Penny Lane is In My Ears and In My Eyes and Out the Bus Window

August 22 on the Grand Princess, and we are in Liverpool, England.  I have to admit, I don’t know anything about Liverpool other than the fact that is it the birthplace of the Beatles.  I even have a difficult time choosing an excursion here, because there isn’t anything that jumps out at me as something we would all enjoy doing.  There are 7 of us, and while I’d love some of the Titanic history, or even a walk in the Beatles footsteps, not all of us would.  We end up doing a city tour, and it turns out to be quite interesting.

The architecture in Liverpool is stunning.  There are old buildings that have all the fine detail buildings had back in the day interspersed with modern buildings and even a building that serves as moveable art.  I am so busy snapping pictures of the gorgeous things we are seeing that I honestly don’t hear very much of what the tour guide is saying.

This is another half day tour, so we don’t get to see a lot, but we do stop at two amazing churches.  One is a Catholic cathedral that has some of the most beautiful stained glass I have ever seen – until we go to the Church of England cathedral, which has even more stunning stained glass.  We see Albert Docks, and the Cunard building, and then we take a trip to see the heart of Beatles heaven.  A quick drive past the bronze Beatle statues, and a look down the street to see The Cavern Club, the venue where the Beatles first played – and were told to “cut out the bloody rock” when they played Elvis Presley songs. 

We drive around the city, and I am most fascinated by the Lamb Bananas that exist everywhere!  These are odd little Japanese sculptures, which I thought were dogs, but apparently they are half lamb, half banana.  They are painted in different colors and patterns, depending where they are in the city.  I thought they were cool.

Lamb Banana

The last highlight on our tour of Liverpool is to go down Penny Lane.  This is not an easy task in a large motorcoach, as Penny Lane is a rather narrow street.  The worst part of the whole experience was when our tour guide decided to play the song “Penny Lane” for us all to listen to as we drove down the street.  Except he played it on an old cassette player, and then held his microphone to the speaker on the cassette player for us to listen.  It was like listening to one of those “lost Beatles tapes” – you know, where someone taped them and they were in a bar somewhere with a really bad sound system. 

Interesting fact – our tour guide’s mother was in charge of organizing a street party in their Liverpool neighborhood.  She had to come up with some activities for the children, so she paid a young John Lennon 50 cents to do a few songs for the children.  She claimed it was Lennon’s first paid gig!

Back to the ship for the whole lunch time routine.  Eilis enjoyed the afternoon in the kids’ club, and we enjoyed the afternoon hanging around and relaxing. 

The best part of Liverpool?  Our deputy cruise director, Stu, is from Liverpool, and his Mum still lives there.  He had not seen her in 7 years, and he got to spend the day with her while we were in port.  I couldn’t wait until the Grand Princess morning show the next morning to hear how it went – and believe me, I welled up with tears when he talked about his visit!