I have fallen off the radar with posting lately. With the end of the year came more work than I had ever done in my life, preparation for the trip of a lifetime to South Africa, short trips booked within two weeks of one another and changes happening once again in my career that gave me little time to breathe, let alone write. But now I will get back into this, and as it slowly becomes my only outlet for writing I’m going to make it an important part of my schedule!
So, at the end of November, on the back of heading to Portugal to visit a friend, I made the trip to Liverpool to see another. And the friend from Portugal came too. And some girls from London as well. Somehow it ended up being a complete reunion of most of my favourite people on this continent – something that seemed to happen by complete luck as we can hardly find time to Skype nowadays, and it was a meeting that likely won’t happen for a long time thereafter (until I get married perhaps). It certainly made my 12 hour travel time consisting of a train to Munich, then a flight to Manchester, then a train to the hostel totally worth it.
So when we arrived we had dinner and cocktails on the waterfront, and it already looked like a beautiful city, even in the rain and with cab drivers refusing to take us the short trip back to the hostel. By morning the sun was shining, a rare sight in an English winter (I know this from experience), and we took the opportunity to walk around and see the city from one side to the other. The shops were bustling as Christmas crept up and with an ice skating rink in the city centre, along with a few German-style christmas markets here and there, it made for lots to see as we wandered around the waterfront once more and took in the sights of the huge ships with fellow tourists. Eventually we came across Mathew St, the place in Liverpool cashing in the most on The Beatles’ fame. They played regular gigs at the Cavern Club before becoming household names and with two venues across the street from each other there’s something for everyone, and I could enjoy my first English cider since we visited London a couple of months before.
After our own little tour of the street we headed to Hard Days’ Night, a classy cocktail bar with Beatles themed cocktails, and a friend insisted we try a Ringo’s Drumstick, a lethal vodka martini with a lollipop for added flavour.
Thankfully we survived the experience, and equipped with our Liverpool ‘costume’ purchases – fake tan, fake lashes, hairspray and double-sided tape – we headed home to get ready, enjoying the sightings of girls walking around in public with their rollers intact along the way.
The night brought a lot of drinking and dancing. We were advised not to bring our coats despite the negative temperatures, because Liverpool nightclubs don’t have cloakrooms, and the pre-drinks gave us just enough courage to take such advice. Everyone in the bars were so friendly, and the music was aptly 90s-esque, making for a brilliant night out. After arriving back at the hostel at around 5am, we finished our late night snacks with some visiting French and Irish guys who could play Oasis songs on their guitar.
The next day brought a lot of pain as we licked our wounds at a Wetherspoons, and once again I was reminded why their roast lunches are only 7 quid. We all had long journeys ahead of us to get home – my Portugal friend’s was the worst, as she had to take a plane at 6 the next morning from London and had planned to sleep at the airport – mine wasn’t much better, as I contemplated arriving at Munich at 11pm, and hiring a car to get home in time to prepare for a job interview the next morning.
Of course, a couple of months after the trip I found out Ryanair is going to start flights from Stuttgart to Manchester which would have made my journey a lot easier. But the new travel route will come in handy, and I would highly recommend going to Liverpool, or any place in the north of England – the personalities are far more interesting than in the south of the country, the culture always makes for a huge part of the city’s identity, and English food will always have a really special place in my heart after being deprived of it in Germany for nearly two years now.
Will certainly be heading back for another visit, and on Ryanair this time!