England and Scotland
July 1st to 13th 2004
Thursday, july 1'st
Wake-up call at 5.30 !! - has to be ready for the bus at 6.20. The weather is awful in Vejle, so it's a nice time to get away. But chances for better weather in England is not that big - so just in case - my backpack includes a raincoat, an umbrella and my exteremely ugly raingear-golf-hat.
Departure on time with Mærsk at 7.45, and exactly 1½ hour later we are at Gatwick. It takes some time before my luggage arrives, but finally it's there. Then down to platform 2 and Thameslink to Kings Cross.Here I change train, for the 11 o'clock to York. 2 hours later I'm in York.
Taxi - you do tend to get more comfortable as you are getting older - to Midway House Hotel with the longest single room I have ever seen. On the other hand, you are only able to stand up in the first half part of the room - in the second part you can only crawl on your knees.
Time for a look around York, and my luggage is usefull immediately, because it starts to rain. Raincoat on - umbrella up - and try to hide under a big tree. Fortunately it's a short shower, so I can start walking along the River Ouse for 20 minutes until I reach York Downtown. First I check out the York Dungeon - a weird ghost museum of some kind, with live actors around.
More sightseeing in York and the most famous sight in the city the York Minster. It's a huge churh and very nice. I check it out, and also gets the chance to see the crypt and the chambers. The tower is closed for today, so that will be another day.
Back to my B&B. Dinner on the way at the pub Fulford Arms, and the semi-final in the Euro2004 between Greece and the Czech Republic is watched in my long room.
Friday, july 2'nd
The day can't start better than with a "full english breakfast" at 9 am. Then you are ready for putting on your walking-shoes, and a nice walk to the railway-station.
From here i take the X40-bus to Whitby. A nice trip across North York Moors, a hilly landscape with large areas of heather. I'm in Whitby at noon. Whitby is a cozy little village at the North Sea. I take a walk around the city before climbing the 199 steps to the ruin of Whitby Abbey. The ruins is of a church build in the 13. and 14. century and is placed high on the cliffs out against the North Sea. Before this church there used to be another one, but that was destroyed by the Danes in 867, but no more talk about that. At the abbey they give you some kind of electronic machinery, that takes you on an informative audio-tour. Pretty interesting.
Just beside Whitby Abbey you will find St. Marys Church which is also old and fine. I take a look at that - and then walks down again to see the Whitby-harbour, and of course more of the city as well. I do skip "The Dracula Experience" - an experienced traveller is able to spot a tourist-trap on a long distance.
X40 returns at 5 and arrives in York at 7. Some dinner and back to my long room.
Saturday, july 3'rd
The walk to York is nice but also a little long, and till now I have seen it quite a few times. So today I invest in a dayticket for the busses, and take the red "park-and-ride"-bus to the railway-station. From there it's a short walk to National Railway Museum.
NRM is a huge, nice and exiting museum - and the entrence is free. I spend a few hours walking around between old engines and wagons - all very well kept - indcluding severel used by kings and queens. There are new models and old models, old signs, benches and everything that belongs in the railway-business. There's also a demonstration of how to turn around an old steam-locomotive on a turntable.
After lunch it's time for a walk around the City walls. The walk ends at the Richard III-museum. They have a funny little competion here - who killed Richard III ?. (sorry - but I don't know this guy). Among the proposed you find Donald Rumsfeld - and - Lord Voldemort.
Then it's time for a short walk in the center with all the souvenir-shops - and finally my red bus no. 7 back for siesta at Midway House.
Later I return to downtown. First a visit to Clifford's Tower, an old tower with a hole in the middle. Then on to York Minster to see the things I didn't see at my first visit ther. That includes the tower. It's a long climb up there. 275 small and steep steps, and you also have to cross a roof on the church. But the views from up there are great, and the walk down is not nearly as strenuous, eventhough I do tend to get a little dizzy walking round and round on the small steps in the tower.
The last thing here is the Chapter House. A very simple round building on the side of the church. A very impressing site - in fact the nicest part of the Minster. Most people getting inside the room is overwhelmed - and suddenly stops talking and starts looking instead.
Sunday, july 4'th
Rainy weather this morning, so it's close to 11 before I head out for new sights. And what's more natural than starting the day in a pub - or rather a brewery. York Brewery has got a nice little tour where they show you how they make their beer - and of course you get the chance to taste as well.
Later another old York-building. Merchant Adventurers Hall is a nice old building from the 14. century, before the time of liberalism. It's was build by the merchant who had plenty of money because they could control everything about who was going to enter their business - and of course noone would be allowed to do so. Not a very competive way to arrange things.
Last sight is the York Castle Museum. A nice - rather traditional museum with old stuff and an insane entry-fee. The castle used to be a prison. Good old Dick Turpin spend some time her, before he was hanged.
Fast-food dinner at Midway House - room 9. Last game at Euro2004 - would you believe it - Greece as european champions !?. And Peter Schmeichel is as stupid as a guest expert on BBC as he was as a football player.
Monday, july 5'th
Transportday. Leaving York at 10 am and a short train-ride to Leeds. From here a lovely ride on the train to Carlisle, across the Yorkshire Dale National Park. This trainride is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in the country. In Carlisle at 1.30 and then there's a long wait before I can go on. But luckily theres a nice pub just around the corner from the railway-station.
Next train is at 3 o'clock. A short trip to Penrith. Then a bus to Keswick in The Lake District. This complicated journey is finished at 4 when I check in at Linnett Hill Hotel.
Keswick is a cozy little town - quite a lot of tourists. It's in the norhern part of Lake District, right beside the lake Derwantwater. This area is extremely beuatiful, so I take a long walk along the lake, before I find myself with a huge steak-pie in a local pub. Finally I visit Fitzpark, where local youth is having fun playing cricket.
Tuesday, july 6'th
I start this day with a "cruise". Small boats are sailing around Lake Derwantwater. You can jump on and off at 7 different spots around the lake, take a walk - and then hop on the next boat arriving. My first stop is Hawes End. Next stop is Ladore. From here theres a nice walk to Grange in the Borrowdale-area. It's really nice out her. I take a sandwich and a 7-up at a local cafe, before I head back for the boat, and the last part back to Keswick
I have bought myself a little booklet "Short walks in the Keswick and Borrowdale area". My second day-tour is no. 1 in this book. It's a 3 km long walk around Keswick that brings me to Castlehead, with a nice view of the lake and the city. On the way down I meet some japanes looking for the castle. I have to disappoint them - it's no castle, just a place with a nice view.
Dinner at the the pub "Dog & Gun". A locale speciality - a Cumberland-sausage. I'm not going to tell what it looks like.........
Wednesday, july 7'th
I start this day with no. 11 in "short walks...". This walk is headed for Castlerigg Stonecircle. It's a 4½ mile long walk according to my booklet. The walk takes you out of Keswick, and then up a long hill to Castlerigg Stonecircle. It's not nearly as famous as Stonehenge, but weird enough anyway. I'm not sure anyone knows why they made these circles of stones. But the view from up here is great as well.
Then down the hill again through a forest. There a plenty of "footpaths" around. The run across fields, with sheeps grassing right beside. These footpaths are public - you just have to remember to lock the gate behind you.
Public footpaths on private property is nomal. I think Madonna ran into problems when she bought a property to stay away from the public, not noticing a footpath was running just beside the house.
This walk is very nice. It takes about 3 hours. Back in Keswick I visit one of the more inferior museums I have seen. A pencil-museum, telling about the history of the pencil. Maybe it's because there's a famous pencil-factory in town. Haven't we all heard of the famous Keswick-pencils???. When you have paid the entrence for the museum, they even give you one of their pencils. Mine was a fine blue one.
Back in town it's another visit to Fitz Park. No cricket today - just "bowls" - this is really England.........
Thursday, july 8'th
Leaving Keswick. Nice place. Bus to Penrith and a Virgin-train to Glasgow. From Glasgow Central walk al the way to Smith's Hotel. It's further away than I thought, so I should have picked a taxi instead.Finally I reach the hotel, the most lousy on this trip.
Then it's time for taking a look at Glasgow and a little shopping. Plenty of shopping-opportunities in this city.
Also time for a museum-visit. The Tenement House is an old flat, now converted into a small museum. It is supposed to look like a flat used to look about 100 years ago. I get a nice chat with one of the people taking care of the museum. He is a great-great something to the one that used to live here, and whose will it was that the flat should be made into a museum. And I even understand what he tells me - this can sometimes be difficult in Scotland, where they use this strange scottish accent.
Dinner at a mexican restaurant close to my hotel. Expensive - and bad food - I should have sticked to pub-grub.
Friday, july 9'th
Getting up awful early to take a trip to Arran Island and Brodick Castle. The train leaves Glasgow Central for Androssan at 8.30 am. That takes an hour, and from there its another hout by boat to Brodick on Arran Island.
In Brodick a bus is ready to take me - and others - to Brodick Castle. A nice old castle, which you can also see from inside. There are plenty of guides around - one in each room. And a nice park surronds the castle. The garden staff is chinese. That's probably the cheapest.
The trip to the castle was not as long as supposed, so instead of taking the bus back I take a walk. There is one of the many "footpaths" all the way to Brodick. The path crosses one of the many fine golf-courses in this area. Huge signs saying "Danger" suggest that it's a good idea to be a little careful here.
The boat leaves at 2 pm and arrives in Androssan at 3. But here there are problems. There is no train to Glasgow. There has been an accident on the line, so the trains are cancelled. Instead they put us in a taxi and takes us to a different station. It takes a while, and it's 5 before I reach Glasgow again.
I walk back to the hotel. That's easier than using the absolutely hopeless system of Glasgow busses. There are severel companys running, and they all have different fares. There's no ticket you can use for all the busses, and in downtown Glasgow you have to guess which busses stop where. There are no signs telling when the busses are running and all the busses seem to be leftovers from WW II. Isn't deregulation a good thing???
In the evening it's time for a lovely walk in my nearby park called Kelvingrove - nice place.
Saturday, july 10'th
Its a day for golf today. It's the third day of the Scottish Open at the Lock Lomond-course. Train to Balloch and then bus to the golfcourse. The trip takes about 1½ hour, so I'm at the golfcourse at 11.
I would like to see the whole golfcourse and also follow some of the stars, so I choose to follow a pair of golfers for 3-4 holes, and then fall behind to the next ones. I start of with Ernie Els and Lee Westwood. Not a bad start. Later I follow scottish player Andrew Coltart and spaniard Miguel Martin, and then Michael Campbell and Eduardo Romero. For my own play it's nice to see a player like Romero make a mess out of of very simple shot, that runs 20 meters forward and into a bunker. The scorecard-woman is just beside me, and we agree that even we could have done that better. It's a double-bogey for Romero, and he looks very "gloomy". His answer is on the other hand better than I could have done. He scores a birdie on the next two holes.
From the 11'th hole I follow Peter Hedblom and Thomas Bjørn. Thomas is -9 and is on a shared 6-8 place 6 strokes behind the leader. He plays excellent and the few holes that I watch him. He get's a nice birdie on 14, a dog-leg par 4, where he crosses the shrubbery with the tee-shot and lands the ball right on the green. 315 meters - that's something. He is close to an eagle on that hole, and with a bit more luck he could easily have scored 3 or 4 more birdies than the one he got, on the holes that I watched him.
The day finishes at 5.30. Thomas is still no. 6-8, now at -10. Marcus Fraser and Gregory Havret is the leaders at -14.
The course is extremely nice. Very spectacular and some impressive surroundings with Loch Lomond on one side and nice highland-mountains on the other. And watching these players is great. They sure know how to play this game. But it is kind of hard of following the development of the whole tournament. That is in fact easier on TV.
Sunday, July 11'th
Actually plans was to go to Glengoyne to take a look at a whisky-destillery. But when I get to the bus-terminal I find out that no. 10 is only running every 2 hours - and it has just left.
So plans must be changed into some Glasgow-sightseeing. I take the official hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. My first hop-off is at Glasgow Cathedral. Here you also find a few nice and small museums and the oldest house in Glasgow.
Next hop-off is at "The Barras", Glasgows huge flea market. Her they sell everthing. I find a weird music-shops and buys 2 bootlegs, that look quite suspect.
Back on the bus we pass all the sights of Glasgow - not that many to be honest. The bus also stops in front of Smith's Hotel, so here I hop-off for the last time. I'm just in time to see Thomas Levet from France win the Scottish Open on TV.
Later another walk. First a place for dinner. A nice newly opened italian restaurant with good and cheap food. Then a walk up Byres Road - a nice little street with restaurants and bars. Byres Road ends at the Botanical garden. Here I find a secret path along River Kelvin, all the way back to Kelvingrove Park and my hotel. A very nice walk along the river - and I haven't seen it any of my tour-guides. So it's a little like my own invention.
Monday, july 12'th
Leaving with a GNER-train at 8 am from Glasgow Central. The train terminates at London Kings Cross at 2 pm - about 40 minutes late. Then to my nice hotel Luna & Simone close to Victoria.
I haven't got much time in London. So I take bus no. 24 to Trafalger Square, and some walking around in tourist-London.
At 7 I head for Her Majesty's Theathre to see the "Phantom of the Opera". Nice piece in the old theater. The story is trivial. Something about a ghost in the parisian opera, that falls in love with one of the singers, that on the other hand loves and bla bla bla........But the scenery is great, and hell they can sing
Tuesday, july 13'th
Exit UK. The cheap train to Gatwick - a trained London-traveller knows that there is no need to pay 12 £ for the Express, when you can pay 8 £ for Southerns train that is almost as fast.
Departure for Billund at 1.35 pm - actually the plane is early, so we arrive in Billund 20 minutes ahead of schedule. And now it's a good thing that Billund Airport is so tiny. I can actually reach a bus that leaves 10 minutes before the plane was supposed to land.