Written by IainB
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Thursday, 22 October 2009

image for Travel Guide: Liverpool One of Liverpool's many shopping centres: Liverpool One (any other team 2)

There can be fewer more beautiful cities than the jewel on the Mersey that is Liverpool.

Once home to the Beatles, this lively metropolitan city sees regular visitors from all over the world who visit Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and search in vain for Abbey Road (which is in London). The Cavern is a Mecca for these travel weary Beatles fans, though the original club has long since become a travel agents.

But Liverpool has more to offer the seasoned visitor than mere Beatles tat sold by raven haired Scousers. There are the twin cathedrals, the twin football grounds and the 'Twins' on Lime Street (very reasonable, pleasure guaranteed). The architecture of the city lends this iconic land a distinctive look without rival. Many of the buildings come from an era when Liverpool was the world hub of the slave trade, but this is quietly forgotten amid debates of exactly what kind of bird the Liver Bird is (current theory states it is a kind of duck).

A more friendly populace cannot be found on the planet, and the vast majority are NOT thieving scum-bags who would relieve you of all your possessions at the drop of a hat. They have their own unique dialect of English simply called Scouse. Men are called La and women are called Tilly, stupid people are divs, and clever people are thin on the ground. Ask for directions to any of the famous landmarks and only infrequently will you be directed to a random location that leaves you lost and bewildered. When asking for directions, it is usually better to ask the men, not because they are more likely to know the location of the Catholic Cathedral, but because they speak within the range of human hearing. Liverpudlian women speak at a range only heard by dogs, and at a speed that leaves even the most fluent 'Scouse' speaker well behind.

The city sits upon the River Mersey, a river that currently holds the record as the most polluted river in the world, and it is said that drinking from it will either kill you or make you invulnerable to becoming a vampire. The famous 'Ferry Across the Mersey' (as eulogised by Jerry and the Pacemakers) is the only ferry in the world with wheels, and on a busy day, it is quicker to walk across the river than wait for the ferry. Alternatively, there are two tunnels that travel under the Mersey, though at any one time, there is only one open due to an ancient by-law that prohibits easy travel under the river.

Liverpool has had a long history with its river, from the aforementioned slave trade to its more modern guise as a general purpose port. At various points in the year, there are events taking part at the city's slowly rotting Albert Dock, including the Tall Ships, where masted vessels from around the world wend their way into the city. Recently, the QE2.2 arrived in Liverpool, back to its spiritual home, with Cunards having started in the city, despite being owned by a Canadian.

With a vibrant multi-cultural society, the range of cuisine in the city is matched only by London, but is much more concentrated, in some cases, Greek-Indian-Italian-Yiddish food being sold in a single restaurant. Little Italy on Lark Lane in Aigburth is well worth a visit, as it boasts that not a single customer has ever been ill because of their food; a rare boast indeed.

No travel guide to Liverpool can omit the music scene of the city, that started way back in the 60s and has continued ever since. Luminaries such as The Lightning Seeds, the Zutons, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Echo and the Bunnyman are only partially eclipsed by the Beatles, whilst Elvis Costello and Half Man Half Biscuit also herald from this colourful city. At any one time the various clubs and bars in the city centre are hosting a myriad of musical styles, from heavy rock at the Grapes (near the Adelphi) to Alternative Punk-Pop Fusion at the Student Union Bar on Melbourne Street. If music is not your thing, then how about comedy. Liverpool has produced some of the finest comics the world has ever seen, such as Jimmy Tarbuck, Ken Dodd and Arthur Askey, though Alexi Sayle was the last funny man to emerge from the city, and that was thirty years ago. However, for a quick chortle The Vines on Lime Street is the place to head to.

For more frivolous proclivities, the night club scene in Liverpool may have been in decline for the past twenty years, but it still remains outstanding. Head for the Bombed Out Church (see above for how to get directions) and look for a door with a red light above it for the best night of your life. Take plenty of money, but keep it in your shoes.

Finally, for those hardy travellers who wish to see a little more of Liverpool, and of the cities one thousand hotels will put you up for an extended stay if you utter the magic phrase "I'm on a DHSS benefit".

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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