Sunday, July 29, 2012

Travelogue – bored with museums?

Sunday, July 29

I wasn't going to spend any time watching the Olympics, but it is rather hard to avoid it. The hotel lobby (where breakfast is served) has BBC News with stories about the games. There is also a big screen set up outdoors in the pedestrian shopping district downtown. And this evening's restaurant had TVs with actual competition.

I had dinner with Michele, the woman who lead the Hanover workshop with me, and her husband. She is here early because she is in the American All Star bell choir and will perform later this week (I auditioned, but didn't make it, so it must be a high-powered group). I grumbled about yesterday's flight delays, but my difficulties were minor compared to his. He had a complicated itinerary from San Diego to Amsterdam to meet Michele which fell apart with a flight delay. He got to Amsterdam not too far behind schedule, but only today – three days and three hotels later – did his luggage catch up with him. It had her All Star music in it.

I slept rather late. After breakfast I decided to explore the Albert Dock area my hotel is a part of. This is the picture from my hotel window of the “dock.” I was taken later in the day.

It was raining. I didn't get wet because I was under an overhang, but when I got to the end of the shelter, which was at the Liverpool Tate Museum, I decided it would be the right time to see their special exhibit. This exhibit contrasted the paintings of Joseph Mallord William Turner (I hadn't heard of him either) with Claude Monet and Cy Twombly (another unknown). Turner lived from 1775 to 1851, and surprised me by painting in an impressionistic style. He prized the “atmosphere” of the work over the details. Yes, Monet (1840-1926) had seen Turner's work. Twombly was born in 1928 and died just a year ago and is very much an abstract and avant garde artist. One surprise of the exhibit was seeing an English impressionist painter a couple generations older than the French men who took up that style. The other surprise was in seeing how close some of Monet's works came to being as abstract as Twombly's works. No photos allowed so I bought postcards.

The rest of the museum featured modern works. Very little of it connected with me.

You may have wondered, after my rebellion at seeing another church or museum in Venice, why I would start my visit to Liverpool with a museum. None of this art was from the Renaissance and very little of it had religious themes (though Monet has some stunning images of churches). However, I'll still give the Beatles museums a wide pass.

I spent the afternoon walking along the riverfront, first past the convention center where I'll spend lots of time this week. It is better viewed from across the river.

I went back past Albert Dock and onward from there. Here is one of the government buildings along the river.

I then turned inward (with a map provided by the hotel) to the pedestrian shopping district in the downtown area. That included finding a bookstore and browsing for a book for the homeward flight. I'll go back tomorrow after I've gotten more Euros changed to Pounds.

Tonight's restaurant was “American” and featured lots of burgers as well as American and Mexican dishes. Michele had fajitas. Her husband had ribs. I had smoked chicken.

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