The begining started as well as it could. Twenty Norweigan cheerleaders board the plane and the captain of the team takes the seat next to mine. God sits back and laughs, because of the twenty cheerleaders, the captain is the only male. Welcome to my life.
I arrive in London to find that I can get a rail pass for four days for nearly the same price as a one way ticket to York, so I do since I have a four day layover. The next day I am in Scotland, wondering why I can understand Spanish better than what they call english here. Nonetheless I go ‘hill walking’ and do my best to avoid conversation . That worked well and I even found a nice place to climb. Everything was going well.
Let me explain my sleeping situaion, one room, eight people, and an equal number of bed times. My solution was to down a dose of alcohol before going to bed. Thus I took to Edinburgh to get one beer and return in one piece.
I failed miserably after meeting two Scotsmen who eventually got us kicked out of the bar we found. I didn’t understand a single thing they said that night except ‘one more round’. That night I slept well and found that somethings supersede language.
After staying in Edinburgh, I decided to visit the Lake District in England before returning to London. I got up early and dragged to the train station and tried calling a couple of hostels but never got through so I hopped on a southbound train. I wanted to catch a train from Edinburgh through Carlile, but there was ‘engineering’ going on on that track. I was under the impression that is what train engineers did, but this must have been special.
So I took the same route back down as I did on the way up and stopped back in New Castle. After making $20 in phone calls, I realized that every hostel North of London was booked. Luckily the hostel in Edinburgh had a cancellation and I was able to get a bunk. Retracing my steps left me where I started 8 hours earlier, but at least I wasn’t sleeping on the street.
That night I went out with four of the guys from the hostel and met a pack of Scottish girls right away. Between not understanding what they were saying, their indecision as to which bars to go to, and the fact that they were pretty hammered I steathily ducked out of the pack and wandered the streets alone.
Determined to see the Lake District, I took the train back to New Castle and across to Carlile, with a stop in Hexam, which ended up being my favorite town of the trip. The train malfunctioned, so we were forced to get off and wait for the next one, which gave me a chance to finish Col Mountain.
Once I got to Carlile I was advised to not go my chosen route and instead go to New Castle. By now, I had had my fill of New Castle, but off I went and on to London.
I got to London unscathed but I passed a guy who wasn’t so lucky. I’m not sure what he did, but one second he was reaching for his ‘wallet’ and the next second he was on the floor with two cops on top of him, screaming in pain with his face smashed into the concrete.
I found a hostel includingLondon and it did have a hot tub and sauna on the roof, but most of the people there were tools. I got up at 6 am and hit London Bridge and made it to the airport hours early since London was kind of boring.
I enjoyed seeing Britain, and went away with two impressions of the land I visited. The first was that it had the most polite people I had ever met, and worthy models of a kind, non-abrasive society.
The second impression I left with was with the general quality of life that seemed pleasant. Public transportation was easy and abundant, towns were pretty, clean, and surrounded by beautiful farmland. Lack of city sprawl kept traffic even in urban areas light. What a difference from where I flew out of, mangy Atlanta. We would be wise to look up to the British in this respect.