Luxuriating in Liverpool

Posted by Jay in Travel on March 10th, 2014

So as many of you know, I’m on my way to Liverpool. This is exciting for me for two reasons, 1) this will be my very first time in Northern England and 2) I’ll be with 3 good friends of mine.

On the way over to the station from my house, I took a cab as opposed to taking a bus that would go straight from my house to the station. My issue with that is that while I can and do take my suitcase by myself, every time that I do it makes me lean towards my left side, which after a while begins to hurt slightly. And I’m sure that my doctor would advise me otherwise, so I’m trying to be good in my grand old age of 24.

So as I arrived at the station, I made a dash for the bathrooms to doll myself up, as you never know where you could meet your future baby daddy! And when I got back out I met up with the friend that I would be going with up North.

As the platform was announced I motioned to take my suitcase in search of platform 13 but my friend told me not to worry that she could take both her and my suitcase.

Which thank goodness she did as she helped hurry us along to get ourselves to the poor people coaches, also known as NOT first class and all the way down the platform as far away from the entrance as they could possibly get us. Or so I think.

While I do like to pride myself on being a 21st century woman who can and does do things for herself, a helping hand is always appreciated. Especially since Virgin trains close their doors TWO minutes prior to departure, whereas other carriers leave thirty seconds before departure. In case anyone working for Virgin trains is reading this, why such a long time? Give those on crutches, who are regularly late for most things, a fighting chance please!

Getting out of the station and getting a very funny and very Scouse cab driver who tells us that we Southerners are in for a crash course lesson in life outside of London. During the drive we find out that he had actually been paralysed during an operation and had been unable to walk or do much of anything for himself. But he managed to become a cab driver and a very lively one at that! Meeting him really gave me hope that I may one day learn how to drive, once I get spatial awareness.


Hotel room view; Albert Dock and the Liverpool Eye can be seen in the background


Funny photo in an accessible bathroom in a restaurant called “House” in Liverpool

On the first night, I met up with my friends and had a small tour of the city and the Christmas market in the centre.



Not quite Rudolph, but I quite liked the lit up reindeers in the shopping area

As a side note, I have already learnt something new on my journey; Runcorn is an actual place in England! I thought that they had just made it up for the TV show “2 pints of lager and a packet of crisps.” Yes, I am an arrogant Londoner. Sue me.

On Tuesday I had the chance to go to the Liverpool Cathedral, which is the largest Anglican cathedral in the world. Having been to quite a few cathedrals in my time, I was particularly excited about visiting this one. After travelling around for a bit, things usually start becoming samey and everything looks like something you have seen before in a different city with barely noticeable differences.



Saw China Town on the way to the Cathedral, was unfortunately empty when I was there


Next to China Town was “The Blackie”. Yes, that is the name. No, I do not know why it’s called that.

What really stood out for me about the cathedral was how accessible I found it. Having come from London and regularly marvelling at the beauty of St Paul’s Cathedral, what always irked me to this day is the fact that I have never been able to make it to the top.



Outside the Liverpool Cathedral

The Cathedral had many signs, lifts and even a wheelchair to ensure that disabled visitors would be able to make the most of the site. This is a lot more than can be said about many other holy places that I’ve been to on my travels.


Wheelchair that is provided by the Cathedral.


Lift that allowed access to the lower levels of the Cathedral

The only part of the Cathedral that was not wheelchair accessible was the top of the Cathedral itself, which could only be accessed by walking up many, many flights of stairs.


These are one set of those many stairs

While I wish all sites of interest and tourist hotspots could be accessible by all, the issue is that many of the sites were built many years ago before the technology was available to make buildings accessible and also before people ever had the inclination to even and make attractions, and cities as a whole, easy to navigate for people with different abilities.


Half way stage, you can see the Cathedral bells. And try desperately not to look down for too long


On top of the Cathedral, feeling accomplished and slightly cold

Even though I do try my very best to see all parts of old buildings that I have come across in my travels, some are just damn near impossible or may lead to an injury, which I would not particularly care for. After the cathedral, I made my way over to the International Slavery Museum which is located within Albert Dock.


The museum was interesting for me because a portion of it was dedicated to Nigeria and different tribes within the country and their masquerades, in particular, Igbo land. It opened my eyes to some of the culture left to explore in the motherland!


I ended the day with a quick look at the Liverpool Eye, at night time. Was pretty impressed by it, actually. A lot more spectacular than the Ferris wheel in Nottingham which was just too rickety for my liking.


Not as glorious as the London Eye, but it was rather pretty

On the next day, I set about to Crosby Beach in order to see the Iron Men that were part of Antony Gormley’s “Another Place” on the beach and in the sea.


As with most trains within the UK, it has a big step from the platform to the train

It was ridiculously windy on the day and as I was by the coast, I felt the effects of the cold a lot more. It also didn’t help that I did not have any gloves with me at the time.


The sign at the entrance of the beach


One of the many Iron Men strewn along the beach.

After being on the beach for about half an hour, and having a lot of the sand in my eyes or in my mouth, I went back to Albert Dock to see the Tate Liverpool Museum and the Museum of Liverpool. Getting to the museums was an absolute mission as it was very windy on that day, so windy in fact that the journey from my hotel to the Dock which would normally take me under 15 minutes, took nearly 40 minutes as I was so terrified of being blown away and out to sea!


Don’t let the calm sea facade fool you, it was super windy!

Once I had managed to get safely inside, both museums were very accessible and had some interesting pieces, the one which most caught my eye however was, Mandy Mandala the Superlambanana who can be found in the Museum of Liverpool.


Here Mandy is in all her fabulous potassium laced glory. She’s half lamb, half banana and all awesome.

While Mandy is obviously the cutest superlambanana out there, two other pieces that caught my eye were in the Tate Modern by an artist called Louise Bourgeois [1911 – 2010] and the showed the progession of a tree that started out whole, but then had different parts of it amputated and each progression showed it becoming a human figure with different amputations. It really got me thinking about how I view disability and how others might view it also, from the outside looking in;

Topiary: The Art of Improving Nature [1998]



I ended my tour of Liverpool with a trip to the Central Perk cafe right by the LJMU and treated myself to a behemoth of a waffle. Every bite was delicious, especially as it was coupled with episodes of Friends!


I could not contain my excitement at being on the famous orange couch.

After the waffle, I made a mad dash for the train station and narrowly caught the train going back to London. All in all, I enjoyed my trip up North but I will not be able to get used to the all bus and no underground system.

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about Jayon UPDATE: As of 25/09/2015 Nigeria has been removed from the WHO's Polio Endemic List! Having been born in Nigeria, I hail from one of three countries where polio is still unfortunately endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. I had contracted the poliovirus before my ...Read More

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