Travelin’ Meads cont.

July 25, 2009

 

 

Scotland felt, in general, less tourist oriented than did England.  Bird and statue in Dumfries, Scotland.Scotland felt, in general, less tourist oriented than did England. Not as tidy.  Bird and statue in Dumfries, Scotland.

 

 

July 14 Tuesday

The plan was to stay 2 nights in Glenrothes, Scotland and explore Edinborough, but it didn’t feel right.  I called ahead to the B&B we were scheduled in for the following two nights and asked if we could stay a third night.  No problem, so after a complete Scottish Breakfast, (same as the English, as well as haggis and black pudding) drove across Scotland at the narrows between Edinborough and Glasgow.  Our final destination was Gretna Green and the Barrasgate B&B.   The address for Barrasgate B&B was Scotland yet we passed a sign welcoming us to England BEFORE we arrived at the B&B.  Were we in Scotland or England?  Apparently, Barrasgate B&B  lies in what is called “The Debatable Lands.”  When Britain and Scotland were separate kingdoms, this land, about ten miles long from north to south and 4 miles wide, was run by local clans who refused to follow the authority of England or Scotland.  They held onto this land causing havoc for over 300 years and becoming very rich in the process.  Our host, Alan, is a Graham, one of the local clans.  He was a small and gentle man and we all had to smile to think of him as a Scottish warrior!  It was finally resolved in 1603, but up until some years ago, the it still caused problems for the people who live there now.

Our room was fine, but small.  Once we had all our luggage and bodies in the room, the host looked at us and asked if we’d like to move downstairs into another room, with more space and a conservatory.  Oh yes.  

Ate at a local inn in Gretna Green. In England 1754, you had to be 21 and have both parents permission to marry. However, Scotland still allowed marriage at 16 and no parental permission was needed.  Gretna Green was this first Scottish town you entered after leaving England and it became the center for runaway marriages.  So far great disappointment with the food.  (Despite this, we all came back to Sweden feeling “thick.”  Too much time in the car and too many sticky toffee puddings.  I have the recipe.  Prepare yourself.)

July 15, Wednesday

Look closely and you can see the four of us.

Look closely and you can see the four of us.

 

 

We had been planning to see the new Harry Potter movie in England ever since we realized it was opening while we were there.  This morning we went into Dumfires, Scotland and bought tickets for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I talked to some kids who had been waiting since 10 am for the 1 pm show.  ( I remember as a kid cringing when my dad talked to everyone we met, all strangers.  Now I am doing the same thing and my kids are responding the same way.  However, they are more vocal about their embarrassment then I ever was!)   Nice, orderly lines waiting for the doors to open and when they did, all rushed for the open doors and up the stairs.  We still found great seats.  The crowd obviously loved the characters and the movie.  All ages present, including a leathered motor cycle man and his woman.  It was as fun as we thought it would be, seeing the movie in England.

We found a store that sold over 700 types of whiskey.  The owner and his son, spent a good 45 minutes with us, teaching us about whiskey, complete with props.  The finale was a visit to their back store room where we saw a sherry cask.

We found a store that sold over 700 types of whiskey. The owner and his son, spent a good 45 minutes with us, teaching us about whiskey, complete with props. The finale was a visit to their back store room where we saw a sherry cask.

We had cider (another reason for the "thick feeling") in The Globe, a pub that Robert Burns frequented.

We sampled another type of cider (another reason for the "thick feeling") in The Globe, a pub that Robert Burns frequented.

July 16th Thursday

 

 

Actually in England, Carlisle ( a celtic camp or caer)

Actually in England, Carlisle Castle (Carlisle takes it name from a celtic camp or caer) was built by the Normans. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here for a short time and in the dungeons you can see where other prisoners licked the stones for hydration.

 

 

Sign Yarrow in Carlisle

Lanercost priory, founded in 1166.  Today the nave is used as a Parish church and the rest is in ruins. This is the tomb of Thomas Dace or his wife  who took over the priory as a private home in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, by Henry VIII.

Lanercost priory, founded in 1166. Today the nave is used as a Parish church and the rest is in ruins. This is the tomb of Thomas Dace or his wife who took over the priory as a private home after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, by Henry VIII.

Parish church at the priory.

Parish church at the priory.

Hadrian's wall stretches 73 miles across England and was built 2,000 years ago to remind everybody where the border of the Roman empire

Hadrian's wall stretches 73 miles across England and was built 2,000 years ago as the border of the Roman empire. We saw it at the Birdoswald. A Roman Fort was built here and is a heritage site.

We left Scotland and headed through England and the Lake District into Wales.

We left Scotland and headed through England and the Lake District into Wales.

July 17, Friday

 

 

 

Our hostel in Wales, Danywenallt.

Our hostel in Wales, Danywenallt. We stayed two nights here and finally washed our clothes! We were all thankful.

 

 

The view towards the hostel.  I am standing on a damn built at the base of a lake.

The view towards the hostel. I am standing on a damn built at the base of a lake.

The hostel is located in Brecons Beacons National Park.  A small park that runs 15 miles north to south and 45 miles East to west and holds four mountain ranges.

The hostel is located in Brecons Beacons National Park. A small park that runs 15 miles north to south and 45 miles East to west and holds four mountain ranges.

July 18th Saturday

We visited the visitor center and hiked up to an overlook.  The Black mountains are behind us.

We visited the visitor center and hiked up to an overlook. The Black mountains are behind us.

This was the view looking the other way.

This was the view looking the other way.

Lily neighed in a horse and confused the poor thing.  As we walked away the horse continued up the hill looking for the other horse.

Lily neighed in a horse and confused the poor thing. As we walked away the horse continued up the hill looking for the other horse.

Magical.

Magical.

Wales waterfall

Kurt found several species of damselflies, one the same species we have in Minnesota.

Kurt found several species of damselflies, one the same species we have in Minnesota.

Finally, good food.  The Star Inn is Wales Pub of the years and it deserves the title.

Finally, good food. The Star Inn is Wales Pub of the years and it deserves the title.

nnnnnnnnnn

Beer labels: merlin's Oak, Witching Hour, Holy Cow, Ashe Vine, Nutty Broomstick, Old leg Over, Keel Over, Figgy's brew, Hunny Bunny, Demon's eye, Davy George Crocker, Christmas Fairy, Titanic Lifeboat, Bucky's Best Bitter, Horse Tonic, Guzzer, Embalming Preparation, Little Squirt, Bran Wash, Steam Hammer, Sheep Remedy, Cat-A-Tonic, Bearly Literate, Hidden Potential, Tangle Foot, Black Bess and ... Piddle in the cold.

July 19th Sunday

 Hay -On-Wye is located in Wales with the English border 300m northeast of town. There are over 40 bookstores in this small town.  Kurt found the dragonfly books he had been looking for in store where the owner knew Philip Corbet, the grandfather of Odonteolgy.

 

 

Hay -On-Wye is located in Wales with the English border 300m northeast of town. There are over 40 bookstores in this small town. Kurt found the dragonfly books he had been looking for in store where the owner knew Philip Corbet, the grandfather of Odonatology.

 

 

 

We traveled down to Bath (Persuasion) and had a cream tea at Sally Lunn's.  There has been a tea house on the site since the 18th century.

We traveled down to Bath (Persuasion) and had a cream tea at Sally Lunn's. There has been a tea house on the site since the 18th century.

Sally Lunn bread with lemon curd and a pot of clotted cream.

Sally Lunn bread with lemon curd and a pot of clotted cream.

The Romans Bath museum is one of the world's best preserved roman baths.  The industrious Romans constructed a complex to take advantage of three natural springs.  A young man fell in and crawled out covered with algae.  They provide an audio guide free with the price of admission that offers adult and children versions.  It added so much to the experience.

The Romans Bath museum is one of the world's best preserved roman baths. The industrious Romans constructed a complex to take advantage of three natural springs. A young man fell in and crawled out covered with algae. They provide an audio guide free with the price of admission that offers adult and children versions. It added so much to the experience.

July 20th  Monday

Ifracombe

Ifracombe is a coastal town on the Bristol Channel. We spent the day here, chilling and decompressing after....

dfdfdfd

a large van in the middle of a narrow country road forced us into the hedge covered stone wall. Crud.

Ilf Yarrow rocks

Ilfa Lily pensive

July 21 Tuesday

Really needs no title does is.

Really needs no title does it?

Our last day as tourists in the UK.  We stopped in Salisbury and then continued on for what should have a 2 hour journey.  Traffic in the UK is intense!  We were traffic queue 15 miles long and were delighted to get to our hotel, located several miles from the airport.  Again, we were given two rooms as their family room was experiencing flooding. Ha!  Our flight in the morning left at 7 am and given Ryan Airs disorganization we wanted to be there by 5am.

July 22, Wednesday  

6:30 pm arrival in Arvika.  So good to be back in Sweden.  

Images from the UK:

MIlk on stoop

Sign Butties to go
Sign Deer

Sign No dogs on wall

Sign No foulingsign Rising bollardsSign Take litter homeSign Please adjust dress

The travelin’ Meads in the United Kingdom

July 23, 2009
The secret garden view through a looking glass set in an old metal gate on the Cambridge campus.

The secret garden view through a looking glass set in an old metal gate on the Cambridge campus.

I am preparing this travel blog on a rainy day in Sweden.  We have just returned from picking vin, röd  and vit bär, (black, red and white currents) from Mulberg and will help make saft (fruit concentrate).  Two cars, three trains and two busses later, Anders picked us up at train station last night and our traveling came to an end.  It feels wonderful to be back home in Sweden, and the realization that we will be back in Minnesota in 1 1/2 weeks is just plain…unbelievable.  A whole year we’ve been gone?  

I had thought to write this travel blog AS we traveled.  But, nope.  Didn’t happen.  So here goes:

 July 11, Saturday

After our rainy day at Lisberg, we flew out of GSE, Goteborg’s smallest airport, formally a military base that is now home to Ryan Air. Despite the low cost, I don’t think we will be flying Ryan Air again. Unorganized, poorly designed process, uptight staff and customers.  We get to walk on the tarmacs on and off the plane, though!

Going through customs in England was a bit intense.  All had to fill in paperwork and we were asked where we were going and where we were spending our first night.  Good thing we had a place lined up for the first night.  We had planned to find lodging as we traveled but decided against that once we arrived.   We chose to sleep at B&B’s, believing we would get a better sense of the country.  We did!  Using the lonely planet Great Britain guide and the mobile phone we rented,  each evening  the first couple of days in the UK, I set up lodging.   Our trip was a loop around the UK (not Ireland).  With one exception, all of our B&B’s were interesting.

We picked up our rental car at the airport, and was upgraded slightly to a better car because there were some problems with the car they had for us.  The new car was slightly larger.  This may have been an unfortunate upgrade due to what happened later in the trip.  (Read on,  dear reader)

Drove north from Stansted Airport, (located an hour or so north of London) to Leicester and the B&B for our first nights lodging, the  Campbells house.   Met Ruthie and Paul and their several small children when we knocked on the door.  That’s the last we saw of them, except Paul bringing a cot to the girls room at 10 pm, as their room only had one bed..   Ruthie, our  host asked us, apologetically, if we minded sleeping in TWO rooms vs one family room.  You can imagine the joy the girls greeted this news with!  I think it must be challenging to run a B&B with a family. 

The stairs in most of the B&B's were narrow and difficult to navigate with suitcases.  At the Campbell House we navigated two sets of steps, the one pictured and another dressed in green.

The stairs in most of the B&B's were narrow and difficult to navigate with suitcases. At the Campbell House we navigated two sets of steps, the one pictured and another dressed in green.

July 12 Sunday

We ate a sad breakfast, no bowls for the cereal, and left.  We were still eagerly awaiting our first complete English breakfast.

Driving is challenging.  Wrong side of the road, round abouts on top of round abouts and impatient drivers.  By the end of the trip, we had been honked at 13 times, one roundabout got us two!  This challenge on top of navigating proved too much and today we waited at the ASDC, (Wallmart)  until it opened at 10:30 and bought Jane, our Navigator.  She saved us from certain death.  (Lily became concerned about the close relationship Kurt and Jane developed.)  She started charging us a quarter every time we called her “Jane.”

We drove to Cambridge which is celebrating 800 years as a college town and wandered the town. Sadly,  Kings Chapel was closed for day, as there was a ceremony of some sort taking place.

Cambridge is in the county Cambridgeshire and the River Cam runs through the town.  It was very funny to watch people trying to maneuver the punts.

Cambridge is in the county Cambridgeshire and the River Cam runs through the town. It was very funny to watch people trying to maneuver the punts.

 

The "Backs" are the parklands that line the river behind some of the most famous colleges.  There are 31 colleges in the town.

The "Backs" are the parklands that line the river behind some of the most famous colleges. There are 31 colleges in the town.

We continued on to the  town of York, arriving about 9pm at our B&B, the Romley house.  Our host was Bruce, a former Alaskan fisherman who met his English wife on a singles web page.  He talked up his waffles, English breakfasts and the town of York.  He did so well with the York sales pitch that we decided to spend the next day exploring it.

The Romley House in York

The Romley House in York

 

July 13, Monday

Our first several English breakfasts were wonderful!  However, there is some truth in the saying "too much of a good thing," and we switched over to cereal.  Wheatabix!  Can you get them in the states?

Our first several English breakfasts were wonderful! However, there is some truth in the saying "too much of a good thing," and we switched over to cereal. Wheatabix! Can you get them in the states?

Bruce was a loquacious and garrulous man.  We enjoyed and appreciated his welcome.

Bruce was a loquacious and garrulous man. We enjoyed and appreciated his welcome.

 

 We are so glad we chose to tour York as it was magical.  We took a tour with Pat, a passionate volunteer who loves her town.  The tour was free and scheduled to take 2 hours.  2 hrs 45 minutes we were in awe of her passion and knowledge.  Kurt and I were still hanging in with her, but the girls were ready for lunch.

She really was fab.  She told stories, personalized it and other tricks of the trade.

She really was fab. She told stories, personalized it and other tricks of the trade.

The small city center of York is encircled by a 13th century wall, which you can walk the entire length, looking down on the spider web of streets.

The small city center of York is encircled by a 13th century wall, which you can walk the entire length of as you look down on the spider web of streets.

York Minster is England's largest medieval castle and one of the world's most beautiful Gothic buildings.  Six places of worship have been built on this site, starting with a wooden chapel in 627.

York Minster is England's largest medieval cathedral and one of the world's most beautiful Gothic buildings. Six places of worship have been built on this site, starting with a wooden chapel in 627.

 

This street gave you the sense of a medieval street with overhanging buildings and many tourists.  Shambles street takes its name from the Saxon word shamel, meaning slaughterhouse.

This street gave you the sense of a medieval street with overhanging buildings and many tourists. Shambles street takes its name from the Saxon word shamel, meaning slaughterhouse. We are planning to hang this photo in Lily's bedroom!

This young woman played electric guitar in the square as we ate lunch.

This young woman played electric guitar in the square as we ate lunch.

 

Among all the history we also learned:  200,000 Kit Kat candy bars are made a day in the local candy factory.  Cadbury started as a apprentice at a local chocolatier  in York.

 After we left York, we traveled late into the night through the rain dark and road work to a hotel in Glenrothes, Scotland.   

continued tomorrow…



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