Cambridge, England

Cambridge Rain
By the time we arrived in Cambridge, England, we had been touring throughout Europe and the British Isles for almost six months. We were not very active tourists, but looking forward to relaxing on the boat back to Florida. Getting on the boat where all the important decisions are made for you and there would be a nice exercise room sounded very appealing.  It rained most of the time we were in Cambridge. It certainly seems like it would have been a nice but challenging university town to get a college education.
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York, England

York Minster Cathedral

The prominent attraction and landmark in York, England is York Minster Cathedral.  Our landlord was kind enough to escort us to hear the choir sing one evening.   While we had already been to many churches in Europe and Great Britain, we realize each church is unique if you take the time to learn about them.  For example, it is easy to gaze upon a huge stained glass window, think it is beautiful and move on, not seeing anything special or unusual.  In one window of York Minister, there was a surprising amount of humor.  For example, one pane depicted a wife twisting the ear of her husband who was on his knees.
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The Lake District, Keswick, England

Derwentwater Shores

The Lake District is a favorite destination where the avid hikers of England go on holiday.  VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) properties for us to rent were scarce in this area so we stayed at a B&B.  Each morning the hosts would ask where we hiked the prior day and we did not have a good reply.  We explored nearby towns and went to a local sheep dog fair (see September 21, 2014 post), but hiking just to hike was not on our agenda. While I was taking the above photo on a chilly morning, several groups of women wearing wet suits waded into Lake Derwentwater and swam across for exercise.  While one may not be able to find a more beautiful place for a morning exercise routine, swimming in this cold lake had not even occurred to me….  This swimming also introduced additional waves for my reflection photos.
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Sheep Dogs in the British Isles

dog-herding-20140921-_ALL5843

Sheep are a major part of the economy throughout the British Isles.  Mile after mile of thick, sturdy and ancient rock walls attempt to contain the sheep in pastures, but inevitably they get out onto the roads.  Since more than one sheep owner might use the same pasture, the sheep are spray painted with bright colors and designs to designate the rightful owner.  Sheep dogs are an important part of any sheep raising operation.  While in the Lake District of England we went to what we would call a county fair and watched all matters involving sheep.  There were prizes awarded for the best made sheep staff or ‘crook’, sheep herding contests with sheep dogs taking whistled commands from their owners and sheep shearing demonstrations.
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Inverness, Scotland

Loch Ness

Our most northern stop in the UK was Inverness, Scotland.  There was nothing specific from a photographic or tourism viewpoint that brought us here.  We used Inverness as a base to drive even further north into the Highlands and dine in the town of Tongue.  Of course we also wanted to explore Loch Ness as another one of those tourist ‘must-see’ places.  The above photo was taken from a lunch spot we discovered on the much less touristy east side of Loch Ness.  On the west side, restaurants seem to be around every curve in the road, but on this side, we were just about to give up on finding any restaurant when we found a real gem with the view above.
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The Cliffs of Moher… and More and More People….

Cliffs-of-MoherCliffs-of-Moher-20140823-_ALL3866No matter how interesting the local attraction, I dislike being herded into areas with 22 large motor coaches and tour groups of all nationalities, holding group tour flags to keep everyone together.  Tourists take endless selfies, posing in front of yet another scene with arms stretched out and trying for an impossible glamour shot.  Generally these places are closed before the good evening light and are not yet open for the nice morning light.  Herd the tourists in, collect their entrance fee and off they go to the next tourist trap, likely never really experiencing the location.  The nearby town of Liscannor is a complete traffic jam of people buying and hocking touristy items, searching for a restaurant, or just trying to find a spot to park.
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Chipping Campdon, England (the Cotswalds)

Row Houses

There is not a single new looking building in this quaint old town that has managed to retain loads of charm and avoid all forms of commercialism.  Closer inspection will reveal that many of the homes are recently built, but are of a similar quarried yellow stone so they all fit into this old town feel.  They may be adjacent to an authentic thatched roof home dating back hundreds of years.
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Salisbury, England

Salisbury Baptismal FontThere are two main attractions to see in this area, Stonehenge and the 750 year old Salisbury Cathedral.  The best Indian food we have ever had at the Shah Jahan and the friendly owners at the Old Ale House were added bonuses.  It surprised me that Stonehenge is a site that is totally visible from the main road.   Other visitors at Stonehenge told of how they were able to simply drive up in recent years and walk in.  No more.  Now there is an admission fee, buses which take you to the site and the obligatory gift shop.

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