Everyone’s On Holiday

Just got off a three day weekend.  This is a distinctly American phrase, as over here they are called Bank Holidays.  It was like the stars all lined up as we had the perfect plan with perfect weather thrown in for good measure.

Chester

We booked this weekend back in February and decided to visit Chester, which is a medieval city right on the border with Wales, and about 60 miles south of Liverpool, and about 100 miles from Melton Mowbray.  We lucked out with a really nice apartment a minutes walk from the wall, as Chester is a walled city.  York is a walled city as well, but unlike York we could see the wall from our balcony (yes, a first for us), which afforded us some cool air to sit in under sunshiny skies. We spent Friday night and Saturday day exploring the city and all its history.

Chester was crowded! Lots of people on holiday as well, taking photos, drinking, and shopping.  We walked the walls (about 2 miles), stopping off here and there to see ancient sites, visit museums, buy snacks, and enjoy the sunshine.  Heck, we even headed back to our flat for a midday meal just because we easily could, then hopped back onto the walls to explore more.

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These photos are all taken from the wall walk.  This is the bridge over the river Dee, heading south into Wales.  There has been a bridge here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years as it was part of the original trade route.

These photos are all taken from the wall walk. This is the bridge over the river Dee, heading south into Wales. There has been a bridge here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years as it was part of the original trade route.

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Chester is filled with all kinds of old things.  Old clocks, old buildings, old Roman ruins.  Lots of history and lots of fun to check out.  Luckily the kids seemed to enjoy the history as well and were enthralled at the sizable crowds of people, as London had been the only place where it felt as busy.

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Most of Chester burned down in the 1500s, but it was rebuilt in much of the Tudor style.  Newer buildings chose to adopt the same style, the white with painted wooden planks.

Most of Chester burned down in the 1500s, but it was rebuilt in much of the Tudor style. Newer buildings chose to adopt the same style, the white with painted wooden planks.

The Chester Rows are the covered, raised walkways that jut out from the town centre.  They are an anomaly in Europe and the reason for them being built is still a mystery, though they date back well over 500 years.

The Chester Rows are the covered, raised walkways that jut out from the town centre. They are an anomaly in Europe and the reason for them being built is still a mystery, though they date back well over 500 years.

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Most cities in America do not encourage pigeons, but not in England!

Most cities in America do not encourage pigeons, but not in England!

With trusty guide map in hand.

With trusty guide map in hand.

Our coats were soon to come off on this weekend to reveal our skin to the skies.

Our coats were soon to come off on this weekend to reveal our skin to the skies.

Roman ruins.

Roman ruins.

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Beer sampler from the Bear and Billet, a famous ancient city pub.  The gent next to us had his pet Irish Wolfhound next to him.  It looked like a pony.

Beer sampler from the Bear and Billet, a famous ancient city pub. The gent next to us had his pet Irish Wolfhound next to him. It looked like a pony.

Another free museum worth dying to visit.

Another free museum worth dying to visit.

Would you trust your money with this young lady? The Chester race track is the oldest in England.

Would you trust your money with this young lady?
The Chester racecourse is the oldest in England.  The races were happening on Sunday, but we would find ourselves out of town on a different adventure.

As usual, we could not see all that we wanted.  There were a few old sites inside the walls we missed, a couple pubs we could not find, and some souvenir shops that went untouched.  We tried to eat in as much as possible to cut costs, and the kids saw that for 29 GBP we could eat multiple meals and have plenty of snacks, whereas eating out in a pub one time would set us back over 50 GBP.

These Roman grave markers were found buried alongside the north wall.  Because they were buried so long they did not deteriorate and are in very good shape.

These Roman grave markers were found buried alongside the north wall. Because they were buried so long they did not deteriorate and are in very good shape.

These little homes below the wall and alongside the canal looked very peaceful.

These little homes below the wall and alongside the canal looked very peaceful.

Kids goofing around in the pub.

Kids goofing around in the Bear and Billet.

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Chester City was a lot of fun and we put some serious miles onto our trainers.  But the weekend had plenty more to offer, as on Sunday we got up early to leave Chester for Liverpool.

Liverpool

Liverpool all along was Rebecca’s idea.  She really wanted to go here to see some Beatles stuff and see this big city.  I, on the other hand, did not mind if we missed it.  I even heard that the city was a bit depressing.  Fortunately no one listened to me as we had a great time.  The sun was really out today.  We caught a 9:30 train and got into Liverpool a little after 10.  Straight away we headed for the Albert Docks to look for our first destination–The Magical Mystery Tour bus.

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George Harrison's boyhood home.  An old lady lives in it now and we were instructed not to knock on the door.

George Harrison’s boyhood home. An old lady lives in it now and we were instructed not to knock on the door.

George probably played football in his street at one time.

George probably played football in his street at one time.

 

John Lennon's boyhood home.

John Lennon’s boyhood home.

Paul McCartney's boyhood home.  Both his and John's homes are owned by the National Trust, of which we are members, and you can take private tours of these properties.

Paul McCartney’s boyhood home. Both his and John’s homes are owned by the National Trust, of which we are members, and you can take private tours of these properties.

Ringo got the short end.  His boyhood home is on a block where the whole thing is condemned and set for demolition.  These folks are outside of where he lived, as we did not get off the bus.

On the other hand, Ringo got the short end. His boyhood home is part of a block condemned and set for demolition. These folks are outside of where he lived, as we did not get off the bus.  The city may save his home, but his neighborhood was depressing.

The shuttered pub basically across the street.

The shuttered pub basically across the street.

The cover of Ringo's first solo album.

The cover of Ringo’s first solo album. The Empress definitely has seen better days.

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The bus tour was about two hours long and took us over North and South Liverpool, pointing out sites.  Not too expensive and the kids liked all the Beatles trivia.  Afterwards we got dropped off downtown to visit the Cavern Club.  What was really interesting is that it opens early and is free to go into, and there is live music playing all the time.  In the evenings bands play and you have to pay.  The kids got a kick of being inside a really dark, loud, beer drinking club.  And it was only 12:30 in the afternoon!

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After we had our Beatles fix we headed back to the Albert Docks to take in the Tate Liverpool gallery, as well as the recently opened Museum of Liverpool.  Both were well worth our time, but it was also nice to be alongside the Mersey River in the sunshine amongst all the Liverpudlians.  Turns out there was a HUGE football match that day between Liverpool and Everton, so the town was full of supporters from both sides.  This meant, of course, that when it came time to eat dinner no place was available for at least an hour.  And I mean even the dingiest pubs were packed.  Hey, it was Bank Holiday and the town was out to party down.

Lots of drinking outside in the sun and some public drunkenness, but nothing threatening.  Rebecca even guided us to a brewpub near the Docks where the pints were made in the basement and were quite tasty.  We ended up taking the train back to Chester and getting Chinese takeaway for dinner.

Apparently there is a ferry that crosses the Mersey, but I did not see it.

Apparently there is a ferry that crosses the Mersey, but I did not see it.

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Warhol

Warhol

 

Mondrian

Mondrian

 

"Souped-Up Tea"

“Souped-Up Tea”

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Great ales within.

Great ales within. Beer has been poured on this site since the 1600’s.

 

We saw a couple different old commercial vans converted into ice cream trucks.  Mr Whippy made everyone smile today.  Look at that sun.  I tell ya it was pleasant out.

We saw a couple different old commercial vans converted into ice cream trucks. Mr Whippy made everyone smile today. Look at that sun. I tell ya it was pleasant out.

 

Billy Fury

Billy Fury

A very interesting building that I could not figure out how it was used.  I may research it.

A very interesting building we saw whilst looking for someplace to eat. Those are stacked doors that reach all the way to the rooftop.

Coming soon…Chester Zoo!

5 thoughts on “Everyone’s On Holiday

  1. This is a great post! Sounds like so much fun! I just heard a piece on NPR about Liverpool and it’s depression/comeback? Liverpudlians – love that term. They used it on NPR too. What is the photo of the wide boulevard-looking area with the sparse trees and new, mod buildings? Looks a bit Soviet. The Baltic Fleet is very cool looking. What do you think the building with bottom to top doors is for? Any idea what the red sculptures are supposed to be? Looks like something off the Titanic. I LOVE Mr. Whippy! That is spectacular. Glad you’re finally getting some good weather and you all had a good time.

  2. Looks like both places were a lot of fun to visit. Enjoying very nice weather here, in the 80’s!
    -Carol

  3. Great report! Boy! I’d give a 5er to be there with you for a pint. Loved your pictures. Some travel agency will want to buy them from you. Keep up the good traveling!

  4. Rick Steves may hire you! The raised walks you show are from the time the wealthier folk preferred to to be “above the fray”, so to speak. I marvel at your reporting! Regards, Jim

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