Report on Holidays and Travel Group Visit - Terracotta Warriors, Sunday, 5 August 2018

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30 happy U3A members set off for Liverpool with our friendly driver Phil, and arrived in Liverpool around 11am time enough for lunch before viewing the amazing Terracotta Warriors exhibition in the World Museum. Seeing the figures and artefacts close up in a atmospheric Chinese environment was well worth the visit plus all the other floors available to see exhibits from Egyption mummies to Dinosaurs and Space exploration. Next door was the Central Library - a modern multi-floor facility with glass dome and roof terrace linked directly to the historic circular original library with wooden panels, books of all ages, shapes and sizes, spiral staircases - an incredible learning space. Close by St. George's Hall provided a bonus as our visit coincided with the uncovering and revealing of the vast Minton Floor - what a sight.

The listed building hotel, adjacent to the Metropolitan Cathedral, gave us a good base (although some challenging staircases!). The evenings saw groups out and exploring pub grub, Italian, Chinese, and Turkish food - the choices were plentiful. Our coach driver was brilliant and looked after us so well. We were picked up and dropped off in and around Liverpool and he kindly organised an additional guided tour of Liverpool when we saw and heard facts/details about this vibrant city, its history, maritime facts old and new and of course its people and music. Netflix TV were filming The Crown in the city and we were able to see American flags on buildings, yellow cabs, cadillacs, actors in period costumes etc - all very exciting but we were disappointed we couldn't become film stars for the day.

A trip to Liverpool would not be complete without a visit to the Cavern Club - a group of us ventured down the stairs into the Cavern to relive our youth. We heard music & words that we all knew! And yes, there was lots of singing and dancing into the late hours (oh, my feet!). The Rockets (a Merseybeat tribute band) sang and played music from the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Billy J Kramer, Swinging Blue Jeans - oh those memories came flooding back and all for a £4 entry free. Real value for money.

A guided tour of The Western Approaches underground war rooms was quite a highlight of our holiday.
The Battle for the Atlantic was masterminded here and brought to life by Emma our knowledgeable tour guide. There were two coincidences - firstly the sinking of the German battleship The Bismarck was linked to the Swordfish Aeroplane build in Sherburn (see the sculpture near the old HSBC bank) The biggest surprise of all was the old black telephone near the door as we left - it had a South Milford phone number on it! Spooky.

Liverpool's two beautiful Cathedrals were on the visits lists for everyone - with the sampling of great cakes an essential part of visits to all the historic buildings we visited during our holiday. Its called a survey! Churches and Cathedrals are thoughtful and places of solitude and tranquillity. As a long time Liverpool fan, I personally found reading the Hillsborough memorial book quite moving - it was located in a quiet part of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Our final day soon arrived and a trip on the Mersey Ferry (yes, we sang!!) provided a different view of the city and its iconic skyline including the cathedrals and the Liver Building. Interesting to see were the naval ships still being built at Cammell Lairds shipyard near Birkenhead - keeping the shipbuilding traditions alive. The Maritime Museum, Tate Liverpool, Albert Docks and the new British Music Experience were places also visited by U3A members before we said farewell to Liverpool.

At the request of some members, Phil kindly detoured on our return journey for a short stop at Crosby Beach to see "Another Place" an art installation of a 100 naked men (metal) over miles of sand and cascading out to sea by Sculptor Anthony Gormley (also did The Angel of the North). Amazing and yes - you could hear all the giggling and rude comments... With sand in our shoes and smiles on our faces we set off for home.

Were we only on holiday for 3 days? - wow, we saw and heard so much, ate lots, but above all enjoyed many hours enjoying the good company of our friends. As an organising team, it was great to share this time with everyone and have appreciated the very kind words of thanks received since our return.

Photographs to be added shortly. As this was a shared visit, you will find photographs provided by Alex on the Science and Technology page too.

Hazel, Marilyn and Alex.

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