Today we departed dreary but beautiful Edinburgh and the amazing Norton Hotel & Spa. It was nice to have that extra day anchored in one locale to get organized. The sky remained dark and cloudy throughout our drive to the Scotland/England border.
We stopped in a place called Gretna Green which Peter described as the Las Vegas of Scotland because it is a huge wedding destination. Gretna Green or at least what we saw of it was underwhelming. The stop had a number of gift shops and “toilets” which I think was the real reason we stopped. (side note: what we call “restrooms”, “ladies rooms”, and “bathrooms” in America are simply known as “toilets” here in the UK. I thought for sure, they would call it something very fancy and British sounding like “the loo” but that has not been the case).
We crossed the border into England and the scenery gradually changed and before I knew it, I was in a painting. Lakes and waterfalls, lush rolling hills and cobblestone walls made up the picturesque landscape surrounding our CIE tour bus. We were in a magical national park known as the Lake District.
Peter stopped the bus so that we could gawk at the amazing scenery. Poet William Wordsworth and writer Beatrix Potter are the most renowned historical residents of this spectacular park, which occupies 885 square miles (both have museums dedicated to them in this region).
We stopped for lunch in a small village called Grasmere which is centered in the park. The second half of the drive was more populated with B&Bs, restaurants and pubs and was not nearly as vacant as the first half. I made a mental note that I want to come back here again.
We finally made it to Liverpool where we went to the Beatles museum known as The Beatles Story which is a walk-through that chronicles the career of the Beatles. A self-guided audio device narrates each scene. The scenes are all dated and include everything from a staged airplane setting to a replica of the Cavern Club, the garage bar where the Beatles got their start.
The tour included a voucher to the Cavern Club to see a Beatles cover band but I wasn’t really feeling like loud music in a dive bar… even a historical one. I’d have preferred an overnight stop in Lake District instead of Liverpool but you can’t win them all. The hotel is nice but it has a pre-millennium internet connection which leaves me feeling somewhat crippled.
Tomorrow we are going to Cardiff, Wales. My only familiarity with the city is from the supernatural BBC show Torchwood which featured a lot of outdoor shots of Cardiff. It looks like a beautiful city.