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Trip to Scotland and northern England June 2014

Trip to Scotland and northern England June 2014

Old Aug 12th, 2014, 03:52 AM
  #101  
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When I was a child in the US, feed was sometimes still sold in cotton sacks that were printed with flowery designs. In the early 20th century (before my time!) farmers' wives made themselves dresses from the empty sacks. Probably some women still used them for that when I saw the last of them, or maybe they used them for dish towels or other more utilitarian purpose.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 08:42 PM
  #102  
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Thanks for the great report. We will be traveling in the same areas next June. You have given me some ideas!

My childhood was spent in mountains of North Carolina, upper South Carolina and later Texas. The printed cloth flour and feed bags were indeed still used in NC and SC to make clothing, quilts and rag rugs in the rural poorer areas. My grandmother was sad to see them disappear, sometime in the early '50s, I think.

In the greater southern US many kids and some adults carry a sack lunch to school or work or maybe a fancy lunch box or lunch kit. Hotel restaurants will fix you a box lunch for a picnic, if you ask.

Love trying to figure out what is being talked about when visiting other English speaking countries. On our first trip to England, we spent 2 weeks trying to figure out what the no tipping signs meant!! LOL. In New Zealand it was a sign with a giant !. Italy was pretty straight forward as soon as we learned the important Italian words...stop etc!
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 12:17 AM
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Thanks for a lovely trip report. My ggg-grandfather was from the Lake of Menteith area. We loved going their last summer.

We stayed in Haltwhistle when we visited Hadrian's Wall. It was a pleasant town and easy to take a bus or taxi to see the fort and parts of the wall.

We are going to Northern England and Wales in a couple of weeks. We can't wait!
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 12:59 PM
  #104  
 
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Really enjoying reading your report. I plan to go to Edinburgh and Glasgow sometime next year, thus I can use some of your tips and ideas.

Just curious, did you buy any special souvenirs that we cannot buy in the US. These days one can find almost anything from any corner of the world in most large cities. Thus, would like to buy something unique that would be easy to bring back.

Have a great weekend.
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Old Sep 27th, 2014, 01:29 PM
  #105  
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I had a rather busy August, and the beginning of September was really hectic. I was up to my eyeballs in tomatoes, which were particularly hard to process this year because of the chilly wet summer here in Italy.

In the last half of August we were away in what I call our little summer hovel in the foothills of the Sibillini mountains, in southern Le Marche. It's one of my favorite spots in the world, but internet access, either by wifi or by cell network, is practically nonexistent there. So this trip report fell out of my view. At this point, there was really only half a day left, but in some respects it was one of our nicer days, so I hated to leave it like that.

Before I get back to the last installment, for Ileen I'll say that I'm not really a big souvenir buyer. I did look for some little gifts for family, but I had a hard time finding anything I thought they'd like. We ended up getting our grandson a 3-D jigsaw puzzle of a castle, and a book about Mary, Queen of Scots, for our granddaughter. (I had originally threatened to buy bagpipes for our grandson.) We got some treats in the food line for our kids, but I don't remember exactly what the gifts were.

For myself, I bought a few books about places we'd seen, and a cloth shopping bag from the Isle of Iona. I saw an awful lot of tat for sale in tourist shops, especially in Edinburgh, and lots of fake kilts. There were also numerous shops with handcrafts, which seemed to be of high quality, but nothing that really grabbed my interest. However, I didn't spend large amounts of time investigating the merchandise.

There are various food items that are typical of Scotland. There are some good jams and marmalades, and shortbread and other biscuits. I was debating bringing home some good oatmeal, but we didn't have a lot of luggage space.
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Old Sep 27th, 2014, 01:45 PM
  #106  
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Well, now we come to the last day of our trip.

Day 12

We checked out of the King's Lodge in the morning, but hung around the area most of the day. Our flight was early the next morning, and we were spending the night in a hotel (the Radisson Blu) at Stansted airport. I had reserved an afternoon train, with a connection in Peterborough.

Originally, I had thought of going by bus to Escombe to see an Anglo-Saxon church, probably the most intact in England, there. However, I felt as though seeing St. Paul's church in Jarrow was enough for me, and my husband doesn't have the same fascination with the Angles and the Saxons that I have. He quickly agreed that maybe we should do something else. We started out by walking on a part of the river bank that we hadn't walked before, and before long we saw a sign to Crook Hall and Gardens. I had read about this manor house and its lovely gardens, so we decided to have a look. The gardens were indeed lovely, and probably at their peak at this time of year. One of the gardens was a “fragrant garden”, but most of the other gardens also had a delightful fragrance. The manor house is also beautiful, and there is an intact 13th century great hall attached to the 18th century house. There are many interesting displays about the history of the manor, which at one point in time was a farm, when the house was used as a brewery. I highly recommend this lovely spot, so near central Durham. There were several groups touring the gardens; I imagine they were members of garden clubs. At one point, my husband commented that he was the only man there, and for a while, he was.

Before heading off to catch our train, we had lunch again at Finnbar's, and once again it was excellent. We really enjoyed Durham, which is a small city, very laid back, and with little mass tourism. If I had to choose, of the four cities we visited, Glasgow and Durham were my favorites. I have a feeling most people who have visited all four would choose York and Edinburgh, but “different strokes for different folks”.

We spent the night at the Radisson Blu at Stansted Airport. It is a typical late 20th century monstrosity, big, anonymous and cold. It reminded me a little of the some of the Hyatt hotels in which I've attended conferences, except that Hyatt does the style so much better, with green plants and fountains. My husband said that the tiers of rooms facing the central courtyard looked like those you see in films about prisons, and I had to agree. However, I'd give them a few points for having a top sheet along with their duvet, and for having a duvet that didn't weigh more than my suitcase. The room was comfortable, and it's a ten minute walk, under a covered walkway, to the terminal.

They had three choices for dinner: an Italian restaurant, a steak house, and a bar. I don't trust Italian restaurants outside of Italy, and I don't trust steak that I don't buy from my own butcher, so we ate at the bar. I had a hamburger, and my husband had a salad of some sort. It was one of our more expensive meals, actually about the same price as Finnbar's, but the bill was the only thing that resembled Finnbar's.

Behind the bar was a glass tower, and inside it there was a 30-foot tall (my estimate) wine rack. We wondered how they get the wine. I speculated that it had an elevator at its base, and that they lowered it to the right level to get a bottle out. At one point, a women in a leotard started swinging from a rope in this tower, and for a minute I thought they hired Catwoman to get their wine. However, it turned out that this was a nightly entertainment. I didn't see many eyes turn away from the World Cup to see her make a few desultory spins and somersaults attached to the rope.

Our trip back to Italy in the morning was uneventful. On this, our last day, it rained, but the covered walkway allows me to honestly say that we never opened an umbrella once during the whole trip.

Ryanair in Stansted is just slightly less chaotic than it is in Ancona. I don't think anyone had to gate check their bags, though. The plane was full in both directions, and it didn't seem that the amount of hand luggage being carried was any different, which, since most people go both ways, it shouldn't be, so I don't quite grasp the physics that would explain why so many bags had to be gatechecked on the way out.

We loved the trip, and have lots of memories and photos. Maybe I'll get the photos organized one of these days and post a link.

I greatly appreciate all the help I had on the forum, which was invaluable in planning the trip. I hope I can return the favor for people who want to visit Le Marche, or other places in central Italy.
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Old Sep 28th, 2014, 12:56 PM
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The bouncing wine waiters at the Blu, seem to jump up and down on bouncy cables to reach the wine. A friend of mine was there at the opening and they wore angel's wings.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 04:33 AM
  #108  
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When we were there, there was only one bouncing person on a cable, and it was advertised as an hour-long entertainment, a rather desultory one, I must say. We didn't see her get any wine, but we weren't watching her the whole time she was performing. No angel wings, either, just a leotard.

Maybe the angels dropped a bottle once and were fired.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 02:06 PM
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I've decided that the next trip I do I'll be flying from Stansted and staying at the Radisson, just to be able to see the bouncing waiters.

bvl - i honestly thought that it was a joke when I first read your post.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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Ann, I don't think it's worth staying at the Radisson just for that. The waiters we saw didn't do any bouncing at all, and the woman on the bungee cord didn't do any waiting.
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 12:14 AM
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Really, bvl? - what a shame.

let's face it, there has to be a pretty big incentive to use Stansted at all, and I thought I'd just found it!
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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 12:20 AM
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My big incentive was €118 round trip from Italy, including taxes.
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