For my dad’s 50th birthday, my family decided to surprise him with a gift that none of us would ever forget. We bought him a book about the Beatles. No, that wasn’t the surprise! The surprise was written on a post-it note inside the book that my mom had placed there. It read, “How about visiting where John, Paul, George and Ringo grew up?” We were going to London and Liverpool!
July 11 had finally arrived. My family arrived at the entrance gate in Kennedy airport just in time! (We were delayed due to parking issues and almost missed the flight! Talk about last minute stress!) I hadn’t been on a plane for quite a while, so I sat in the window seat and admired the cloud formations. I felt ready for an adventure in a city that was unfamiliar to me.
My family and I landed in London but only stayed for one night. The next morning we took a train ride across the country to Liverpool. It was nice seeing the countryside in England in addition to its cities. Liverpool is where all of the Beatles were born and where they were inspired to write many of their famous songs! We visited John Lennon’s house, Paul McCartney’s house, the real Strawberry Fields, Eleanor Rigby’s grave, Penny Lane and many more memorable Beatle-related landmarks. We had a private tour guide named Phil who took us all around Liverpool in a van. It was great having a personalized tour, rather than being on a big bus.
There was quite a bit of construction going on, which was okay with me because I took black and white photos of the new and old architecture. There were recently built modern churches as well as much older, detailed ones. At night, it wouldn’t get dark until 10:00 PM, which was quite different than at home in New York. After staying in Liverpool for about three days, we took a train back to London.
When we went back to London, we were in for quite a surprise! We came to learn that the couple of days that we were there were the hottest ever in London history! There was no air-conditioning and we came prepared for rainy weather (we brought ponchos and umbrellas)!
Despite the weather, we had fun walking across Abbey Road, going on the London Eye and across Tower Bridge. Like typical tourists we rode red double-decker buses, took pictures in red telephone booths and tried to make those stiff soldiers laugh at Kensington Palace! I loved talking with British waiters, waitresses, tour guides and hotel clerks because of their intelligent accents. When one waitress learned that my family was from New York, she said we talked like “gangsters”!
The architecture of Westminster Abbey was beautiful and Big Ben was magnificent at night. I’ll never forget walking along the Thames with my family, hearing a man in the middle of the walking bridge play the bagpipes. You can find some mind blowing discounts on your Europe trip.
The vacation was a dream come true for my family, who are all hardcore Beatles fans. We all love bragging about crossing Abbey Road and going on the London Eye. My dad’s birthday was certainly a memorable one!
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