This year the event was held on the same weekend as the Grand National, also in Liverpool. What great planning. Hotels at a reasonable price were almost impossible to find. £500 for two nights? I'd rather have a week all-inclusive in Europe for that price thanks. Thankfully, I have family that live around an hour away so I stayed at their house for the weekend and train tickets to and from Liverpool only cost me about £40 for the weekend. Score!
Friday morning, my friend picked me up and she drove up to Liverpool. It was pretty cool getting off the motorway and seeing banners around the city advertising the gymnastics. The general public doesn't really care about the sport so it's nice to see it getting some recognition. It was also funny to see the classic stereotype of Liverpool before we'd even got out the car- women walking around town with rollers in their hair!
On the Friday afternoon, it was the Junior competition and for the first time, my club had a gymnast competing. Considering Liverpool is quite a distance from where I live, it was amazing to see over 30 people from the club there to support our gymnast. She certainly did us all proud and enjoyed the experience of competing alongside our country's elite gymnasts.
That evening, I got the train back to my family's house and I got the added bonus of spending time with Miss Emily. Any day where I get to watch live gymnastics and then get cuddles from Em is completely fine by me.
On Saturday, I gave myself tons of time to get into Liverpool because I knew I'd be commuting alongside all the drunken race-goers. Yep, it was so classy to see the ladies all dressed up and drinking cider out of a plastic cup on the train at 10am on a Saturday morning. Anyway, I made it to the arena safely to find our seats three rows from the back! It was a very high quality competition and the last round was a sell out. Who would have thought that the national championships could sell out the Echo Arena when just 6 years ago it was being held at a leisure centre sports hall in Guildford?
|Taken in the morning as we arrived. By the evening it was pretty much full!|
I had to run for the train that evening and had quite the weird journey home thanks to many people slightly worse for wear after the Grand National. I was super happy I got on the earlier train home to save me spending 30 minutes by myself in Liverpool city centre on a Saturday night. Once I was on the train, it was standing room only so I got chatting with the man standing next to me. I was a little wary to begin with, but in the end it turned out he knew pretty much my entire extended family. Talk about a small world!
Sunday was the last day of my big Liverpool adventure. My uncle drove me halfway to Liverpool as the trains didn't run early enough to get there on time from their town. As usual, the gymnastics was good and it was nice to see the inclusion of the disability gymnasts competing alongside the Junior finalists. Over the lunch break we went to the same little wine bar near the arena as we went to last year. Unfortunately the food took so long to cook (half an hour to cook 4 paninis) that we missed the first competition of the afternoon session. They were very apologetic and gave us our food to go, as well as giving us a plate of free brownies and greatly reducing our bill. As we got back to the arena, we changed our seats so we were sat in the judges seating for the afternoon, and were right next to the BBC studio, who were broadcasting nationals for the first time. I definitely had to be careful with what I was saying!
Overall, it was a really enjoyable weekend. Next year I am determined to actually stay in Liverpool itself so I can enjoy more social time with my friends rather than dealing with drunken racegoers on the train.
Congratulations if you actually made it to the end of the post! I know it's probably more information than you need but its nice for me to look back and see what I actually did for the weekend.