Thursday was the 50th anniversary of "A Day in the Life" being recorded. What a great day to take the Beatles tour!
We started the day by taking the bus into Liverpool, and our first stop was St. Peter’s Church where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met. We got to walk around the churchyard, and saw the grave of Eleanor Rigby and Father Mackenzie (although McCartney says he came up with the names they are real people whose graves he saw as a child).
St. Peter's Church
Eleanor Rigby's grave
After the church we drove by Strawberry Field, which used to be a Salvation Army home for children. We then drove around Liverpool and saw both Lennon and McCartney’s childhood homes. You can’t go into either without being part of a tour from the National Trust, which is very unfortunate. Apparently the people who used to own Lennon’s house wouldn’t let anybody in, including Yoko Ono! McCartney’s house is in the middle of a suburban street which for some reason struck me as very funny. It seems very out of place as a landmark, and I feel so bad for the neighbors who must just be stormed by fans.
Lennon's childhood home*
McCartney's childhood home
After McCartney’s house we went to Penny Lane. We stood on the roundabout that is mentioned in the song and our tour guide read us the lyrics while pointing out all of the landmarks that are mentioned in the song. He then played “Penny Lane” for us (as well as other songs at the specific venues they mention).
Here is the barbershop mentioned in "Penny Lane"
We also got to see the statue of Eleanor Rigby near Matthew Street (basically Beatles mecca). There were tons of Beatles stores and then we went to The Cavern Club. As far as I can remember, our tour guide told us that the Beatles played there 290 times. It isn’t the original venue anymore, but the modern club consists of about 75% of the original space. When we went downstairs there was someone playing “Pinball Wizard”. It was absolutely fantastic!
Statue of Eleanor Rigby
The Cavern Club
Outside of The Cavern Club they have a statue of John Lennon, a wall with all the #1 singles produced by Liverpool musicians, and a huge wall with the names of everyone who has performed in The Cavern Club. It was insane to be surrounded by that much music history!
After the Beatles tour, and a quick stop at Albert Dock, we went to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. It was one of the best museums I have been to. We focused on the International Slavery Museum; it was absolutely unbelievable. The museum examined the slave trade as it related to Liverpool (it was a hub of the trade) and the legacy that slavery has left on the world. It emphasizes the fact that slavery still exists in the world; it is not something that has been solved. It was especially difficult to look at the artifacts in the museum and realize that they had been used to imprison human beings.
Royal Liver Buildings
Friday was a really relaxing day. Most of the group went to Paris for the weekend, so there are only 7 students in Manchester at the moment. A few of us spent the morning in a little cafe called Fig and Sparrow. It was really cute, and in a different area of town than we normally go to (so a double win in my mind).
After the cafe we just walked around Manchester doing a little bit of sightseeing. We didn't really do anything spectacular, but it was really nice to spend more time just walking around the city. Everything seems much closer together now that we are more familiar with the city.
Tonight the group is going out to an Indian Restaurant for dinner (very exciting because there isn't a ton of Indian food in Alaska). This weekend is shaping up to very relaxing, exactly what is needed after three busy weeks in Manchester.
*(Photo credit Kait Dawson)