Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A return to Liverpool

Not a day for the beach, Eddie and I decided to go up to Liverpool with Cousin Hovis. We have a good hire car - I got a free upgrade to a five-door VW Polo from which 52 miles to the gallon is easy. We set off in the rain and drive past Caernarfon and Bangor along the A55 Expressway to Flint, then turn off for Birkenhead. Leaving the Polo in a multi-storey car park, we walked down to the Mersey and took the ferry for Liverpool.

We saw the waterfront, the Albert Docks, had fish and chips, visited the Tate Gallery to see works by great 20th Century artists (surprising how many big names they have here), then went on a walking tour largely focused on architecture (in particular the splendid Art Deco Mersey tunnel infrastructure) before reaching Lime Street Station and catching the Wirral Rail train back across the Mersey to Birkenhead. We drove back to Llyn along the coast road, via Rhyl and Prestatyn.

From the pierhead we can see how busy is Liverpool's waterway, with tankers headed up the Mersey bound for Ellesmere Port and the Manchester Ship Canal. Above: the Stolt Puffin, a few minutes later we see its sister ship, the Stolt Auk. Below: our ferry, the Royal Iris.

Below: view from the Albert Docks, with a skyline of architecture from the early and late 20th Century and a lightship, now serving as a bar.

Below: A wall, a letterbox. With two slots. There's something very British about this view; it could almost have been taken in a film studio.

Below: Eddie stands in front of one of the Art Deco tollbooths (no longer functioning) at the entrance to the Birkenhead Tunnel, (or Queensway Tunnel), one of two under the Mersey. [For some reason, this spot puts me in mind of the Stranglers' song London Lady.] The Kingsway Tunnel - also known as the Wallasey Tunnel - was opened in 1971.

Below: crossing the River Dee. An industrial skyline welcomes us back into Wales. The north coast was formerly the playground of the Liverpudlian working classes, all the way up to Llandudno. Prestatyn still has some garish amusement arcades along the front, but the North Welsh riviera is more respectable than, say, Blackpool.

[More photos of Liverpool's architecture to come.]

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