What sent you on this adventure?
CM: We manage a travel blog, Creatively Clo, and worked with Visit Liverpool to coordinate the perfect stay! Since we are both huge Beatles fans, and with Liverpool being the “Home of the Beatles,” we knew it was a stop on our bucket list, and springtime in England is just beautiful.
What was most surprising about this adventure?
CM: Liverpool is definitely much livelier than I expected. You can find clubs and pubs around every corner. It was so neat to explore these clubs; a lot of them are hundreds of years old! Next door to our hotel there was an LGBTQ club that rocked the house till 4 a.m. Lucky we always pack some earbuds, so were able to sleep soundly.
AB: It’s hard to explain, but there’s just a different vibe there that makes it totally different from home in the States. The older buildings are one thing, but most of the residents have roots that date back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. These “old-world” sensibilities make interacting in the environment a real treat, as it’s evident you are, in some subtle ways and some obvious ways, a stranger.
If readers go, what should they absolutely fit into their itinerary?
CM: Take time to explore some of the quieter areas outside the hustle and bustle of the city. There are dozens of beautiful, historic cathedrals and landmarks right at your fingertips. The Liverpool Cathedral, Royal Liver Building, and Central Library are quite magnificent.
AB: The Magical Mystery Bus Tour takes you through the city and points out every Beatles-related location you could imagine! But outside the Beatles, a walk down the waterfront is very pretty, and there’s a nearby mall if shopping is on your agenda.
What airline did you fly, and where did you stay?
CM: We flew with IcelandAir; it’s a budget airline, and if you’re OK with a quick layover in Iceland, it’s worth it. We paid $550 RT total for two of us! Be warned though; Iceland does get a lot of snow and ice, which can create delays, especially in the colder months. Our plane back home was delayed about an hour due to ice on the runaways.
AB: We stayed at the Base Apartments, which is like a home away from home. It was a one-bedroom, with a full kitchen and living room. Base has several apartments throughout the city, but we chose the one closest to the heart of the city, on Cumberland Street. It was very convenient, as we preferred to walk and explore rather than rely on public transit.
What was the best thing about your trip?
CM: Definitely visiting the Cavern Club. If you don’t know, The Cavern Club is where the Beatles got their start. If you dare, on Friday nights, they have karaoke-style singing where you can jump on the stage and sing and even play with the band.
AB: I get a real kick out of walking the streets of an unfamiliar city, absorbing the local culture from overhearing conversations and looking at the local architecture. Popping into random shops on the road and browsing the stock allows you to get to know a place in a way that’s only possible by actually being there.
What was the coolest thing or things you learned on this adventure about the people you met and/or yourself?
CM: Liverpool is a smaller city about three hours away from London, and they really love their visitors. From chatting with both locals and other tourists in the pubs, streets, and clubs, everyone was fascinated we came all the way from Washington and wanted to hear more about our hometown.
AB: Liverpool is full of friendly, fun people. We were welcomed with open arms, and the good nature of the Liverpudlians was evident wherever we went, from our bus tour guide, to our apartment manager, to random people in the clubs we visited.
What didn’t we ask you that we should have? Feel free to share more.
CM: Thanks to Rick Steves’ guidebook, we picked up a little trick that saves you time and money, by avoiding picking up your euros before leaving the States. There are dozens of ATMs at every street corner, in the train stations, and even at the airport, and best of all, they have free withdrawals. Just be sure to alert your bank that you are heading on a trip, so you don’t have issues using your card.
AB: A must is good walking shoes. Taxis and public transportation are available, or you can rent a car, if that’s what you prefer. But the bills will start piling up, and you’ll soon realize there are other things more worth your money than transportation. Skip the taxi, and walk to your destinations if you can. It’ll pay off in allowing you to explore the city more and be more immersed in the local culture.