Ringo Starr’s Boyhood Home In Restoration ‘Limbo’

Ringo Starr
Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2010, we reported that the birthplace of Ringo Starr was threatened with demolition. The rowhouse, located at 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool, England, has fallen into disrepair. As you can see from this photo, it hasn’t been lived in for some time and is all boarded up.

It’s not alone. The BBC reports that many of the homes in the neighborhood are abandoned and crumbling. The city government approved a £15 million ($24.4 million) plan to rework the neighborhood, building 150 new homes, knocking down 280 others, and restoring 37, including Ringo Starr’s. There have been calls to preserve the home as a bit of music history. While John and Paul’s childhood homes are now preserved by the National Trust, Ringo’s place doesn’t even have an historic plaque.

Now the city’s plan has been put on hold by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has called for a full review. That’s bad news for the few people still living in the area. They don’t know whether they should move, or pay their own money to restore their homes, or do nothing. It all depends what happens with the government funding, and nobody can answer that at the moment.

So will the homes be knocked down or will Ringo’s birthplace become yet another of England’s historic homes? We’ll just have to wait and see.

It may be a long wait.

31 People Rescued As Amphibious Tour Bus Sinks

AFP/Getty Images

Yellow Duckmarine promises a “splashdown” ending to each of its tours – but it looks like some passengers got a little more than they bargained for. Twenty-seven people were taken to the hospital when an amphibious tourist bus sank shortly after entering a dock in the United Kingdom, the BBC is reporting. The incident is the second involving the same company – and the same dock – in the past few months.

There were 31 people on board the Yellow Duckmarine when its landing at Liverpool’s Albert Dock went awry shortly before 4 p.m. An eyewitness tells the news outlet the vessel took about four minutes to sink, and many people – including children – had to climb out and swim to safety. More than two-dozen people were taken to the hospital to be treated, reporting injuries that ranged from cuts and bruises to shock.

The tour company told the BBC it was working with the coastguard and police to find out the root of the problem. In March, Yellow Duckmarine was banned from going into the water after one of its boats sank, forcing passengers to be moved onto a pontoon. Just last month, three vehicles were declared safe to give tours again, but obviously it seems like everything hasn’t been sorted out.

The video below shows people making their escape from the bus, including a mother holding a baby above the water.

Beatles Fans Can Now Sleep In A Real Yellow Submarine Hotel

yellow submarine Have you ever listened to the hit Beatles song and dreamed of spending the night in an actual “yellow submarine”? Now you can, with the newest quirky accommodation in Liverpool.

Aptly situated in the home of the Fab Four, the floating submarine hotel is painted to resemble the vessel from the cover of the “Yellow Submarine” record. According to the Daily Mail, the hotel floats on a mooring in Albert Dock and comes complete with 3D televisions, Wi-Fi, computers, a trippy lounge and a skateboard from the film set of “Quadrophenia.”

The man behind the ingenious idea is Mr. Alfie Bubbles, whose last project was designing a Batman-themed moat hotel. When it became successful, Mr. Bubbles realized the potential of floating accommodations. After deciding on the theme for the submarine hotel, he spent nine months searching for ’60s-inspired accents for the rooms. Additionally, he was able to acquire the same boat used in Sean Connery’s “The Hunt For Red October.”

Mr. Bubbles hopes his next floating ventures will include hotels with “Titanic” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” themes.

So, how much does it cost to sleep in the yellow submarine hotel? Monday through Thursday, expect to pay about $232 per night. From Friday through Sunday, the price goes up to about $466 to $545 per night.

Would you pay to sleep in a floating submarine hotel?

[Image via Beatlesfan2]

Win the trip of a lifetime from Lonely Planet and Bing

bing lonely planet sweepstakesYour dream vacation could become a reality through a new holiday sweepstakes hosted by Bing and sponsored by Lonely Planet.

The Grand Prize winner and a guest will work with Lonely Planet staff and authors to devise a customized 15 day/14 night itinerary exploring up to four destinations around the world, up to a value of $30,000.

The sweepstakes kicks off on December 29th at midnight PT/3 am ET and lasts for 24 hours. To enter, just log onto Bing’s Magical Holiday Calendar, which is offering sweepstakes and giveaways throughout the month of December.Not sure where you’d go if you won? To spark your imagination, LP’s U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid put together five dream itineraries based on specific interests.



Music:

  • Memphis and the Mississippi Delta, home of Graceland and the blues
  • Havana, Cuba, for a taste of the son music scene
  • Liverpool, England, birthplace of the Beatles
  • Berlin, Germany, for underground cabaret
  • Yakutsk, Russia, home to Ysyakh, a surreal festival filled with teepee-like structures and throat-singing contests



Outdoors:

  • Rocky Mountains, Canada, for a two-day tour of the Canadian Rockies by train
  • Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, for out-of-this-world landscapes
  • Coastal Wales, to walk the new All Wales Coast Path, opening May 2012
  • Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, to stay in an upscale salt hotel 3656m above sea level
  • Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Australia, Lonely Planet’s #1 ‘glamping’ spot for 2012



Movies:



Art:

  • Arles, France, to step into a post-impressionist Van Gogh painting
  • Barcelona, Spain, to take in Gaudi’s whimsical genius
  • Bristol, England, where Banksy has left his mark and is rumored to live
  • Mexico City, where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived and worked
  • French Polynesia, for a glimpse of Paul Gauguin’s tropics



Food:

And that’s just a taste of the possibilities! Mark your calendars for December 29th and don’t miss out.

[image via Colin Grey on Flickr]

The future of budget travel: Q&A with Benji Lanyado

Many budget travel topics are old hat. Everyone interested in traveling on a budget knows, for example, about the money-saving potential of hostels, supermarket dining, train passes, and low-cost airlines.

We can come up with tips, talk about new stylish hostels, pass on information about fare sales, and strategize about how best to exploit a particular train pass, but the truth is that there is little among these subjects that is genuinely new.

But what about newer developments in personal technologies? How will they change the way we travel on a budget?

For some time now, freelance journalist Benji Lanyado has been pursuing these questions, mostly in articles for the Guardian. Lanyado has been writing for the Guardian since his last year at university, when the newspaper asked him to be their Budget Travel columnist. Among the most suggestive of his pieces for the Guardian are his TwiTrips articles, through which Lanyado submits Twitter to the on-the-ground challenges of traveling. Most exciting about this series is the ease with which its principles can be adapted for use by readers.

Lanyado also engages larger questions about the future of travel. See this recent article pondering the future of guidebooks for one example.

Q: How did the TwiTrips come about? Have they changed the way you travel in general? That is, when you’re on different sorts of assignments or traveling for pleasure, do you instinctively turn to Twitter for information? On balance, how would you rate these TwiTrips against more conventional travel adventures in terms of obtaining local information and getting a sense of the destination?

A: At the beginning of last year, Twitter was approaching its “moment” in the UK. Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry were scheduled to talk about it on the former’s Friday night chat show. I’d been thinking about using it for some kind of live travel piece for a while, and had experimented with it while in Berlin to find some suggestions for what to do in between researching for assignments. I was walking down Oranienstrasse and asked my Twitter followers if they had any tips. Within a few minutes someone had guided me into a fantastic little cafe 100 yards away.

I ran the idea past the Guardian Travel editor, Andy Pietrasik, who was very keen for me to try a live Twitter Trip. We ran the first TwiTrip in February, to Paris, streaming it live on the Guardian website a few days after the Fry/Ross interview had aired, and the response was incredible. Over a period of 36 hours I received hundreds of tips, and various news outlets and TV programmes ran stories on it. Since then we’ve done TwiTrips to a dozen destinations across the UK. The last one was Liverpool this November.

I certainly now instinctively turn to Twitter for travel advice when I’m on the road. Compared to traditional media (guidebooks, etc.) I find that the information you can glean from Twitter is more specific, more current, and more personal. It’s an incredible real-time link to the local public. That said, I don’t think it’s the only way to travel. Whatever works for you is great. And few things beat stopping a local, in the real world, and asking him or her what you should do.

I also have a considerable head-start on Twitter newbies, as I’m lucky to have over 5000 followers to help me on my way. As a journalist, I can amplify things to a bigger audience during the TwiTrips. But I still don’t think you need lots of followers to get travel benefits from Twitter. Every major city across the world has scores of people tweeting about what to do when you’re in town, and up-to-the-minute info on events.

The beauty of Twitter is that you can find time-specific ideas (i.e. there’s a great band playing at this great bar TONIGHT) and be connected to the lifeblood of any destination.Q: A few months on from your article on Foursquare in the Guardian, what are your thoughts about the potential of Foursquare as a travel technology? Is it useful essentially as a crowdsourcing device, or are you discovering other uses?

A: Foursquare, primarily, is a lot of fun to use at home. Knowing where your friends have been and where they are is a very nice new frontier for social media. But on the road, the “tips” function really comes into its own. The idea of location-specific recommendations hovering in the air around you is one of the most important new standards in travel technology in years, and it is one of the strongest arguments for apps over traditional guidebooks. When you can have access to information about places within 100 feet of where you are standing, the notion of flicking through 500 pages to find a vaguely suitable tip written a year ago seems a little ridiculous. Foursquare aren’t the first to harness the power of location, but their implementation with the game element is a very neat way to do it.

Q: One pitfall in relying on user-generated content is that it is often difficult to evaluate anonymous evaluators. (Do they share your values, your interests, your standards?) Do you see Twitter as providing a way around this problem? That is, by choosing your followers are you essentially curating information in advance? Or, alternately do you not see this user-generated content pitfall as a problem?

A: Increasingly, I find UGC a little too noisy. Tripadvisor is a good example of this. The service has gone so far beyond a critical mass that there’s now JUST TOO MUCH INFORMATION on it. And yes, you’re right, it’s very difficult to ascertain the validity of UGC, as you usually have no idea whether or not the person reviewing is anything like you or shares your tastes. I don’t really see Twitter as a form of UGC, as there is a lot more face involved. You can usually read about the people who are Tweeting at you, see the type of people they follow, read their tweets etc. You get to know certain people who share your tastes.

Q: Where, if anywhere, do you see social media failing against more traditional media in generating especially useful information for budget travelers?

A: The main problem is the noise. While guidebooks are inherently limited, they are also beautifully confined. For a lot of people, a couple of hundred pages of information is more than enough. The Internet, meanwhile, is seemingly infinite. It’s difficult to know how far you should research into the provincial nooks of the web before you’ve gone too far and have too much information. There is also an issue over trust capital. Guidebooks might be old-fashioned but they are also a relatively safe bet, as they come with a reputation to uphold. That said, I think you are more likely to get crappy advice from a guidebook than from an individual through social media, as there is a lot less accountability with guidebooks.

Q: Do you have you eye on any newish apps or sites for their potential as budget travel tools?

A: I really like the look of the new batch of Time Out city guides, especially considering that they are built to be used offline, using only a GPS signal rather than relying on data roaming. Much cheaper that way. Yelp, Urbanspoon, and some of the augmented reality apps (Wikitude, Layar, etc.) are pretty fun too, although the power of AR is yet to be fully utilised. I’m very excited about developments in 4G (superfast mobile internet) and the apps that will be built around it, but this is a little way off yet.

Visit Lanyado’s blog for musings on technology, soccer, travel, and other topics as well as links to published articles.

Check out Gadling’s budget travel section for more budget travel tips, strategies, and information.

[Image: Elliott Smith | Guardian.co.uk]