May 5, 2023
The answer is yes, Liverpool means a pool of liver, except that in Old English "liver" meant thick or muddy. And we did notice as we sailed into port that the banks of the river here were muddy. So, with that question answered we moved on to learn more about Liverpool.
We had an early breakfast and then took off to enjoy two different excursions. Soon a second question arose - what in the world did this road sign mean? (Think about it before you scroll to the bottom of the picture.
Translation: A zebra crossing is just a pedestrian crossing with black-and-white stripes. This sign means there is also a bump to slow traffic! Here are two other signs we found amusing:
Liverpool was very busy, with lots of road closures, detours, and temporary tents and barriers. Our first idea was that it must be due to events being planned to honor the coronation of King Charles III. Nope! The fanfare we were seeing was for the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which is being held in Liverpool this year. Traditionally the contest is held in the country of the winners from the previous year. However, the winner last year was from Ukraine, who could not host this year, so the second place winner (England) agreed to host the event for 2023. The song competitions last from May 1-13. Liverpool has decorated the city with the colors of Ukraine being a big part of the color scheme.
While Liverpool does have its share of beautiful churches, interesting museums, football (soccer) stadiums (2), and historic places, the number one attraction seems to be the Beatles. The city is very proud of their famous former occupants, and appreciates that their legacy continues to enrich the economy of the area via the tourist industry. Paul McCartney still visits regularly and he and his family are involved in local charitable and education causes.
We are not going into the history of the Beatles, but there were some interesting connections between places we visited and Beatles' songs. Since John, Paul, George and Ringo all grew up Liverpool, the city had an influence on their music. Some song examples:
Penny Lane: John, Paul and George walked down Penny Lane regularly to go to school or other places. The barber, banker, the shelter in the middle of the round-about (in the song lyrics) were all places Paul knew well and inspired his lyrics.
Let It Be - think of the first line - "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom". Mother Mary refers to Paul's mom, Mary McCartney and reflects on her influence despite the fact that she died when he was a teenager.
Strawberry Fields Forever: Strawberry Fields was an orphanage behind John Lennon's house and he would climb the fence to play in the orphanage fields. His aunt told him he could get in trouble for trespassing, but as John wrote in the song - "it is nothing to get hung about".
The pictures below are of John Lennon's house, and the original gate to the Strawberry Fields orphanage, which no longer exists.
Imagine - This song's message of peace has been used throughout the world in many forms and formats to promote its ideals. The picture below is of a traveling statue that has been around the world and is now back in Liverpool for six months.
Ringo Star only wrote two songs for the Beatles, and neither was especially related to growing up in Liverpool. But it was the experience of growing up in Liverpool and playing in skiffle bands that started Ringo on his road to fame and strengthened his skill set. Ringo used to hang out at, and play at, a place called the Empress Bar. The picture of the Empress Bar below reflects the pride the bar had that Ringo was part of their history. If you look at the side of the bar you may be able to see Ringo portrayed there.
We have a "ticket to ride" to a different city tomorrow, with "a little help from our friends" at Viking, after a "hard days night" where we may "twist and shout" to the Viking band's music. "Do you want to know a secret" about where we are going tomorrow? Stay tuned!