Monthly Archives: July 2010

Liverpool Cathedrals

To Liverpool last Friday for a day out with Chris and Phyl.

Following a not-too-early start, and passing by Sainsbury’s for lunchtime provisions, sailed up the M53 and through the tunnel without problem — and furthermore (mirabile dictu!) navigated straight to the intended car park without error.

Coffee at Costa in the Albert Dock, then walked up to the Anglican cathedral, passing through Chinatown.

Arrived to find the place swarming with university bods decked out in mortar boards and gowns — seems the cathedrals are used for degree ceremonies for at least two of the city’s three "universities". On this occasion, JMU was in residence, but fortunately we arrived after the morning session had ended and before the afternoon one got started, do we were able to fit ourselves in. Suitably impressed by the size of the place, and liked most of what we saw, though found it a bit ornate in places – almost continental in some ways. Stained glass not a patch on some that we saw in Paris recently.

Lunched in St James’ garden, which is a kind of sunken park in the shadow of the cathedral – nice spot that we hadn’t visited before.

Up Rodney Street, looking for but failing to identify the house that once housed the office of Lancashire and Cheshire Child Adoption Council — the "place where we got Anna."

Called in to admire the interior of the Philharmonic Pub, opposite the ditto Hall — the gents’ toilet particularly worth seeing!

And so up Hope Street to "Paddy’s Wigwam".

We particularly wanted to see the Lutyens crypt, and made the mistake of following signs outside the cathedral that simply caused us to walk all the way round the outside for nothing. Eventually went in the main entrance and there discovered we were just in time to catch the last guided tour of the day. A very nice lady escorted us and several other folk into the crypt, and we enjoyed looking round, though were perhaps not as impressed as we had expected.

The cathedral itself is interesting and impressive in its own way; in fact, I think perhaps I prefer it to the Anglican! Would certainly like to go to a service there some time.

Paris 2010

Day 1 (Tuesday 6 July)

Departed Crewe 06:52 to Euston, arriving 8:30. By tube to St Pancras International where after a long walk we found check-in and passed through that and security quite quickly and without incident; worth noting we didn’t have a lot of room to spare time-wise (check-in closes 30 minutes before departure time). Fifteen minutes or so in the “lounge” until gates to platform opened for boarding. Departed St Pancras on time at 09:32; pleasant enough journey (certainly better than sitting in a plane with nothing but clouds to look at), arriving slightly early in Gare du Nord at 12:45. Straightforward transfer by Metro Line 4 to hotel. All-in-all a good experience, and definitely a less stressful and more convenient way to get here.

Lunch on corner at Saint Severin — salade de chevre chaud for me and omelette for JL: pretty good but dear.

Hotel as good as ever — this year room 535, which is a corner room, with plenty of space, a balcony, and view of the river (just about!) After our siesta was interrupted by over-enthusiastic hoovering in the corridor, walked across to the other side of Ile de la Cite and along the river for a bit, before heading to the “cafe on the bridge” for a beer. Came upon a school band and choir playing behind Notre Dame and stopped to listen for a while — turns out they are from a school in Cheshire (Warriner College)!!

Decided Pizza Marzano is a bit unadventurous so wandered locally looking for an alternative. JL determined to find “the place Maurice recommended” so that’s where we ended up (Le St Andre?). Pave of rump steak for me and confit de canard for herself, with an acceptable bottle of Morgon. Strolled by the river afterwards, ending with coffee at the cafe across from Notre Dame.

Day 2 (Wednesday)

Breakfast, not too early, in our usual place.

Since we haven’t been for quite a while, off to Montmartre and Sacre Couer. Metro line 4 all the way out to Marcadet Poissioniers, then line 12 back to Abbesses, then funicular to the top of the hill (definitely worth EUR1.70 each, even though it’s a distance only about 70 yards!)

The view is great, though it’s hard to pick out much detail (apart from Eiffel, of course), perhaps due to heat haze. The church itself is stunning, and the more enjoyable because a service was in progress; my French just about up to the readings and much of the liturgy, but gave up when it came to the sermon!

Wandered to Place du Tertre, stopping there for a coffee. Pestered by the silhouette-ists, two of whom insisted in completing me, even though I clearly said don’t bother.

Back downhill by haphazard route that fortuitously returned us to Abbesses metro station.

A very enjoyable morning.

Metro back to Solferino, emerging near Musee d’Orsay, then a walk home along the river; paused to share a paninni, washed down with a very expensive bottle of water.

Short rest at hotel, then passed most of the afternoon quite pleasantly in a little park/garden at the western end of Ile de la Cite, reading our books and people-watching.

Dinner at Le Relais de Lisle (piano bar, but minus piano) – excellent as ever; marred only by Americans (as ever!). Both started with Avocado with grapefruit, prawns, smoked salmon; to follow, I had medallions of pork and JL had giant prawns with mango; cheese for me and creme brulee to finish off.

Häagen-Dazs at the local ice cream parlour and coffee with cognac at Le Depart to round things off.

Generally, an excellent day.

Day 3 (Thursday)

Breakfast as usual. Another hot day is forecast.

Bought one-day tickets for the Bat-o-bus and set off just after 10:00. Enjoyed a sail down to Jardin ded Plantes and back up to Louvre without getting off. (It was hot!!). Coffee from a stall in the Louvre grounds, then back on the “bus” — so far we had twice arrived at the “bus stop” just in time to see boat disappearing: hoped this was not the pattern for the day.

Off at the next stop and walked around Champs Elysee; sat in the shade for a while, with a £1-50 bottle of water. Back on the boat and up to Tour Eiffel, there to buy an even more ridiculously priced baguette.

Back home by boat for a short snooze and to cool off — our room’s air conditioning is thankfully highly effective.

Passed remainder of the afternoon pleasantly in the Square du Vert Gallant again.

Evening meal at the Brasserie de l’Isle St Louis – as last year, an excellent experience. I had Marmite de Tripe something-or-other, which had nothing to do with tripe, but was a most enjoyable rustic bean stew type thing with bacon and a slice of sausage etc. JL had Jarret de Porc something-or-other, which was basically a ham hock with apple sauce and a cheese sauce. Both finished with a superb creme caramel.

Day 4 (Friday)

Breakfast displaced to another table because of veg. delivery taking place – don’t they know what time we have our breakfast?!

Then packed bags and paid our bill (11.00 latest check-out).

Passed the morning pleasantly enough in the Jardin de Luxembourg, ending with a late coffee at a café just outside. Noted a good supermarket on the Boul. St Mich. not far from Sorbonne (our usual one near the hotel being apparently closed down).

Back to Le Depart for a nice lunch.

Set off for Gare du Nord a little later than planned — not sure how we managed that, since we had nothing but time on our hands. Then got stuck on the metro for a time, watching the minutes tick by past check-in time. Finally arrive at the station verging on panic mode, to find long queue; French security were apparently being extra thorough, though with departure time looming they suddenly became less zealous. Ended up running the length of the train and probably were last to board, as the whistle blew. Departure 5 minutes late, or more, which I think is not what is expected!

With the temperature at least 32 degrees in the shade, and physical exertion not in the plan, we collapsed in a sweaty heap in our appointed seats and thanked the Lord the air con was working, JL declaring vehemently “I’m never doing this again!” 🙂

Remainder of the journey home went according to plan, though it was just as hot in London, and transfer from St Pancras to Euston was not a lot of fun (but better than the Metro!)