People travel for different reasons.
To taste the food of different cultures.
To hike iconic trails.
To volunteer and give back.
People also travel to follow in the footsteps of those they admire – like the Beatles.
By chance, I've been to three destinations that were central to the Beatles success at very different stages of their success. It wasn't planned but on my spring trip to Hamburg, where it all began for the Fab Four, I was reminded of the two others. Here's a photo journey from three Beatles destinations.
The Beatles in Hamburg
Shortly after changing their name from the Quarrymen to the Beatles, John, Paul and George went to Hamburg in August 1960 and played in the red light district there until December 1962. Ringo joined them on a couple of sets when Pete Best wasn't available and then joined them permanently in August 1962. Sometimes playing all night shows, the Beatles cut their teeth in Hamburg before returning to Liverpool where they became stars.
For more, take the Hempel's Beatles Tour in the St. Pauli area of Hamburg when you're there. Here's a link to Beatles music and another to books about the Beatles. You could also read Outliers in which Malcolm Gladwell argues that it was the Beatles outrageous hours of playing in Hamburg (their 10,000 hours) that helped them burst on the scene in 1963. At the bottom of this post is a video of their first hit, Please, Please Me.
The Beatles in Liverpool
The Cavern Club, located at 10 Matheson Street in Liverpool, is aptly named. A winding brick staircase takes you to the club which is deep underground. This is where the Beatles really sprang onto the scene in 1962. I arrived as part of a four-stop UK train journey in 2012. Not surprisingly, there's a huge list of things to do in Liverpool that relates to the Beatles. From the Magical Mystery Tour to the Beatles Museum to taking in a band at the Cavern, there are plenty of options.
On my visit to Liverpool I naturally stopped by the Cavern Club. There I met Paul McCabe (yay Paul and all your travels) who was there when the city and the world were on a Beatles high. Below is a quick video of him telling us about what to see and do in Liverpool.
The Beatles in Rishikesh
Transcendental meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi drew the Beatles to Rishikesh in Northern India in 1968. Located in “the Valley of the Saints”, the foothills of the Himalayas, Maharishi's ashram is on the outskirts of Rishikesh but an easy walk and destination at one point or another for most westerners in the area. The Maharishi's ashram is vacant and derelict as the photos below show. This was reportedly one of the most prolific writing periods for the Beatles. Eighteen of the songs on the Beatles' White Album were written there. Below are photos from my time in Rishikesh. When I was there I stayed at Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram.
And now, the Beatles first hit…
Of course, there are many more Beatles destinations.