Have you ever met someone in a bar and hours later, when you said your goodbyes, had plans to visit them? I have (twice, actually). My friends and I were at Scholar’s Lounge in Rome during out first weekend of study abroad. We were casually sipping whiskey and cokes and watching the NFL playoffs when some English guys insisted that we explain this confusing game to them. I’m still not sure if this was just a line or if they actually didn’t know, but anyhow, a few hours later they invited us to come visit them in Liverpool in a few weeks and tour all the city had to offer (spoiler alert: it involves The Beatles). We figured, they were nice enough and, I mean, nice enough is totally reason to cross international borders, right? Right. We decided we would book a hotel as to avoid any awkward situations (as in, we are here to see Liverpool and have fun but none of us want to bone you) or getting killed.
Flash forward two weeks later. After a minor interrogation at customs we walked into the arrivals area at John Lennon International Airport, looked at each other with some uncertainty and headed to find our new friend who was going to drive us to our hotel. That night, our first order of business was to break the awkwardness with some pints. It may have helped the awkwardness but I’m not sure where it left the level of comprehension. People from Liverpool have some funky accents. Half the time I wasn’t even sure they were speaking English. And in loud places? Smile and nod. I won’t bore you with the details but the night involved drinking in a way that only the English know how, a bar (Grapes?) that Beatles used to hang out at after shows and really horrible Chinese food at around 4 am.
The next day we woke up and weren’t feeling so hot. It was about 30 degrees (Fahrenheit, I might’ve been in England but I’m still American) outside and I just wanted to lay on the sidewalk and let the cold breeze from the river sweep over me while I cried but I bucked up and went on the Beatles tour. Well, kind of. We didn’t realize that the Magical Mystery Bus tour would actually sell out. But it does. The tourist office was nice enough to help us organize a private tour given by a knowledgeable taxi driver. Our tour encompassed a large part of the city and we got to see places such as John Lenon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes, Strawberry Field (and the nearby church where John and Paul first met), Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby’s grave and learn a lot of interesting facts about the group and their songs, as well as the history of the band. Also worth a stop if you’re a Beatles Buff? The Beatles Story museum at Albert Dock.
After the tour we powered through our sheer exhaustion in order to see a band play at the Cavern Club where the Beatles first displayed their musical genius to the masses.
Our flight departed early the next morning and as I fell asleep with “Let it Be” playing loudly through my earbuds to block out the incessant RyanAir fanfare I could only think one thing- going to visit strangers totally rocks.