Contemplating (mostly about how expensive buses were)

Around the UK in 8 Days

Durham loses marks for ditching the National Rail symbol

Durham loses marks for ditching the National Rail symbol

For the second week of our trip, we embarked on Dom’s Complete Railway Tour of the UK (Abridged) using our magical BritRail passes, which grant non-residents an unlimited ride on trains across the country. It does feel like a scheme set up in the glory days of British Rail and then buried under a carpet, as the passes you get haven’t been updated in almost 20 years, but weirdly the merest glimpse of one is enough for a ticket inspector to decide not to bother investigating any further. And so, thus armed, we set off for our first destination. (It’s worth noting that our B&B in Bury St Edmunds was several centuries older than the country I’m writing this from.)

I'm starting to doubt the town is making much progress on the Abbey

I’m starting to doubt the town is making much progress on the Abbey

Randi and Kuzco

Randi and Kuzco

Most photos of us in Cambridge feature rain and ponchos

Most photos of us in Cambridge feature rain and ponchos

Our next stop was a rather wet and windy Cambridge: partly for the history, partly so I could pop into the bookshop. After a day of sightseeing and sheltering, we were joined in The Eagle by Mandler and Calaresu – two of my supervisors from uni – who were kind enough to make time for a drink and some catching up. This also proved to be Randi’s opportunity to try fish pie, which she took up with relish.

(Deviation: I do wish ordering at the bar was more of a thing in the US.)

EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED at Caius. No, wait. Nothing has changed.

EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED at Caius. No, wait. Nothing has changed.

"Our sprinkles are different to your sprinkles"

“Our sprinkles are different to your sprinkles”

Heading up north, we impulsively changed trains for Scarborough – which I’ve never been to before – and spent an afternoon at the seaside. There’s not a huge amount to write about Scarborough – and at one point I may have been over-ambitious in my expectations of the cliff lift “tramway” – but it was very nice to stroll along the beach and see the castle from a distance.

Who needs California?

Who needs California?

ConSoc would be proud

ConSoc would be proud

Our best B&B was in Durham, because we were hosted by none other than Katie “I live here” Self! The three of us had a great time together touring the city, while also finding time to stuff ourselves with a pretty representative sample of my British food longings: Indian curries, English breakfasts, jacket potatoes and lots and lots of biscuits. It’s not about food being fancy, guys, it’s just about food being great.

Everything looked particularly beautiful here

Everything looked particularly beautiful here

For comparison, here we are in 2010

For comparison, here we are in 2010

Talking of great: bowing to Randi’s repeated requests to see Edinburgh, we headed there next and were equally blown away by how beautiful the city is. Along with the castle, I ticked off a couple of things I didn’t manage last time, including a fantastic walking tour and a hike up Arthur’s Seat.

And of course, I checked back in with my old friend David Hume.

Seems like only one of us is getting older

Seems like only one of us is getting older

Pretty stunning

Pretty stunning

At the summit

At the summit

Finally, we headed to Windermere in the Lake District, which was a perfect place to walk and relax at the end of the holiday. There were sheep. There were cows. There was a bus which cost £4.20 per-person. Most importantly, though, there were stars at night – and it’s been a while since I’ve been in proper darkness, able to lie down and look up at the milky way.

Sheeeeeep!

Sheeeeeep!

Contemplating (mostly about how expensive buses were)

Contemplating (mostly about how expensive buses were)

So, that’s it: a condensed account of a whistlestop tour, which hopefully did a good job at selling the country to an American. The tourist board can thank me later.

Katie Sharing, Randi Lawrence liked this post

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Around the UK in 8 Days

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