To people in England, it’s known for the locals’ scouse accent and loyal football supporters. To people around the world, it’s known as the home of Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and of course, The Beatles.
But for Ric and I, it’s actually the first place we’ve ever visited at the same time.
How, you ask, considering we met in Australia in 2010 and until my current trip, I had not visited England since 2007?
Let me start by explaining Ric’s love of Liverpool Football Club. I could go on and on about how he was born supporter and remains one even though he lives about 30-minutes from Old Trafford and most of his friends are Manchester United fans, but I’ll just say this: the first gift Ric ever bought me, was a Liverpool shirt.
What a man!
So of course he was in Liverpool on May 23, 2007 when they played AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League Final in Athens, Greece.
What’s weird is that, I was there too.
Out of all the days I chose to leave London, where I lived and spent most of my six months in England, out of all the cities in the north I could have visited, it was this day and this city I chose. I must admit though, I knew nothing of football at the time, but friendly northerners persuaded me to stay and watch the game. While I was sad they lost, I’m glad I stayed, because when I met a roaring and very handsome fan only three years later, I had something to wow him with.
So just over five years later, we returned to Liverpool together, with his two brothers, to tour Anfield, home to Liverpool FC, and wander around the city.
This was my first stadium tour ever and it might ruin all stadium tours in the future for a few reasons.
First, is the history. Originally, home to Everton, a rival Liverpool club, Anfield opened in 1884. Since then it’s has seen great triumph; like winning the top league 18 times, great men; like manager Bill Shankly who transformed the club to what it is today and great tragedy; a memorial to the 96 who died in the Hillsborough disaster stands next to Shankly Gates.
Second, is how much visitors see on the tour. In about an hour our group visited the press room, sat in the Kop as well as the team bench. I touched the “This is Anfield” sign before walking out to the pitch. I even sat in Gerrard’s spot in the team changing rooms. During all this, our guide told stories and facts about each stop on the tour.
Third, it was made extra special by going with Ric and his brothers. I can’t imagine bigger fans or more fun guys to go with.
The tour costs £16, which includes entrance into the museum. I recommend it to all Liverpool FC fans as well as those who have a general interest in Premiership football or just want to truly visit this northern city.
After the tour we spent a few hours just wandering around Liverpool. I know the city was under a lot of construction the last time I visited, but I was honestly shocked by how much it had changed. Liverpool has a diverse and interesting mix of refurbished and modern buildings. From the 14th century Medieval Church of All Saints, to the reinvigorated 19th century Albert Docks, to the extremely modern Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011, it’s impossible to keep your head down in this city. Somehow this combination of architecture and design works in the city. To complete it all is the waterfront, lined with old-fashion street lights.
Both times I’ve visited Liverpool I’ve had a reason. Next time, I’m looking forward to just spending the day walking around and finding all it has to offer, because it’s the kind of city that keeps on surprising its visitors, even when they’re as far away as Australia.
Have you ever visited Liverpool? What’s a city that truly surprised you on your travels?