Saturday, 29 July 2017

Was packed and on my way to the Manchester Piccadilly Station by 11:30. I’m on my way to the Lake District – about 3 hours away by train and bus. I’ll be joining thousands of people from the U.K and other countries who will enjoy the scenic beauty of the lakes and mountains in this region. There isn’t a train line directly to where I’m going so will take a bus to Keswick, one of the popular destination spots in the Lake District.

I get real cautious when making plans that involve two or more modes of transportation. I’d rather go to the airport, fly somewhere, then take a taxi to wherever I’m staying. For this trip, I’ll take a train to a small town, get on a bus, then will ride a taxi the rest of the way. The place where I’m staying is not part of Airbnb or the Hilton chain so keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll find everything in order when I get there.

Paddington Bear – Likes the View (Manchester)

Manchester Piccadilly Track #14

The train ride up was an experience. Given that the train was packed and I stood up for the first 90 minutes and near a couple with two very young children who cried and fussed the whole way. (Yes, the whole way.) Almost a repeat of my train ride up to Manchester yesterday. I now understand why our parents never took us on vacation or to restaurants (including weddings and funerals) until we were older – and I have no regrets.

When the train arrived in Penrith I found the bus stop where I’ll catch a bus to Keswick. Met an older couple who were traveling home and we struck up a conversation while waiting for the bus. I first learned that I was pronouncing Keswick wrong – you say it without the “w” – it is pronounced kes-ick. When we got on the bus, they helped watch my suitcase, which is on rollers, so it didn’t roll away. I love randomly meeting people like this. Like on the way from the train to the bus, I rode in an elevator with a couple (about my age) who had their bicycles and backpacks – they were spending the summer riding around England and happy as can be.

When I arrived in Keswick I was hungry. I immediately saw a hotel restaurant and went in asked if they were still serving lunch – and they were. I started off with a crab and lobster bisque, then cod and mash, and finished with a spice cake with a cream sauce topping. And a pint of beer.

Bisque

Cod and Mash (Mashed Potatoes)

Cake!

The restaurant was kind to call a taxi for me. The driver and I talked about the tourist business as he took me to the hotel. Guess that only January and February are slow months for them her in Keswick. Business picks up in March and remains so until November.

The taxi driver offered to wait for me in case I was not staying in the main building. After I finished registering, he drove me to my building, but it was up to me to find the room. The property looks like two manor homes, each converted to hotel rooms. Each room received a name – I got the “Grisedale Room” – or in this case, rooms: a nice sized bedroom; hallway; bath; living room and kitchen. Very quiet!

The hotel is located in a small village, but more like a hamlet – without a church or grocery. So I walked the mile into Keswick and shopped for groceries there. Picked up mainly items for breakfast since I’ll probably have lunch in Keswick as I’m walking around tomorrow and will have dinner with Csabi (from Hungary and now working in England) who is meeting me here later in the day.

The one mile path between the hotel and Keswick was interesting. Crossing a river on a footbridge, then walking along a pasture with a herd of grazing sheep. The view of the nearby hills was amazing as it became late afternoon.

When I returned to my room, I immediately took a shower to wash away the perspiration from lugging around a large suitcase and from the walk to and from the store. Finished unpacking and got hooked up to the WiFi.  Then took a nap.

It is nearly midnight and I haven’t heard a sound from my neighbors. Think I’ll like it here! I’m staying here until Tuesday, but still not 100% sure where I’m going next. Maybe the Isle of Man or just fly back to Dublin and start my road trip around the island.

 

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