"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Haunting windows of UK itinerary discoveries

The Benedictine abbey, destroyed when the Protestants revolted.
We worked almost a year on putting together an itinerary for the trip to England and Scotland.
Susan did most of the work, using travel books, and then we turned to Vickie Nichols of Nichols Travel for more help.
We made some of the arrangements ourselves, including a stay in Cambridge, and bed in breakfasts in York and Keswick, driving through the moors, Lake district and into Scotland. 
Someone still decorates the graves of monks.
Still we rented a car in York, and braved me learning how to drive and sit on the opposite side of the car and road than here. 
And behind the wheel of this new Mercedes, thankfully with a gps system we named "Maggie," we discovered countryside and people we never dream of, nor planned on our large itinerary. 
Discoveries included the ruins of this haunting, historic  Benedictine Abbey on a high, windy bluff overlooking Whitby, a fishing village on the coast of the North Sea.
For some reason I'm having trouble writing and organizing these trip stories, but the them of windows helps keep be going. Susan's priority were the moors and mine was Cambridge. We missed much and changed schedules. More about that later.
So for the record, here's the official itinerary--we neglected to plan for all the walking--anywhere from five to nine miles a day, so we lost weight!
  • London--five nights. parliament, Westminster Abbey, Churchill's War Rooms, Buckingham Palace, Tower bridge and the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly circus, British Museum, Harrods department store, Dickens' house and museum, side train trip to Canterbury Cathedral, and various pubs, using the Tube (subway, cabs, double-decker bus, and walking..
  • Brit rail to Cambridge--one night. My pilgrimage to a real university. Punting (not the Stoops' kind) on the River cam. Painted one watercolor.
Haunting windows on the past

  • Brit rail to York--three nights. touring York Minster, largest cathedral north of the Alps. Toured the National Railway Museum, a little boy's dream of real locomotives. Visiting Viking center, visiting pubs, walking the medieval walls. Car trip to Scarborough and discovering Anne Bronte's grave. North through the most beautiful country I've ever seen. Whitby and the Abbey. The Yorkshire Moors. Whitby was a religious site from the mid 600s. The Abbey was built about 1225, after the Catholic Normans had conquered England.  Henry VIII disestablished the monasteries in 1540 and destroyed it. The windows are haunted, in more than one way. Bram Stoker lived in Whitby and the abbey  may have been an inspiration for "Dracula."
  • Keswick--Lake district, two nights in a country house. Drove through beautiful North York Dales. Drove to Grasmere, toured Wordsworth's Dove Cottage and grave. Hiked in the mist alongside on of the lakes. Painted one watercolor.
  • Scotland and Edinburgh--three nights. Drove up through Scotland on the rural roads, Turned in car at Edinburgh after nightmare traffic.  Took 12-hour small bus tour to Loch Ness and through the highlands. Shopped Edinburgh. Toured Edinburgh castle, and sampled great Scotch. At and drank in pubs.
  • Took tram in front of hotel for 30 minute ride to airport, five pounds each. Home.


  1. I like your windows theme. I have trouble documenting a trip when I get home.I don't have an A to B to C mind despite what people think.

  2. What a fabulous adventure. Trip of a lifetime you will never forget. Loved your photos and documentary.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.