Week 2, part 4

A view of one of the most grand buildings in central Liverpool, the Marks & Spencer department store.

The street sign at the entrance to Penny Lane.

This simple row house was the birthplace of George Harrison.

Tuesday was our day to visit Liverpool. As in most major cities, there was a lot to marvel at in the city center. But we would have seen none of it if it hadn't been for the Beatles - our real reason for visiting Liverpool. The bulk of our afternoon was spent on the Magical Mystery Tour, a guided tour of Beatles sites. The bus we were on was not the same one that was in the movie, but it was identical. (Odd mechanical characteristic: two front axles - both axles turn when the wheel is turned.) As the bus tooled around Liverpool, our guide told stories of the Beatles' early days, their upbringing, how they met each other and got started, etc. We got to see the houses where each of them grew up, as well as a handful of places that are the subject of their music.

We got off the bus four times in the course of the 2 1/2 hour tour, and each time it was a quick circus of picture-taking. One stop was at the entrance to Penny Lane, and everyone had their pictures taken in front of the "Penny Lane" street sign. Where we didn't stop was the other end of Penny Lane, which was much more compelling, for it was the location of "the shelter in the middle of the roundabout." This is where Paul wrote the lyrics to the song one day while sitting there waiting for John. We also got to take pictures of each other at the entrance to Strawberry Fields, and at the boyhood homes of George Harrison and Paul McCartney.

As with our other guided tour (see last week's update about the Stonehenge/Avebury experience), we would have liked to have spent more time at some of the sites, especially around the Penny Lane roundabout, where we didn't stop at all. But on the other hand, if left to our own devices, we would have had a hard time finding any of these places at all, so in the end it was pretty much worth it ... except that when the tour ended and the bus dumped us off at the Cavern Club, we were completely disoriented and had no idea how to get back to the train station where we started.

RoZ steps back onto the Magical Mystery Tour bus after a picture-taking session.

RoZ poses at the gate to Strawberry Field.

Some artwork in the wall on Mathew Street, commemorating some of Liverpool's most famous natives.

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