Monday, May 20, 2019

Paris, 2018

Chercher Our Paris

In October we spent eight days in Paris. We have seen a lot of movies and read a lot of books (including non-fiction) about or set in that city. It was Molly's first trip there. We were looking forward to The City of Light and Love. 

We were not alone.

The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that over 40 million people visited Paris in 2017 and that more were expected in 2018 (apparently they’re still counting the 2018 people). This probably explains why, whenever we approached one of The Top Ten Sights of Paris we felt as though we were being sucked into a large tour vortex. We were.

Paris has charm and romance -- we experienced both -- but it is a big, busy city hosting Disneyland numbers of visitors, each with an individual travel vision, stamina limit and sense of personal space. We (eventually) learned that if we gave ourselves enough down time, we could enjoy Paris. But it took more down time than in other places we have been.

The Paris We Were Looking For --
An Afternoon In The Park With Friends

London to Paris

We traveled from London to Paris on the Eurostar train which was very comfortable. Boarding in London was very organized and our time under the Channel was not as claustro-creepy as we had worried it might feel. It's not even as creepy as taking BART under The Bay.

But do equip yourself with Euros before trying to use the toilets upon arrival in Paris. At the  train station: no Euro, no pee. No credit.

Our Pied a Terre 

Further (to our last post) on the topic of Weird Apartments In Major World Capitals: 

The Street Door to Chez Nous on Rue St. Denis

The key to our (European) first floor apartment was left for us in a grubby lock box attached to a water pipe a block from the entrance to the apartment building. The rental manager's instructions cautioned us to keep an eye out for anyone watching as we entered the lock box code. We expected Simenon's Inspector Maigret to grab us by the collar and take us in for questioning at any moment  . . .

Rue St. Denis is an unofficial mixed enterprize zone. By day it is a bustling garment district.

Boxes of Fashion 

Starting mid-morning and throughout the day and evening one can see evidence of Love for Sale. One woman spent every afternoon lounging against a Vespa parked on the sidewalk, looking very Irma la Douce, though the fact that we saw her frequently suggested she wasn't operating a financially successful enterprise. We wondered if she needed a French scooter – ? We couldn’t bring ourselves to take her picture.

Nearby was one of Paris' four triumphal arches - Porte Saint Denis. We assume if de Gaulle or Hitler had used this arch, we would have been priced out of the neighborhood.

Porte Saint Denis And Environs

A Couple Of Museums

One of The Top Ten Sights in Paris is, of course, the Louvre. We were lucky to share our visit with San Francisco friends Christina and Martin, frequent travelers to Paris who are familiar with the ins and outs of the Louvre. This was helpful because the Louvre is huge, confusing, and really, really crowded (sorry to harp on this point but – that’s what we experienced).

Finding Christina and Martin
(Not In Red and White Stripes)

Our friends’ crowd survival advice was to avoid the Louvre's Greatest Hits, which is what most visitors are intent on seeing and all tour groups gather around. Excellent advice for one’s second trip. As first time visitors, we couldn’t bring ourselves to completely avoid them.

Some are on the way from here to there:

The greatest of the Greatest Hits is, of course, a little thing: The Mona Lisa.

Yep - That's What We Saw*

* In our prior post we acknowledged that our museum photos cannot compete with travel photos taken by professionals and posted on the Internet. However we think this one is actually better than many of the "huge-crowds-in-front-of-the-Mona-Lisa" shots we have seen.

Once we gave up on seeing HER (as Christina referred to da Vinci’s famous painting) and accepted having no more than a passing glance at the other Greatest Hits (well, we couldn’t pass on the Egyptian exhibit) . . .

Jeeves! (Stephen Fry) --
Don'tcha Think?

. . . we had a more enjoyable day.

We destressed by taking a couple of coffee/water sits and pausing for a nice lunch with a glass of wine at the Café Richelieu-Angelina inside the museum. Surprisingly good and not shockingly expensive for a major museum meal. Though one can go to the Louvre Starbucks. We kid you not.

The Islamic Art Collection was uncrowded - perhaps because the museum's Internet site had said it would be closed for the day. 

We participated in Christina’s mission to see the ginormous Peter Paul Rubens’ paintings commissioned by Marie de Medici. (Christina was preparing a talk on Rubens.) Judging by the few people viewing Marie’s vanity pieces, we are not alone in our lack of enthusiasm for Rubens. But we did enjoy the information Christina provided on the paintings, the painter and Marie de Medici. Look Marie up – she was what Molly’s Oklahoma and Texas relatives would call “quite a gal”. FYI, that's not always a good thing.

[Travel Tip: Our friends’ third best piece of Louvre advice was to buy a timed-entry ticket in advance to avoid the entrance line. This can be done via the Internet before traveling. The second best advice -- Lunch With Wine.]

Our other Paris museum experience was wonderful. The Musee du Quai Branly is home to some of the best pieces of Indigenous Mexican Art we have seen anywhere. On the morning we visited the only "tour group" on site was a group of French school children. 

The Branly also offers a surprisingly good museum meal. With view.

Molly, Sun, Map and Tower

Yes, we repeat ourselves re: museum food in Paris. Background: We purchased a $10 hotdog for a nephew at the San Francisco Natural History Museum more than a decade ago. Just a hotdog. $10. A decade ago. You have been warned.

Other Top Ten Sights

As noted, this was Molly’s first trip to Paris, so we endeavored to see many of The Top Ten Sights.  

We toured Notre Dame which proved timely.

Pre-Fire / From The Seine

The Obligatory Rose Window Shot

The Crown of Thorns Which, Amazingly
Ended Up In Paris . . .  !

St. Joan / Maid of Orleans
A Classic Example Of The Church And Politics
(Burned As Heritic: 1431; Cannonized: 1920) 

We walked through the Pantheon. The replica of Foucault’s Pendulum was not operating – though we don’t think it was because the earth wasn’t rotating. 

Bryce - Observing

The L’Arc de Triomphe was a walk-around.

And by then we were feeling crowded out. The Eiffel Tower had intimidatingly long lines and expensive tickets so we viewed it from the Seine.

But one of The Top Ten Sights did provide a favorite day. We spent an afternoon at the Luxembourg Gardens, where we enjoyed watching the little, wooden rent-a-sailboats.

Launched By Push Power, Drifting In The Breeze
Oh, And The Luxembourg Palace (Location of The French Senate)

The Luxembourg Gardens were created for Marie de Medici. Again, a recommendation to look her up: She was so manipulative that her son had her exiled. Christmas dinner - awkward. 

Sights Eleven And . . .

In keeping with our friends’ suggestion to avoid crowds by avoiding tourist attractors, we spent an afternoon in the Arsenal Marina area. As one disappointed Google reviewer said: “A bunch of boats”. 

And the problem with that would be . . . ?

We had a nice stroll.

Theatre wasn’t really on for us, given the sad state of our French. But we arranged for a night at the Orchestre de Paris which performs at the new Philharmonie de Paris – part of a large complex of performing art spaces on the north-eastern edge of Paris. The Philharmonie looks like a silver lame costume abandoned on a dressing room floor, and its interior like the inside of a burnished spacepod. It was a wonderful evening musically and socially -- one of our few opportunities to interact with / observe Parisians not employed in the tourist sector (or at least not engaged in tourist sector employment that evening). We also had a passable meal at a Lebanese restaurant near the Philharmonie.

One day we went shopping. We wandered through Au Printemps, bought a gift and had an expensive and okay lunch on the roof where we thought we had found the worst waiter in Paris.

Nearby, at the spectacularly over-the-top Galaries Lafayette we took pictures, inside and from the observation roof:

View From The Coffee Bar:
We Had Plenty Of Time To Take Pictures

A View From The Top

and found the truly worst waiter in Paris. The more she smiled the less she remembered about our coffee order until, exuding joie de vivre - she wandered off and forgot us completely.


Other than our good museum experiences and awful department store experiences, we found the tourist restaurants and cafés of Paris to be - just fine, thanks. The chance of serendipitously wandering into a charming little café with excellent food and memorably wonderful wine? Based on our eight day test wander: Very Low. Likely our bad for trusting in serendipity in neighborhoods too close to The Top Ten Sights. 

In general, we found the whole sitting in an outdoor café thing disappointing. The tables are squished together to maximize occupancy -- so squished that we pined for the relative comforts of Portuguese and Spanish outdoor cafés. And the cliché that outdoor cafés are full of smokers? Not a cliché. 

Happily, our overall experience (even factoring in our two awful department store waiters) skewed counter to the cliché that waiters and store employees in Paris are rude to tourists and, particularly, non-French speaking tourists. We mostly had pleasant (even if very business-like) interactions with hard-working people who seemed to be trying to survive the tourist hoards by exercising a wry sense of humor. And our collective French is abysmal.

We still wonder from time to time how the two women who ran the restaurant outside of Notre Dame fared during the fire. Damages to national treasures are sad . . . but we fear they may not have had business interruption insurance. Or billionaire friends.

The Café We Worry About Was Near . . . 

We sought out two restaurants, a seafood restaurant near our apartment based on a personal recommendation (thanks Martin and Christina!) and a breakfast restaurant highly rated on the Internet. We returned to the seafood restaurant, despite having had uncharacteristically incompetent service on our first visit, because the mussels were terrific. The breakfast restaurant reminded us of a place we liked in Santa Monica. The New Paris (it’s a thing) seems to be a lot like Last Year’s California or Brooklyn.

The take-home food near our apartment was disappointing until we found Rue Montorguiel. Our faith in the legend of French cuisine was somewhat restored once we happened upon this street of food stores. Two lovely, tiny roast chickens, some salads, fruit, cheese and bread made for a couple of very nice dinners “at home”. And though it was fun to “find” Rue Montorguiel by just wandering, we could have dined much better much sooner had we done a more efficient Internet search. [Travel Tip: A Google search for “food store near me” will find the nearest Monoprix (France’s Safeway). For something better and more charming, search for “market streets” and use Google Maps to find the nearest Rue Montorguiel type food shopping experience.]

Getting Around

Our apartment was located near a Metro station so we used Le Metro frequently. It was efficient and a couple of the stations smelled vaguely like a urinoir -- another cliché not a cliché!  [Travel Tip: Consider if it is worthwhile to buy a travel card for Le Metro. We found the stacks of little paper tickets an invitation to disaster (dropping them, loosing them, trying to re-use a used one . . . ugh).]

Our favorite, not highly efficient, transportation method was the Batobus (not our misspelling, a French play-on-spelling) – a nautical hop-on-hop-off service that plies a circular route on the Seine. The Batobus doesn’t include the often off-sync audio tour provided on the tourist buses which, for us, was a bonus. We bought a two day ticket and enjoyed the river-view of many of The Top Ten Sights (see above) and other landmarks.

Pont Alexandre III

Bryce's Favorite River Bateau --
He Has A Small Place In His Heart . . . 

And, So:

That’s Our Paris. Our trip wasn’t an unqualified success but then -- we are going back this September! We have rented a larger apartment in a more residential neighborhood -- with a view! We are researching some things to see and do which we hope will not have made it onto any large tour list of The Top Ten Sights. Add in some good take-out food and some neighborhood restaurants and cafés -- well, check in to see how that works out for us. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Rest Of Our Off-Boat English Adventure, 2018

We were away from Abracadabra for five months in 2018 (June – October). Five months is a lot for one blog post -- particularly because concise summary (a) is not a Team Arnold/Andrews core competency and (b) can be really, really dry and boring. So here is a post about our other-than-Hadrian's Wall Path walk time in England. Two weeks and a wee bit. With pictures.

Windermere in England's Lake District
High On The Charm Scale

At the end of this post we have included a here’s-where-we-went-and-what-we-did-there list for the majority of the rest of our five-months away from Abracadabra. This summary will be helpful for our aging memories and may be easily ignored by anyone who finds it really, really dry and boring. You’re welcome.


This is out of chronological order, but Bryce has decided that London is now his favorite city in the world (sorry Rome . . . ) and as Team Arnold/Andrews' Chief Financial Officer has allocated the entire amount of our vast future theoretical lottery winnings to the purchase of a flat in London.  So, we start there.

               Walking Around

We rented an apartment in Camden Town and learned that we are either too old or don’t drink enough (or both) for Camden Town at night. We will not invest our lottery winnings there. But it’s worth a walk-through during the day.

Camden Town

Don't Actually Recall What Was Sold In This Store - ?

Less Artistic,
But A More Effective Advertisement

We thought even more charming walking areas were Little Venice and the Regent’s Canal.  

Canal Neighbors

And You Think Your Marina Is Crowded?

Passing Canal Tours - We Walked Instead

The Canal & River Trust has managed to make many of London’s canal towpaths walking and bicycling friendly. There are guided walks, maps for self-guided walkers/bicycle riders or one can just wander around and enjoy the scenery as we did. Unfortunately we found the Puppet Theater Barge was dark. 

When the weather’s good, London’s many parks offer great people watching and picnicking. We walked through Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill (another potential site to invest our lottery winnings) and on another day provisioned a picnic from Harrods’ Food Hall (how touristy is that?) which we ate in Hyde Park.

An "Easy Does It' Rose

A Speaker's Corner Speaker:
Most We Heard Were Sharing Religious Beliefs
(We Were Hoping For Brexit Views)

Horseback Riding in Hyde Park

Lunch Juggling
(They Rent Chairs - But Not Tables!)

               Otherwise Getting Around

We purchased Oyster Travelcards (refillable pay-as-you-go plastic transit card) and primarily traveled by Tube. The subway system is old but efficient and got us everywhere we wanted to go (or close). This was how we learned to travel on our last trip to London in 2017. But on this trip we also explored the bus system where the Oyster Travelcards worked as well. We learned a couple of routes and used them as an inexpensive hop-on-hop-off bus -- double decker and all. Okay, it's a lot more confusing than the tourist bus and doesn't include tour information -- but then it doesn't have mistimed tour information either! We enjoyed putting the city into above-ground perspective and felt very clever whenever we ended up where we were trying to go (or close).

Travel Tip: We purchased one-day Oyster Travelcards and just topped them up using a credit card whenever we ran out of transit credit. That gave us flexibility to use public transit only when we wanted to (vs. say, buying a 3-day pass or 6-day pass, etc.). Don't forget that the initial cost of an Oyster Travelcard and up to 10 pounds of money remaining loaded on the card is refundable at most tube stations. See the London Travel Pass website.


Museum fatigue, both mental and physical, is a serious danger in London. But the National Gallery is definitely worth a day. 

Mr. and Mrs. Andrews (Not Us)
(Gainsborough -- National Gallery)

An aside about museum pictures: We get that the Internet is home to countless pictures of museum treasures which are better than any we can take. We also get that the Selfie Generation believes a travel picture without a leaping, hand signing or mugging human is a waste of digital space. But still -- we take pictures of things that strike our fancy and feel no need to jump, sign or mug in front of them. 

Here are a few we took at the British Museum:

Close-up Of A Maya Royal
Performing His Blood-Letting Duty

19th Century Aleut Coat and Cap Made From Sea
Mammal Intestines. The Design
Is Based On A Russian Military Coat and Cap.
(Artists Will Use What Is Available) 

Haida Totem Detail 

Only Known Writing By A Roman Woman In Britain -
A Birthday Party Invitation Found at Vindolanda
At Vindolanda We Saw A Copy

Travel Tip: The museums in London were crowded. But our trip to the Louvre adjusted our definition of crowded. Enjoy the relative calm of the London museums.

Rosetta Stone and Fans

               Theater and Music

Going To The Theater is Molly’s number one reason to love London. This trip we saw:

  • Wicked – classic West End Big Musical. Unfortunately, for the price: Meh. Not improved by the kid who managed to drown out Glenda The Belting Witch (a coup!) by crumpling junk food packages behind our heads.
  • Exit the King -- a National Theater production. Well paced, well acted and excitingly staged but theater of the absurd sure feels old school. Deep Meaning Summary: This wackiness is to show that even powerful and wealthy humans are afraid of and avoid acknowledging the inevitability of death. Ahhhh – really?
  • The Humans – a visiting New York production at the Hampstead Theater. We had read the play was sold out but one rainy morning we stopped in to see if there was a chance of buying returned tickets for the matinee. Jackpot. Depressing as hell, but flawlessly acted and directed. May your family Thanksgiving dinners never be so bad.

We Did Not Visit The New Harry Potter Production --
This Picture Was Taken For A Potter-Fan Niece

Bryce’s favorite cultural outing is a live music performance. At Wigmore Hall we heard students and instructors from the annual International Musician’s Seminar which had recently concluded at Prussia Cove in Cornwall (IMS – Prussia Cove). The performers’ post-master class energy was wonderful and Wigmore Hall helped us appreciate what knowledgeable people mean when they say a performance space has good acoustics. [Bryce's family tree includes Wigmores but we did not get a family discount.]

We also attended Choral Evensong at Saint Martin In The Fields, which was a lovely way to wind down after a busy day of touristing. Fortunately the clergy anticipated tourists among the congregants and we were given ample instruction on when to sit and stand.


We accepted the obvious . . . quirks . . . of our vacation rental in Camden Town: tiny windows unlike the lovely full-length windows in the booking site photos; cabinet doors sagging on hinges; and the improperly balanced clothes washer with a dangerous sounding spin cycle (the people below us were probably less accepting of that). But when, on night two, the upstairs neighbors’ shower dripped through our bathroom ceiling, we complained. The property manager promised a fix and indeed the bathroom ceiling was completely repainted when we got home on night three. Sadly, about midnight, it became clear the leak had not been fixed – only rerouted. A late-night shower upstairs sent water dripping along the wall behind our bed. We pulled the bed away from the wall and spent the night tossing, turning and wondering how to get our money back when we left to find another apartment.

But the story has a happy ending: very quickly and pleasantly arranged for an apartment in Belsize Park at no additional cost to us. Belsize Park is a very attractive and quiet area and, though the apartment had a few stylistic quirks (an after-thought loft with several twin beds shoved together – we could have sublet space to a family of five!) it was clean, everything worked, the ceiling didn’t leak and the bed was comfortable enough. We may spend our lottery winnings in Belsize Park. Until then, we will be renting through!

Northern England

               Lake District

Our first stop in England was Manchester which has a super easy train connection to Windermere in the Lake District. We were off our flight from Toronto, onto the train, and into our Windermere hotel in a little over three hours – including time for a coffee, an ATM visit and the purchase of European SIM cards for our phones. Logistics Officer Andrews felt very clever about this.

 Out Of The Night - YYZ to MAN

We had read that Windermere is in the “busy” part of the Lake District but chose it because we weren’t planning to engage in much tourist activity there. Our plan was to find a place to spend three nights recovering from jet lag before we began our Hadrian’s Wall Path walk. But it turns out that because the flight from Toronto was only five hours, we had very little jet lag. Brilliant (as they say in England)!

A Charming Photo Stop With Tourists

One day we purchased combined boat / walking tickets to circumnavigate Lake Windermere. We were told that the lake is the largest natural lake in England. It’s size (5.6 square miles) won’t impress anyone familiar with, say, Lake Ontario or Lake Tahoe, but it certainly makes it easier to walk a sizeable portion of the length of the lake. 

Lake Windermere Transport

We enjoyed our walk, even if it was a bit soggy.

Bryce Scouting For Robin Hood's Men

We passed on a tour of the Wray Castle – a home built in the 19th Century by a wealthy physician with pretentious taste which was somehow connected to Beatrix Potter.

"Castle" Boat House And Walker Arnold

An Abracadabra connection: This “castle” was used in an episode of PBS’s Poirot which we happened to see just the other evening. It was fun to say – from our boat in Panama -- hey, look, it’s the castle! Thanks to the crew of Cinnamon Teal, our source for Poirot DVDs.

Hercule Poirot Sleuthed Here

We did not see any of the area’s well publicized Beatrix Potter sights even though we have pleasant (though vague) memories of Peter Rabbit. The maritime museum at Bowness that we were looking forward to visiting was closed (since 2004, apparently – we must do a better job researching these short stops!). But we did find a place in Bowness for post-walk soup and a whiskey.

We eventually walked through the Roman fort ruins on the edge of Windermere – after going to the site a couple of times to find it occupied by a local cow gang. There were several signs warning tourists about the dangers of approaching cows too closely. When they were in residence we only looked on from afar.

Roman Fort Guarded By Vicious Cows

We didn’t bother with a rental car, but if we return for a longer period we might accept the challenge of driving on The Wrong Side in order to visit the less touristy part of the Lake District. Not sure if we will make it to the Beatrix Potter sites, even then.

From Windermere we took the train to Carlisle to begin our Hadrian's Wall Path walk. We have heard many complaints about the British Rail system but so far we are fans. At least they have a rail system in Britain! 

                Newcastle Upon Tyne

Following our Hadrian’s Wall Path walk we spent a day in Newcastle Upon Tyne and were much more impressed with the city as a tourist destination than we had expected.

Newcastle's Castle

The banks of the Tyne are a wonderful place to walk and the bridges are impressive – particularly the Gateshead Millennium Bridge (aka “the Blinking Eye”). 

The Tyne - Millennium Bridge To Far Left
(The Bridge Is Raised Up To Let Ships Pass)  

Detail Shot Of The "Blinking" Mechanism -
Though It Rarely Puts On A Show, We Were Told

We toured Newcastle Castle which, as a castle, wasn’t much for very long (in castle years). The stone keep was begun in the last half of the 12th Century, additional buildings were added over the next hundred years, but by Elizabeth 1's reign (some 400 years later) it was referred to as "old and ruinous". By then it was primarily leased for storage, taverns, small shops and otherwise occupied by squatters. The local government had no jurisdiction over the property and it was ignored by its royal landlords and generally sat, festering at the heart of the city. Money - in the form of the new railroads - arrived in the middle of the Industrial Revolution and the castle was mostly demolished. Renovations were undertaken in the early 21st Century using that well-known government financing mechanism: lottery funds! The exhibits at the castle are worth a visit particularly if you are interested in musing about how it has been difficult for various levels of government to work together for a long, long time.  

By serendipity, on our way to catch our bus back to Heddon-On-The-Wall we wandered through the Central Arcade, an Eduardian shopping mall, which is home to some fabulous tile work.

The Central Arcade

Tile Detail
And Another

One day is all we allotted to Newcastle. Our take-away? Don't be afraid to spend a day or even two in Newcastle. [Travel Tip: Bring a snack; our Thai lunch was a mistake. Perhaps this should not have been a surprise.] 

               Scarborough and Whitby

Anticipating that we would be tired after our Hadrian’s Wall Path walk we had tried to arrange a short stay in the charming seaside village of Whitby to relax before traveling on to London. Whitby was full.

So we got an apartment at Scarborough, a nearby seaside town which one friendly Heddon-On-The-Wall taxi driver referred to as a “kiss me quick” resort. Sadly we failed to clarify his interpretation of that phrase, but it seems to mean a not exactly up-scale, working class seaside resort. Which is exactly what Scarborough is.

Arcades and Chip Shops

A Fun Fair - Closed

In Case You Are Interested In Hiring A Fun Fair Operator,
The Richmonds Are Members Of The Showman's Guild

On our wander of the arcade/closed fun fair area we came across a RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) life saving station that was open for touring. The RNLI is a charitable organization that performs maritime life-saving functions for the U.K. and Republic of Ireland. The U.K. and Ireland have no U.S. Coast Guard equivalent. The RNLI is impressively equipped. 

How To Launch A Rescue Vessel In An
Area With A Huge Tidal Range? Cat Tracks. 

The organization also provides educational services, flood rescue services and lifeguards at beaches. If you are sailing in U.K or Irish waters you might want to learn more about the RNLI or even donate to them. See:

We spent quite a bit of our time hanging out at our lovely apartment in the North Bay area of Scarborough which is slightly less "kiss me quick" than the South Bay (where the fun fair / arcade area is located). We enjoyed our few days of being Scarborough residents, though we wouldn't suggest anyone go there for the food. Even the pubs and the Indian restaurants – meh.

The North Bay: Our Apartment Was In One Of The
Small Residential Hotels To The Left

We visited Anne Bronte’s grave, though we had to look her up on Wikipedia to find out what 
she wrote. We bought tea and cookies from the nice ladies operating a fundraising tea shop at St. Mary's Church.

St. Mary's Church

We also visited our initial destination – Whitby. We took the public bus to Whitby and learned a lot about what several locals thought of Brexit (in favor) and about Londoners (not much). In Whitby we ate good fish and okay chips and, thus fortified, joined the parade of tourists trekking up the 199 Steps to Whitby Abbey.

We Took The 199 Count On Faith

We avoided the Dracula related tours (the Abbey ruins apparently feature in the story) and rented the audio guide which focused on the pre-Stoker history of the Abbey. E.g.: The Abbey was founded by a woman (Hilde, in 627) as a religious community for both monks and nuns. The history of the abbey is very interesting; see: English Heritage SiteIt is a beautiful place to visit and a pleasant day. 

The Abbey (Ruins)

Travel Tip: English Heritage offers a short-term membership for tourists which can be a great savings and, even more important for us, an incentive to visit a lot of places we might not otherwise have made time for because, well, we didn't have to pay an entrance fee!  We bought a membership at our first English Heritage site (we don't think it can be purchased in advance).

               In sum, 

That’s what we saw and did in Northern England. This visit and our walk along Hadrian’s Wall Path gave us a good sense of the area – enough to know that it would be worth returning.  Maybe we will see you there?

Next Post: Paris. Until then:

Our High-Speed Summary of The Rest of Our Five Months (Except Paris, Which Gets Its Own Post Because, Well, It's Paris)

In more-or-less consecutive order:
  • Sacramento / eight weeks +/- catching up with friends; house-sitting – lucky us!; taking care of, fortunately, routine medical stuff; checking in on our house and tenant family; walking in local parks; and taking water aerobics at a city pool.
  • Tahoe/ Donner / two +/- weeks in a VRBO off-season ski condo walking ski trails; visiting with friends (locals and visitors); and learning some Donner Family history lessons (one: money not only can’t buy happiness, sometimes it can’t even buy food!). 
  • SoCal / a few days visiting Our Brothers and  Bravo the dog. 
  • Washington State three weeks on a driving tour to enjoy friends and fabulous water views in Edmonds, Port Townsend and Anacortes; see friends in their new home in Lacey; endure shocking Seattle traffic; eat lots of salmon (yum); tour marinas and discuss (etc etc etc) whether Abracadabra could be happy there.
  • British Colombia, Canada / a week and a bit visiting cruising friends we last saw in Mexico; sharing a lovely vacation rental in Peachland with friends from Spokane before being forced back to Washington by BC forest-fire smoke (hack!); and having more long talks about whether Abracadabra could be happy in The North.
  • Ontario, Canada / a week with family and friends, taking lovely village walks and a quick dip in Jack Lake.

Bob Explaining Life To Bryce In Peachland

Forest Fire Effects In Peachland
Down Right Creepy