The travelin’ Meads in the United Kingdom

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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One Response to “The travelin’ Meads in the United Kingdom”

  1. Queemyvem Says:

    Thanx for the article!

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