Friday, July 02, 2010

In Liverpool...

This week I found myself in the northern English city of Liverpool on a work assignment. I am ashamed to admit that I haven't explored much of England beyond Bath, Birmingham, and Oxford, but we're working on it....slowly but surely.

Upon arriving to Liverpool Lime Street Station, I quickly made my way to the Blackburne House on Hope Street via Renshaw Street.  At first glance, I wasn't terribly impressed with Liverpool although there were a few architectural gems along the way including the modern Metropolitan Cathedral of the Christ the King and the soaring neo-gothic Liverpool Cathedral in the distance. Unfortunately, the rest of my walking tour of Liverpool would have to wait until the late afternoon after I wrap up with work. Trust me, I would have much rather enjoy the warm sunny day outside than sitting in a conference room for several hours. At least the seminar was interesting!

After a quick drink with my colleagues and with a few hours to spare before my evening train back to London Euston, I made my way to Albert Dock, this time via Upper Duke Street so I could visit the massive Liverpool Cathedral and explore another part of town. Nearby is also Liverpool's Chinatown; it's small and somewhat sleepy -- the complete opposite of London's Chinatown which is undulated with tourists all year round and extremely noisy.  An interesting juxtaposition of architecture (photo below).

The more interesting part of town, in my opinion, is near the Mersey estuary. The £100 million face-lift has turned Albert Dock into Liverpool's premier tourist attraction with several world class museums --  Tate Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and of course, the famous Beatles Museum. The city indeed is undergoing a cultural renaissance after being named as the European Capital of Culture in 2008. In fact, most of the area near the docks is undergoing major physical redevelopment with high-rise luxurious flats being built overlooking the water. Liverpool is looking up, both literally and figuratively.

The city centre is also quite nice, again with some fantastic architecture to enjoy. My time in Liverpool was coming to an end, however, I couldn't leave Liverpool without visiting one place: the Cavern Quarter on Mathew Street. This was where it all began; the birthplace of the world-renowned rock band - The Beatles - in the 1960s. It was in the Cavern Club where the four  chaps played some 200+ times. Mathew Street very much celebrates the achievements and music of its famous home-grown sons.

What a lovely mid-week business trip! Another UK city checked off the list. Hopefully, more UK cities (or regions) to come. We're exploring Cornwall, the southwestern part of England, in a few weeks so stay tuned! -Cheers, LCV

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