Thanks to Kelly’s friends we were under budget for June. I apparently have no friends with spare rooms in Europe proving yet again I married well. With free lodging in Sweden, Denmark, Hamburg and Lancaster our lodging for June only cost $1129 (11 nights in Paris). With no car our long-distance travel consisted of a flight from Paris to Copenhagen $153. Trains to Sweden, Denmark and Hamburg $264 and a flight from Hamburg to Lancaster $124 for a total of $541. Daily spending was again over budget at $3566. Our total cost for the month was $4972 or $165 per day. For those accounting experts out there the reason those numbers don’t appear to add up is because train costs are included in daily spending but flights were not as they were purchased months ago. For those new to the blog our budget for two people is $100 a day for lodging plus $100 a day for spending.
Week two in Lancaster we decided to give our hosts a break and took a two-day trip into the Lake District just North of Lancaster. The Lake District is the largest and most popular National Park in England. It is mountainous and dotted with numerous lakes but of course the Brits don’t call them mountains, they are fells, and only one lake is actually called “lake” the rest are waters, tarns and meres. The distinction is rather vague but I am sure quite important, at least if you are British. We bused to the town of Keswick in the North of the lake district. The three hour scenic ride through the pastures and villages of the Lake District cost $15 each. We stayed in Keswick at a classic British BnB. Suzie and John were our hosts at the Parkfield guest house on a quiet side street just outside the town center.
We highly recommend the Parkfield. A comfortable room with en-suite bath and a huge British breakfast made to order each morning cost $130/night. The lake district is all about hiking, walking and boating.
No jet skis or ski boats ruining the tranquil experience but plenty of row boats, kayaks and the occasional sail boat. With school still in session the crowds were small. The Lake district is the most visited of the national parks and can be very crowded in summer. The more popular lake towns around Windermere were already filled with tour buses and tourists taking selfies. I do wonder if some people return home with a slide show of nothing but 100 pictures of themselves smiling into the camera.
Keswick is on the Derwentwater which looks like a very nice lake set amongst verdant green mountains. Or for the British, a water amongst verdant green fells. We rented a rowboat and I channeled my daughter with her years of crew and rowed Kelly around the lake while she read Wordsworth. Well, maybe there was no poetry and my rowing technique is nothing like Cap’s but it was a very nice time nonetheless.
The next day we took the early boat around the lake to the head of the Cat Bells trail head. I have no idea why the 1400 foot fell is called Cat Bells as we saw no cats nor bells but it is a lovely climb. We hiked up the trail a mile or so for a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
We came back down then made our way around the lake…I mean water, for a mile or two to the next boat landing where we caught the boat back to Keswick. An excellent hike and still back in town in time for a nice lunch consisting of two scoops of ice cream.
After two nights in Keswick we returned to Lancaster and our next big adventure…. the dentist. Being out of the country for 9 months we knew we would need to have our 6-month teeth cleaning out of the US and thought Britain would be a good choice as they speak our language, well sort of. We had a very nice teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist and her assistant. Cost $58 each.
On Saturday Kelly returned to her drawing class and I joined Fredrik and a men’s group for breakfast and a hike. A five-mile hike among fells and streams with the occasional farmer’s field or pasture.
Here in England there are public rights of way for walking allowing hikers to walk across otherwise private land. More interesting than the walk was the conversation. Our group of 12 men ranging in age from early 20s to late 50s included one American, one Swede, one Iranian, one Indian and 8 native Brits. Fascinating conversation about politics, education, healthcare, nuclear power and travel. Yes, our president’s tweets were a topic of conversation. No, I had no excuse or explanation.
The next day Kelly and I joined the charity walk across the bay. We were accompanied by our host Fredrik and his neighbor Helen. Karin found some lame excuse like major surgery to avoid the walk. Morecambe Bay is one of the largest in England and drains almost completely at low tide.
For centuries people would walk or take horse drawn carts across the bay cutting days off the trip around the bay. It became a major trade route and enough people died in the quicksand and rushing tides that the King appointed the royal “guide to the sands” providing him a cottage in the town of Kent’s Bank. Since the installation of the railway in the 1850s I don’t think the guide has had much to do other than guide charity walks but here in England they like to keep old traditions. The 25th Royal “guide to the sands” was Cedric Robinson appointed in 1963. Cedric retired this year so our cross bay walk for charity was lead by the 26th royal guide to the sands Michael Wilson.
Michael did a fine job leading 500 of us across the sand, water and mud.
Michael thought it hilarious when he dropped down pretending to be in water up to his neck as he waded the channel of the river Kent. In truth the water never got above my knees. A fun day with perfect walking weather accompanied by friends.