I don't really know what I was expecting from Liverpool, but this was not it.
There was something about it that reminded me of New York. Perhaps it was the sheer, vertical audacity of the architecture, perhaps it was the tightly packed city streets suddenly giving way to open water, perhaps it was the sense that there were so many things to do and nowhere near enough hours to fill.
We woke up on the second morning of our Liverpudlian adventure with a to-do list as long as our arms. First on the list was go for brunch at Moose Coffee but the wait was an hour-long by the time we got there so we wandered onwards towards the river.
We walked quickly through the morning. Lauren studied her undergraduate degree here and knows the city like the back of her hand. Vicky, Michele and I still had a long drive back to Exeter ahead of us so we pretty much had a whistle-stop tour of some of the sights we hadn't yet taken in.
It's an incredibly grand city. Apparently much of it was built during the height of the slave trade, in which Liverpool played a large part. We visited the slavery museum later in the day and learnt that roughly 10% of all slaves exported to America left from these very docks.
It was incredibly humbling to know and it made us appreciate the city in a slightly different way.
One of the exhibitions in the slavery museum was centred around the modern day slave trade that still thrives around the world. It's something we tend to think of as a historical event however it's truly alive in all corners of the globe. Most things we buy as modern consumers will probably be linked to slavery in some way or another. I haven't been able to buy clothes since visiting as I know that most high street chains will be connected in some way - even if it isn't the factories producing the clothes, the production of the textiles themselves may have used slave labour. I'm planning on buying as ethically as possible from now on - which has translated into me not buying anything haha.
There's a concentrated hub of museums and galleries down by the docks. As much as I am beginning to appreciate Exeter and all of its small-town charm, it felt good to be back in a proper city again. There was just so much to do and see, we could hardly choose what to slot into our sparse four-hour schedule.
Food was definitely a priority though. We went to the cafe in the maritime museum for brunch and enjoyed a rather brilliant view alongside our tea.
The food was tasty and incredibly filling but not the most picture perfect so I've left it out! I had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast - the eggs were quite dry and were almost more like a deconstructed omelette than the creamy scrambled eggs that I'm used to making but I still enjoyed it!
We all went for the fruity, citrusy earl grey tea which was a delight both to taste and to watch as it brewed.
The time disappeared remarkably quickly. We headed back to the main shopping area to have a mooch around and contemplate our Christmas shopping (this was about a month ago so we were getting a head start!) I'd been craving a naughty something from Hotel Chocolat since spotting their cafe the day before but sods law, it was closed due to a power failure! I think the universe is trying to tell me that I have had enough of the cocoa goodness for now...
Before we had to make a dash back to the car, I stopped back at the Walker gallery to pick up the exhibition catalogue for the Reality exhibition. I'd been thinking about it all weekend so it was definitely a justified purchase! Not that I've looked at it since bringing it home...
They've been filming Fantastic Beasts in Liverpool so we did a spot of Eddie Redmayne hunting but failed to find him.
And then that was it!
We hopped back on the metro and headed back to Lauren's to pick up our bags and jump in the car.
Liverpool, it was an absolute pleasure and I will most definitely be back.