpudlian city! Times are changing! Personally I can't wait to see the progress upon my next visit to Liverpool. Does regeneration hold the key to Liverpool's future success? Yes!

Liverpool holds it's own, distancing itself from it's Mancunian nieghbour this Scouse city serves nothing but truth and Maritime Realness! The true figures of Liverpool are those Liver Birds, one of them stands with a strong stance as she watches over her port-side dominion. I had already seen so much during what would only be a whistle-stop visit, Liverpool was showing that I can see places independently without worrying about anything! A mix of yesterday and tomorrow could be seen during my morning's walk alongside the Mersey River in Liverpool, England. I already had the feeling that I would need to return to Liverpool, I had literally stepped off my Birmingham train. Oh, I knew there was a reason my ancestors ditched that New York City bound vessel for a life in Liverpool!

The Mersey river was waiting, I wanted to see the other side to see the Wirral. As I boarded the Merseytravel ferry named 'Snowdrop' the bitter wind grew colder. One thing I noticed during my ferry ride was that Liverpool has a magnificent skyline that looks really fresh and progressive for the existing landmarks mixed effortlessly with the shiny new buildings from the view I captured on the ferry boat. Liverpool is definitely a city that's emerging, beautifying itself architecturally to a new level. It was strange to think that my ancestors would have seen the some of the sights that I did, well minus the new developments. During my river boat journey I snapped like a crazy paparazzo, capturing the sights of along the Mersey. Liverpool looked good but I wanted to see the Wirral! Liverpool, I will let you in a secret for you kept it real that day! Liverpool's skyline is major, let it keep serving into the future!

I had heard that people's opinion of Liverpool and the Wirral. I didn't feel anything special for this side of the Mersey, well maybe one thing that I will mention soon enough. As I gazed from the Wirral's side of the Mersey River I stood in awe of the sights that faced me, the Port of Liverpool stood out especially. The Wirral drew closer, it looked a lot less impressive compared to the world class skyline that Liverpool possessed, I'm struggling to find any redeeming qualities about that pedestrian looking Birkenhead view. My main intention of seeing Birkenhead was that I had a crazy notion about seeing a supreme Scouse Drag performer. I had my sights set on catching a glimpse of the famous Ms. Lily Savage but I never got the chance. Getting real I knew I was I never going to see the formidable Ms. Lily Savage. I did feel a peculiar feeling as I made it to Birkenhead's Hamilton Square. Jumping back on a train towards Liverpool I knew there's a  saying like 'all fur coat and no?'

My day in Liverpool would not of been complete without visiting my friend Katherine. I met Kat whilst working at Walt Disney World that summer. The journey that we made from Manchester Airport to Orlando cropped up in our conversation. I enjoyed my time in Southport, visiting the posh parade of shops. Southport had the qualities of the Victorian houses and the beach area, which with a bit of imagination could make a really nice place to enjoy in the summer months. Southport is a refined part of the Merseyside region that impressed me much! I really loved Lord Street as it had a Victorian edge with the canopies over the shops and cafes that set the scene perfectly! Not forgetting the our brief stroll on the local beach with Noodle the crazy Disney wearing dog. Little did I know that my mum worked in Southport before I was born, another family connection within the region! You know I'll be back to Southport!

All in all my new discoveries in Liverpool were very rewarding and showed me a city that's surely up and coming compared to the likes of Manchester, Birmingham and London. I'm working my way through the great cities of England, Liverpool has hidden and undiscovered depths. Meeting with my Disney friend and travel companion in Southport was amazing because its been a little while since our Disney days of Summer 2011. Getting away from my Orlando bubble I found the freedom to just get out of Birmingham to travel! The Port of Liverpool building and the whole waterfront area had something more than I expected, having no expectation is better than anything else. May this Liverpudlian visit give me the confidence to say "what the heck!" to taking the plunge to seeing more new places in the future. Liverpool, it was certainly a pleasure, may it be the first of many visits to this memorable and emerging city! In the words of Sonia; 'You'll never stop me from loving you!'

Thanks Liverpool!

Joseph Harrison

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