I’ll be honest, out of all the places I thought we’d end up celebrating the new year I didn’t think an embassy was a very likely option. But hey here we are!
For the dawn of the decade we had chosen to go to Liverpool. Our lodgings for New Year’s Eve were unique to say the least. The hostel in question was Embassie Liverpool Backpackers, the building that greeted us on arrival was a former ( you guessed it) Embassy. An Ecuadorian Embassy to be precise. But for the past 20 years the building has been run as a backpacker hostel by eclectic owners ( more on that later). Just crossing the threshold it was clear. This is an authentic hostel. Greeted with a warm welcome of freshly ground Colombian coffee we sat in the lounge checking in. We were told to help ourselves to tea and toast. After a scope out of the dorm we were off to see the city.
Starting with the (rather recently built) Cathedral. The bell tower of which is the largest and one of the tallest in the world. Words can’t describe the astounding scope of this building so I won’t try. If you’re in the area it’s worth seeing it yourself. Hitting the road we passed through the city centre, extra bustle today with the new year rapidly approaching. Getting away from the madness took us to the Tate Gallery by the river. Not before a superlambbanana detour. We were in luck, some truly striking pieces were on display that day. There was one piece we didn’t get, namely why we weren’t allowed to stick our faces through the conveniently face shaped holes. Especially when the result was seeing a kaleidoscopic view of our visages. We got told off for that one. Unperturbed we moved on.
We ended up in a half finished sports bar, drawn in by the suggestion of table tennis. While the bar and furnishings may have been less than complete there was at least ping pong to be played. A few intense bouts later we chose to rendezvous some time next decade. With two of us going back to the hostel and two going to a hotel we thought of a plan of action. There had been talk of a wine and cheese night at the hostel so with a lead we set about gathering more info. It was around 6 by the time we first got to meet Kevin. Immediately it was clear he’s a big people person. Honestly I think he probably deserves a whole blog himself. The energy he exudes is calm and inviting. He told us of the origins of the hostel, about how he backpacked round America on a one way ticket. His notable guests included the crew of Peaky Blinders and various pop stars and celebrities. We asked him of his new year plan, it consisted of going to a pub round the corner and then hosting said wine and cheese party. He invited us and was off, on his way to grab a seat.
We braved the town once more to see what was on. Club music and ten pound entry fees. Winding up at the pub Kevin recommended, he was there well involved with the festivities. Staying for an hour we chose to get a shower and have a sit down in the common room back at the hostel. Socialising with some of the guests that weren’t out partying. Soon Kevin returned and recounted more stories to us. Hanging on every word. We enjoyed lovely wine and were treated to some of Embassie’s own entertainment in the form of some of music videos made by previous guests and collaborators. Often with a lengthy tale regarding the background to its creation. A pleasant way to whittle away the evening. Then abruptly the clock inched towards 12. We came outside with Kevin to honour a tradition, each year the hostel quite literally welcomes in the new year. As the fireworks went off around it felt good to finally shed the last decade. We stayed up some more as the later arrivals joined in, back from the clubs and town to party throughout the night.
New Year’s day, back to reality. Or at least closer to it. We had toast and chatted before gathering ourselves to go for a day at the beach. Someone had recommended Formby so off we went. There were dunes two stories high, great fun to race up for the view. Lily took her shoes off feeling the sand, the very very cold sand. Regrets regrets. Picturesque wooded areas ran adjacent to the sands, a good deal of dog-spotting was to be done as it was a popular day for beach adventure. Pity we didn’t bring rounders. Or at least cricket.
All in all I couldn’t have wished for a better New Year’s trip.