On Tuesday evening Mark and I embarked on our COVID-delayed 2020 holiday to Europe. We had a flight from Toronto to Gatwick at 22.15 and we were pleasantly surprised to see a virtually abandoned airport. There was nobody in line at security and I was whisked through. Shortly before boarding I removed my contact lenses, as I hoped to sleep on the flight, or at least try to, and didn’t want to nod off on the train trip to Liverpool or the ferry journey to the Isle of Man. Thus the best time to get some sleep would be on the plane. I did get some sleep, which wouldn’t have happened had I left my lenses in. I am virtually sightless without my lenses so I had to follow Mark out of the plane until we found the first washroom where I could wash my hands and put my lenses back in. Mark is a fast walker–faster than me–and I would have literally been lost if he darted off leaving me to feel my way around.
Before we left home Mark planned the train trips we would need to take to get from Gatwick to Liverpool. It required three trains, the second of which was the tube, so that was my first time riding these compressed semi-sausages which left hardly any room for our suitcases.
Our ultimate destination was Liverpool Lime Street station. Aside from commutes through Heathrow Airport, and just now through Gatwick, I had never before been to England. That I would start this trip, where I first set foot for an extended period of time on British soil in Liverpool, is of intimate significance to me as a Beatles fan. I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for the Beatles. They shaped my early teen years and moulded my love of music. I have friends of forty years whom I met through our shared love of this group. I continue to read books about the band and collect their music.
We spent the afternoon in the city in advance of our ferry trip to the Isle of Man. We are planning on a longer time here after we get back, when we have five days in Manchester. While we were walking along the pedestrian-only area Whitechapel, I noticed a familiar face:
This was none other than Brian Epstein, sculpted to gargantuan proportions, as he must be eight feet tall. A plaque was embedded in the street at Epstein’s feet commemorating his achievements. I later found out that the statue was only unveiled one month ago.
We bought our ferry tickets to the Isle of Man and left our luggage at the terminal. We would pick it up when the ferry arrived in Douglas. After our walk around the city, we had a scare when we arrived at the terminal ready to board and Mark couldn’t find the tickets. I feared they wouldn’t permit us to board, even when we saw the same employees who sold us the tickets checking passengers in. Mark explained the situation and they gladly printed off copies, as well as for our return trip. Thank goodness! It was later when we arrived at our hotel on the island that Mark discovered that he had packed the tickets in his suitcase which he had left at the ferry terminal.