Liverpool : From Cavern to Cathedral

“Imagine I’m in love with you, It’s easy cos it’s true…”  It’s a bit of a crazy leap from Terracotta Army to Beatles, but the Cavern drew me like a magnet.  I left the enthralling exhibition somewhat dazed and wandered in what I hoped was the direction of the Beatles’ old haunt.  Alone, and beginning to feel weary from an early start, I hovered beside Cilla, trying to find the confidence to descend those steps.  If in doubt, have a glass of wine?  Perhaps not the best motto for life, but I retreated to a nearby restaurant, overlooking the comings and goings on Mathew St., and gathered my courage over a very nice chicken curry.

I needn’t have worried.  It was early evening and the warm up ‘lad’, Tony Skeggs, was on, and what a very fine job he made of it.  I was soon singing away, balanced on my stool, without a care in the world.  Aside from getting back to the hotel afterwards, of course, but eventually I hummed my way ‘home’ without misadventure, and sang myself to sleep.

I had a rough plan for the following day, part of which included a Magical Mystery Tour.  The forecast wasn’t great and I ‘imagined’ I might be better on a bus, but with a dry start I thought I’d do a little exploring on foot first.  Restless always comes naturally.  But first I had a bit of a treat.  The lovely lass on reception in Sleep Eat Love informed me that their new bistro was opening that morning.  Their first ever customer, I was greeted like royalty.  Fortified with scrambled eggs and coffee, that smile still on my face, I ventured forth.

I did try to plot a course to the cathedral on Google Maps, but I’m a pretty hopeless case and soon ended up following my instincts.  That can be disastrous, but I was lucky this day.  Signs for Lime Street Station kept me on track, and right opposite, magnificent St. George’s Square.

Passing the busy station, I paused to gape at the frontage of a grand looking hotel.  I was peering inside, with my usual curiosity, when a cheerful voice said ‘Come on in, love, and have a look!’  I can’t get over the friendliness of the locals.  The cleaner was still hard at work and there was a lovely smell of polish in the air.  I had entered an Aladdin’s cave of Art Deco, being transformed into, of all things, a food court!  I know my daughter would have revelled in the extravagant curls and swirls of Barcelona Bar.

Seeing church spires ahead I thought I might have reached the cathedral, but it turned out to be the Bombed Out Church, a rather forlorn relic, whose railings were adorned with poetry.  A sad looking tramp had made it his home.

Strange how such a very large cathedral can become invisible.  I had to ask for directions, but soon I was gazing upwards at the rosy might of the Anglican Cathedral.  Not sure if it was open, I noticed a couple coming through a narrow gateway and went to investigate.  I’m so very glad I did because, for the next half hour, I wandered beneath the greenery of St. James’ Gardens.

I was intrigued to discover that the gardens had once been a quarry, from which the stone for most of Liverpool’s public buildings had been cut, in the 18th century.  From 1825 to 1936 it became the city’s main cemetery.  Today it wraps around the cathedral like an ancient skirt.

And what a cathedral!  Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built almost entirely of the local pink sandstone, it is the largest in Britain, and the largest Anglican Cathedral in the world.  The foundation stone was laid in 1904 by King Edward VII and it was finally completed 74 years later in 1978.  For me the Lady Chapel was the most beautiful part of the church, and I paused to light a candle in the gallery overlooking this quiet, lovely place.  The stained glass panels depict women of significance from the bible, and important Liverpool women who were missionaries or worked for the poor of the city.  The central space of the cathedral was vast, and laid out at one end was an array of beautifully dressed tables and chairs.  I had read somewhere of a cafe in the cathedral and wondered if I was appropriately dressed to grace one of these tables.  But first, the Tower!

I never can resist a view, even though it usually involves a climb.  There are 3 stages to this one.  First by lift, followed by a narrow corridor that overlooks the bells, then a second lift and 108 steps to the top.  All worth it!  You can, apparently, on a fine day see Blackpool Tower in the distance, but I was more interested in closer range.  And yes, we’ve finally earned a cuppa, so it’s back down again, via the embroidery exhibition, and over to the mezzanine cafe.  I was half disappointed to find that those grand tables weren’t for the likes of me, but I had a lovely chat with a young woman and her daughter, enjoying both the fruity Liverpool cake and listening to her wonderful ‘Scouse’ accent.

The weather had finally caught up with me and, as I headed down Hope St. towards the Liverpool Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, the first spots of rain arrived.  Just time to scurry up the steps for a quick look.  I remembered seeing it on TV when Paul McCartney conducted the Liverpool Oratorio from there.  Originally the cathedral was to have been a Lutyens design but World War II intervened and in the 1960s ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’, as it is affectionately known, was completed, to the design of Sir Frank Gibberd.

All thoughts of a Magical Mystery tour had long since been abandoned and, as the rain began to pelt down, I headed back downhill to the Waterfront and a world class selection of museums.  I was beguiled and saddened by John and Yoko in the Museum of Liverpool, and spent an hour or so absorbing modern art in Tate Liverpool.  As I looked out on Albert Dock in pounding rain, I reflected on the brilliant couple of days I’d spent.  I hope you enjoyed them too.

walking logo

This isn’t officially a Jo’s Monday walk but, as I’m taking time off to get settled in the Algarve, I thought I’d do a round up of the walks I received this week.  Please take a few minutes to visit if you can.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

Lady Lee is sharing churches too.  She says to make a wish in each :

Visita Iglesia

We all need a little peace sometimes.  Irene has a lovely spot too :

Place to Read

Murals are always popular.  How about these?

8 mural project Downtown Tucson

You think I walk a long way?  You should try accompanying Geoff and Dog :

Ring of Walking – #CapitalRing#Crystal Palace to #Richmond

There’s always food on offer at Jackie’s.  And today’s accompaniment is…

Relish

Jaspa takes us on a wander in another beautiful city :

Prague Pastels

That’s it from me for a while.  I’ll pop in whenever I can.  Take care of yourselves, and bye for now!

142 comments

  1. what an awesome treat, Jo! thank you. i can’t seem to have the words to describe it. the cathedral is magnificent!

  2. Thank you Jo for this post – it is because my son was there a few weeks ago, visiting friends there. I always had heard Liverpool was an industrial town and not worth visiting, but you prove it to be otherwise – you found enough beautiful historic buildings for a trip!
    My post is kinda like a tongue in cheek to link here, because it was over a 100 degrees that day and we were too wilted to really do the walk, lol. I know you as a good sport, so I know you can handle my quirky humor here:) Jesh StG (Junieper my name at this site)
    https://thejeshstudio.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/vacation-busyness/

  3. This was a great walk Jo, and very good of you to give us a parting meander. I hope the move goes well and you’re feeling refreshed and thoroughly Portuguese by the time your November return comes around.
    And I look forward to the return of your Monday walks once you are settled – otherwise I’ll have to take the extreme solution of walking physically instead of enjoying yours!! X

    1. Don’t do anything rash Debs 😃😃 Cough didn’t stop me from taking my first Algarve walk of the season this morning though it was too warm for serious walking. ‘Chilling’ on our roof now xx

  4. Thanks, Jo. Once again you’ve introduced me to these wonderful finds you seem to come up with. “Restless” is surely a good description. Your travels are enough to wear me out just looking at the pictures. 😀
    Hope the move is going well!

  5. What an amazing tour you’ve given us, Jo, as you round out your adventures before the big move! I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t have most thoroughly enjoyed. Good wishes to you in the weeks to come, Jo. You’ll have new adventures to share, I’m certain.

  6. Liverpool just looks better and better Jo, we will have to try and get there next year at some stage between trips. Love the Beatles too so following their story around the city would be amazing.

  7. Jo, this is a treat to read and I’ve learnt so much about Liverpool. The view from the top of the cathedral is wonderful, the cathedral stunning and I had to laugh at how it was hard to find … being the biggest in the U.K.! There seems to be gems of sightseeing all over the city and the friendliness of the locals comes across. As for the Liverpool Cake, it looks delicious!😀 Hope you’re having a good time in Portugal… are you sorting out for your move?

    1. Hiya darlin! I leave for the Algarve tomorrow (Sunday 🙂 ). The last 2 weeks have been a frenzy of sorting/packing and Liverpool (rather foolishly but I did enjoy it 🙂 ). We will be back for 1 week in November to finalise things and that’s it. Homeless! 😦

      1. Homeless does not sound good! It is an exciting new chapter in your life but know it must feel very strange too. Everything will settle once the crazy busyness and frenzy settles. Wishing you the best time in the Algarve! ❤️ Ps. I do hope you keep blogging and we remain in contact. xx

      1. Sort of! I’m having anxious moments- do I really want to leave my home and friends? But I know that if I don’t go I’ll wish I had. And this balmy weather can’t last much longer. 🙂 🙂

      2. It’s one of the reasons we delay until October, then we’re desperate to leave!

        Can understand the anxious moments but there are always cheap flights back for lovely long weekends 😁

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