Although our final destination was Edinburgh, we decided to make it a longer journey by stopping off at places of interest along the way. Our first stop was the Keswick in the Lake District.
After I finished my first year of uni, a few of us took a trip up to Keswick and camped by the lake for a few days. It was such a brilliant holiday and the beauty of it all still stays with me so I thought it a good place to take Laura to show off some of our great British countryside. Thank goodness it wasn’t raining!
Keswick looks absolutely divine in the sun. The light plays off every surface and the campsite by the lake is perfectly peaceful. If I were made to move anywhere in England, Keswick would be quite high up on my list, though I’d probably have to leave it for at least another 50 years before I move in and start lowering the average age drastically.
The pub we went to for lunch had walls and walls of different beer coasters from all the different ales that have been served there and it was pretty impressive. The pub (The Dog & Gun) also brings back memories of sneaking with my brothers in when I was only 14 and on a shopping trip from camp. Ahhh happy days indeed. It was also here that Laura tried her first crumpets – win.
Heading more east, we set our sights on Newcastle. I’ll have to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to our Geordie stay one bit. The Geordie accent tends to grate on me even when spoken by the nicest of people, and I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything famous to come out of Newcastle.
We arrived and dumped our bags in the hostel and then headed out to the city centre (which was right on the hostel doorstep) to see what we could find. Er, hello Andrew – NewCASTLE! Durrrr there’s an old castle in Newcastle which was cool to see. Can’t think why I hadn’t thought of that.
Then there’s the Millennium Bridge and the Sage Gateshead music centre thingy (which looks like a huge fat glass caterpillar… in a good way). Both looked stunning in the late afternoon sun. (Click on the pictures to make them larger)
After grabbing a bite to eat, we wandered into a very old looking pub. There was a plaque on the wall telling us that it was from the 1700s or some such and, being thoroughly intrigued, we went in. Although slightly dingy, it seemed quite nice. I then spotted a toy TARDIS and a few other geeky bits of memorabilia and a few antiques besides and decided that this place was a definite win.
It was then that we noticed that in the corner at a large table were two people with violins and one with a guitar. In expectation of free music, we sat back with our drinks and waited. Sure enough the trio began to play some Irish folk music, happy lively stuff and it was great. Then another guy with a violin appeared. And another. And then one with a flute. Then one with a penny whistle. Then some more with violins. Then another with a recorder. Then another with some Irish bagpipes. Then another with a banjo (!) then one more with a flute and finally a guy who played the spoons. All in all, they crammed fifteen people in this corner and they blew us away with their music. It was SO MUCH FUN! Epic win. I recorded two videos (sorry about the poor light) to give you an idea of what it was like:
The next day was the final leg of the journey to Edinburgh and we set of bright and early(ish). Before leaving Newcastle we had to stop and see The Angel Of The North, that great monument to remind us just how great the north is and how crummy the south is. If you’ve never seen it, you really should go. It. Is. HUGE.
Then we were off! Our only stop left in England was the tiny town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. That place is pretty pretty! We didn’t get to see all the old town but the little we did see really charmed me. I loved the view from the bridge all the way to Scotland. The bonny land was near!
Coming next: The Travels III – Scotland (the noo)