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Well, I’m extremely happy to say that this day is finishing up a lot better than it started out. I still haven’t had any sleep yet today owing to my much more necessary requirement of a shower and then email correspondence and the room is starting to get a little blurry as I struggle to maintain consciousness long enough to finish this up (at 19:14; isn’t that sad?) but I can honestly say that I’ve fulfilled pretty much all of my hopes for Liverpool.

After doing my hobo-riding from Manchester to York to Manchester, it was finally late enough in the day (6:30 or so) that there were trains to Liverpool and I got to the hostel (the Embassie again, same as last week) at about 7:15. The owner greeted me with familiarity, and I finally got a scalding hot shower in the horrific bathroom. For me though, after I reach a certain level of sleeplessness, my skin goes numb so I couldn’t really feel it. I set off as early as I could to get to the Beatles Story exhibit down on the docks, and spent the next couple hours engrossed in the historical story of the group’s beginnings, middles, and sadly, the ends. The place is essentially a museum to the Beatles, with a lot of the props from their (comical) movies and album covers as well as some rare artifacts as well (such as John Lennon’s tinted glasses, worth approximately £1,000,000 at its auction, and the only blue vinyl copy of The White Album LP in existence).

From there, I decided it would be within my best interests to find out something about this little-known sport that a couple regions in Great Britain occasionally play…”football,” I believe they call it. In all seriousness though, it’s amazing the Brits’ devotion to football. It makes American devotion to our “football” look like maybe having a preference for a certain breakfast cereal. I toured the museum of the Liverpool Football Club to the north of the city, where I struck up a conversation with a die-hard Liv FC fan who explained the history of the team to me as I was walking through the museum, what the various trophies were, and also a little bit of the darker and sadder consequences of the zeal of the fans. Liverpool is the best Club in the British nation, and have won 5 European Union trophies since the late ’70s (and just barely missed out on one last week, too). However, as I discovered, the massive crowd rushes can be deadly, as there’s been a few incidents involving the deaths of dozens, and in the most recent case, almost a hundred people in trampling or just being crushed to death under the weight of tens of thousands of eager, excitable fans. I didn’t get to see the field itself, unfortunately, but it was nice to have someone tell me more about the famous sport that America has essentially ignored. Of course, being an American, of course I was asked the question, “why the hell does your bloody country call it the wrong name?” and all I could do was shrug helplessly. I’ve sometimes wondered that myself; what the heck was the person who named it thinking when he chose a name that was already taken?

Finally, I decided to make my last stop of the day the huge and imposing Liverpool Cathedral, which I had walked past several times when I was here last week but never gone into. The cathedral is known for its superlatives, as my guidebook says…not only does it have the tallest ceiling in the world, it also has the heaviest set of church bells too at somewhere around 40 tons. The arches that hold up the huge ceilings are 107 feet in the air! I was a little late getting from the Liverpool stadium, so unfortunately the last tours of the tower were finished for the day and only the main body of the huge building was available to tour. I asked a passing tour guide though who was chatting with the electrician, and lo and behold, the two of them ended up giving me a private, personal, and free tour of the building! It was incredibly nice of them to stick around, even still guiding me around after the building was closed. Because the cathedral is actually comparatively new, built between 1904 and 1978, it had electricity built into it, and the electrician actually took me into the bowels of the church to show me the wiring (not interesting for most people, I’d wager, but it was for me) and the guide told me that it wasn’t often that she “met a young man with such an interest in architectural and religious history!” which embarrassed me because I really don’t think I’m that out of the ordinary. What got me though, is that the pipe organ has 9,765 pipes to it. That’s about 3 times the population of my hometown, and is ridiculous to even conceive. After chatting with my two guides for awhile longer, they asked me if I wanted to come to the service tomorrow morning, and I actually think I’m going to take them up on that offer. I think it would be nice to see an English church service, and the chance to hear those thousands of pipes going is one I wouldn’t dream of passing up.

I finished up my touring with an excellent dinner. I promised myself before I started this blog that I wouldn’t talk about food too much (something that I wasted pages on when I went to Europe a few years ago!) but this little bistro, Tabac, was a few blocks from the cathedral and recommended by my guidebook. They had the most amazing chicken and mushroom sandwich on focaccia bread, and the bread was so delicious I actually bought more from the waiter (he seemed surprised, but easygoing about it) and ate it on my way back to the hostel. Bloody brilliant; I’m going to have to find some of that bread when I get back to the States.

Well, it’s time for me to finally get some sleep, I think. I say that now, but I’ll bet I’ll still be up two hours from now doing laundry or writing emails or something. I have to be presentable if I’m going to be going to church tomorrow, and you know this is a posh church because Prince Charles was just here a few days ago to visit.