Britain 2014 Snapshot

Best experience:

The London Marathon – An uplifting few hours to cheer others, with a selfish motive since I love to run.

Climbing Mt.Snowdon – Purely egotistical reasons!

Worst experience:

A boring Sunday morning waiting for the afternoon train in Conwy.

Wished I had spent more time in:

Edinburgh. It would have been nice to visit Bannockburn and Stirling, the seats of the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Bath. It would have been nice to visit Avebury.

Wished I had spent less time in:

No place.

What would I have planned differently?

More day trips from the long stop at London. I still have no idea how that time just whizzed by.

Stayed in more youth hostels. I stayed in four, but now I think I could have stayed in more.

Cutest town:

Keswick – At the head of Derwentwater Lake in the incredibly serene Lake District, this little place has it all. A ton of walks, stunning lake and fell views and a charming town center choc-a-bloc with local stores, markets and yummy cafes. Muah!

Most forgettable town:

Cardiff. Sure, it is a resurrected town and I give it due credit for that, but it either didn’t have a story to tell or didn’t tell it well (I’m pretty sure it is the latter).

Favourite ruined castle:
Beaumaris Castle, North Wales – for its pretty surroundings

Favourite ruined abbey:
Tintern Abbey, South Wales – well preserved and unrestricted access, which was spooky

Favourite palace:
None, seen just one from the inside

Favourite cathedral:
Salisbury Cathedral, closely followed by Westminster Abbey

Favourite high-rise views:
St.Paul’s Cathedral, London – atop the dome

Favourite market:
Borough Market, London

Favourite book-shop:
Oh no, this I can’t pick a fave.

Discoveries:

There are a lot of older folk who travel a lot. It can’t be that I hung out only in places they visit, there were so many that that makes me think they really have spunk and enthusiasm to get out there. Especially in Keswick – in rain jackets and with their backpacks and hiking poles. It made me think a lot about them. Still thinking.

Scotland and England proudly wear their history on their sleeves. They tell their stories with zeal, even of their defeats. Wales, not so much.

Every town, without exception, has a World War memorial surrounded by wreaths of red poppies, the only flower that grew on the WW-I battlefields. As post-war children, it’s hard for us to realize the death and destruction caused unless we dig deep. And this is a start.

New stuff that I tried:

Modern art at Tate Modern, London – I went here twice, trying to learn about modern art. The one thing I noticed was that older art says more in the picture than in the description while modern art says something in the picture but so much more in the description that it is hard to understand a modern art piece without reading in detail what the artist wants to convey. It feels more like an exercise in creative writing. I tried, but I still don’t get modern art.

Hiking – I have never hiked alone. That changed on this trip and I am mighty glad it did. At least busy, six hour trails, if not more.

Eating alone – I still can’t eat alone at dinner! I tried once with my James Bond book for company, but I was longing to be back in my room with takeaway and TV, just like I did at home.

Would I do it again?

A clear, resounding hell, yeah!

Where do I want to go next?

Someplace where I don’t know the language.

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