We had the pleasure of spending last weekend with the Stines in Manchester. Lori and Christy are friends from their Michigan Tech days (all four of us were there at the same time but Dan and I didn't know each other then) and we would get together once a quarter back in the States. Obviously we haven't gotten together since we have been in England but we did see Christy in Amsterdam (read about it here) and had a great time except for touring the worst tulip garden EVER. This time Christy was over for work and they decided to combine in a family vacation which means we get to see Dan and the kids as well. Quadruple bonus!
We drove up Saturday morning and ended up beating all of them to the hotel thanks to early rising and their flight times. Dan and the kids came over from the US so they were battling jet lag throughout the day while Christy came over from Europe so she was adjusted to the time change already. After everyone showed up at the hotel and checked in we decided upon a plan of action - Liverpool. Christy is a Beatles fan and we liked Liverpool (trip 1 here and trip 2 here) so Lori bought the tickets and we headed to the train station.
Christy Stine Pic - Radio tower in Liverpool.
Christy Stine Pic - Liverpool Cathedral from Albert Dock.
Christy Stine Pic - The Three Graces behind the Albert Dock (link).
Christy Stine Pic - We went back to What's Cooking? to eat lunch. Interesting place, it isn't quite American and isn't quite English food. Sadie, Kalle, Karl and Ethan are all watching Christy's camera instead of mine.
Dana Johnson Pic - My pulled pork barbecue sandwich. Only a couple more months and I'll get real BBQ. I can't hardly wait Ma.
Christy Stine Pic - After lunch we went to The Beatles Story, a pretty good museum covering The Beatles from beginning to ending. Beatles fan Christy gave it an "it was okay". I'll try not to cover to much of it since I've covered it in the other posts.
Christy Stine Pic - Poor Sadie had a meltdown between the train and restaurant, slept through lunch, then ate her lunch before the museum (we couldn't bring food in so we waited for her to eat). She was back to her normal self after sleeping and eating. Here's Dan with his video camera quizzing her on her meltdown. Isn't she cute?
Christy Stine Pic - Beatles beginning board #1.
Christy Stine Pic - Beatles beginning board #2. Sorry for the blurry pic.
Christy Stine Pic - This poster must be a collector's item now.
Christy Stine Pic - The Beatles and Billy Fury. Fury was an English singer from the 50's - 60's. We saw his statue on a previous trip.
Christy Stine Pic - Abbey Road, one of the many London places on my list we never made it to.
Christy Stine Pic - The death of Epstein meant the death of The Beatles as they became divided over personal versus group goals.
Christy Stine Pic - Eleanor Rigby background.
Christy Stine Pic - Eleanor's grave.
Christy Stine Pic - Lori and Christy in front of the Yellow Submarine. It was great to see them again.
Christy Stine Pic - At the end of the museum was a brief area on their post Beatles life. Here is Ringo on one of his movie posters.
Christy Stine Pic - Paul and Linda in the Wings days.
Christy Stine Pic - John and Yoko in NY.
Christy Stine Pic - George and the rest of the Travelling Wilburys (link).
Christy Stine Pic - John's Imagine room.
Christy Stine Pic - After the museum was a stop at the Funky Shake Bar. Mine was vanilla and very good.
Christy Stine Pic - A look at the River Mersey. Very windy and a little cold thanks to the clouds and brisk wind tag team.
Christy Stine Pic - Waiting for the pedestrian crossing light to change so we can continue on our way to The Cavern Club.
Christy Stine Pic - John and the kids.
Christy Stine Pic - Move on, move on, it's my turn.
Christy Stine Pic - We had to stop by The world famous Cavern Club. We missed free entrance time and it looked like a band was playing so I stayed outside with the kids while Lori, Christy and Dan checked it out. They liked it as much as I did, one of my favorite unique experiences in England. This would be a fun place to take in a band but not tonight. Maybe on our next trip to England.
Christy Stine Pic - The Grapes, a bar across from The Cavern Club which was frequented by the Fab Four and was where Best supposedly drowned his sorrows after being fired from the band.
After Mathew Street we headed to the train station and went back to the hotel as they were starting to fade. We ate dinner at the hotel bar then Dan, Karl and myself stayed up a bit to catch up on lost time.
Christy Stine Pic - Beer vending machine in the hotel. Make sure you are 18 if you buy any.
Christy Stine Pic - After the Stines slept in past 25 snooze alarms Sunday morning we made it to the train to check out Manchester. We needed a close destination since we were heading home in the afternoon so Manchester fit the bill. Note my lens cover on the bottom left, I feel like Jeff Peters.
Christy Stine Pic - The University of Manchester. We haven't been to Manchester yet so now we can check it off our list. Actually was never on our list so STRETCH GOAL! Thanks Stines!
Christy Stine Pic - A clock tower on our walk to see Abe.
Christy Stine Pic - Dan wanted to try an English Cask Ale so we stopped at The Old Monkey to try some Joseph Holt of Manchester Award Winning Cask Ales. Thanks to the Sleeping Stines it was afternoon by now so well past British time for a pint.
Kevin Coleman Pic - Joseph's Traditional Ale was a little darker than normal ale and a little better than normal English ale. Dan was not loving the ambient beer temperature which takes a little getting used to. Christy tried another flavor (I missed the pic, sorry) that tasted a little like feet. Everyone should share a pint with Christy once in their life.
Christy Stine Pic - Manchester's Chinatown. We did not venture through the gate.
Christy Stine Pic - Karl by his barber shop.
Christy Stine Pic - Manchester town hall.
Christy Stine Pic - Edward III standing guard over the town hall.
Christy Stine Pic - The mobile ice cream vans are almost as abundant as the sheep in England.
Christy Stine Pic - We stumbled onto Manchester Day Parade which included singers and other festival type attractions. Don't ask me what or why, I was just happy to see a parade. Bring on the dancing bears and penny farthing riders!
Christy Stine Pic - But before the parade we found Abe. Read here for an explanation on why Manchester has an Abraham Lincoln statue in Lincoln Park.
Christy Stine Pic - We walked back to town hall to pick a spot for the parade but decided to move after checking the parade route. So we moved closer to the beginning of the route and away from the thicker crowds.
Christy Stine Pic - I wasn't sure what to expect but they lead with a band and then a handful of floats.
Christy Stine Pic - What's an English parade without the TARDIS? That is from Dr. Who for the uninformed. Watching Dr. Who episodes was our cultural preparation for England.
Christy Stine Pic - An interesting float with a spinning person on top of the flower. At least they blew a bunch of bubbles.
Christy Stine Pic - Roller derby teams always make parades better.
Christy Stine Pic - I think something is lost in translation with the giant pencils. They also had bands, clowns, and local businesses marching in the parade which I expected.
Christy Stine Pic - Football is another English parade requirement.
Christy Stine Pic - They also had this huge Irish Wolfhound. Shortly after seeing him we left early to beat the crowds to a restaurant. No candy throwers, that must be an American addition.
Christy Stine Pic - The Braid Twins looked adorable.
Dana Johnson Pic - My smoked salmon, horseradish cheese, and sweet pepper pizza was very good.
Christy Stine Pic - We ran into the Wolfhound later so we all stopped to pet him.
Christy Stine Pic - A random street picture. Manchester doesn't have a really good reputation as a tourist town over here but we enjoyed our day out.
Christy Stine Pic - Another random street picture. By now it's time to head back to the hotel and our car to drive home. It would have been great to spend more time with the always fun Stines but work calls Lori so we grudgingly called it a weekend and headed home.
And how can I see Dan Stine and not have a "Dan Stine extreme self restraint in the face of surmounting adversity moment of the week" moment? This one was easy. Our timing was not great as Sunday was the end of the school half term break so all of southern England went to the Lake District or western Scotland for the weekend. And of course we picked the busiest time to ride the motorway. It took us an hour to drive the first thirty minutes in heavy stop and go traffic. Once we exited the motorway and took the highways home traffic moved normally so we were only delayed half an hour. A little frustrating but could have been worse I guess. A fun weekend overall though.
The Better Halves Club met this week again. I know time is speeding up for me as it seemed like we met last week (not that I mind as I look forward to our lunches). This time we met at the Bean Café (link) and there were eight and a half members with a couple of guest daughters. Kalle and Laverne's daughter Megan joined us this week to round out the table. The food was very good. The next meeting will be my last meeting which will be very strange.
Since we will be moving into temporary housing next week I marked the kids wall heights. I marked them on the wall when we arrived to see how much they have grown in our time here. On November 20th, 2011 Kalle was 4'10" tall and is now 5'-1 3/4" for a grand total of 3 3/4" of vertical stretching. Karl was 5'-4 5/8" on November 20th, 2011 and is now 5'-7 1/2" for a grand total of 2 7/8" of vertical stretching. Our weeds keep on growing.
Thanks for listening,