After visiting Bristol I spent a long weekend in Cardiff, Wales at the city’s first animation film festival. My close friend Alexis and her husband Scott had their first collaborative stop motion short accepted to the festival. I was in the country, so I just had to go! I got a pass to the festival and spent 3 solid days watching animation. I met some amazing people and got inspired by some amazing art. I didn’t take a single photo and it was great.
I traveled back to England after my weekend in Wales. My end goal was Edinburgh, Scotland, to meet up with two friends for my birthday, but on the way I was stopping in a few cities to explore more of England.
First stop was Liverpool and my Beatles pilgrimage. My hostel was down the street from the Cavern Club. This is where the Beatles played 292 gigs from 1961 up until August 1963 when they were pulling bigger crowds than the club could manage. I didn’t go into the Cavern Club, which is now just a reconstruction of the original, but I liked walking up and down the street knowing this is where the band had so often walked. I took a bus to the neighborhood where John Lennon grew up, and to my delight and surprise went down Penny Lane on the way. We also passed “the shelter in the middle of the roundabout.” I hadn’t realized we were going to pass it, so I didn’t snap a photo, but I recognized it immediately. So I had Penny Lane playing in my head as I got off the bus and walked up to Strawberry Field gate. The orphanage the gate used to lead to is no longer there, but the distinctive red gate has been left for it’s role in music history. It made me so happy to stand there and take it in. Next was John Lennon’s childhood home where he lived with his Aunt Mimi. No one lives there now and you can take tours of it, though I did not. It stands pretty unassuming in the middle of a suburban neighborhood on a mildly busy road. Lastly I walked to the church of St Peter, the grounds of which is where John and Paul first met and where the grave of Elinor Rigby stands. So concluded my little Beatles pilgrimage. I left with a huge smile on my face and lots of music in my heart.
One of the nights I was in Liverpool there was a Champions League semi-final match on home turf against Roma. My brother-in-law Matt has supported Liverpool since he was a kid, and I always enjoy watching sporting events where people are really invested in them. So naturally I scoped out a pub and went to watch the home Liverpool match. I was befriended by a group of middle-aged Irishmen, and English supporters, who were all mildly befuddled and impressed that an American girl would come to watch the game by herself and drink a Guinness. They explained some of the playoff rules and were really good fun. As it turns out that was definitely the game to watch, as Liverpool won 5-2, and there was much excitement and celebration.
I made a quick stop in Crewe, England for an afternoon before moving on to Manchester, where I was just there for a day. I spent the evening finishing up editing some images for a company back in the states, and the next day just walking around the city. I would have happily spent more time there, but I was really looking forward to what came next.
Last stop was Kendal, the gateway to the Lake District. It’s a lovely little English market town with castle ruins on a hill overlooking it. I got a ride to my hostel from a kind woman I had been talking to on the train. She said she had daughters around my age and she hoped that someone would do the same for them. The hostel was right on the main road, Highgate, and I could easily walk the entire town from there. I ate at an old pub, complete with locals and a dog, where I had a really delicious curry, and finished every last drop. I spent my time in Kendal wandering the streets and taking pictures. I visited the castle ruins, and the beautiful old cathedral. It was a nice little break from city bustle, and got me ready to meet up with my friends next in Edinburgh.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.