I normally might make a passing comment about the weather when we’re travelling but I have to make a longer comment in this case.
The weather has been … unpredictable.
Since arriving in London and getting some rain for about an hour or so this type of constantly changing weather is what we’ve gotten used to. We’ve found that if the skies are clear and sunny, which they have been almost everywhere we’ve been, we just have to wait enough time (usually hours) and it will rain. Often raining very hard. But so far the rain usually only lasts for 15-30 minutes and then it’s sunny again. As I said, unpredictable.
The four of us were continuing our drive along the south coast of England. We had left the town of Brighton that morning and were making our way west on some highways but mostly secondary roads to see as many sights as we could. We had left Brighton the night before and again we made a rough plan to stop further up the road, ending up staying the night in the coastal town of Weymouth.
Weymouth was quite a bit smaller than Brighton where we had stayed the night before but it was unique in that our hotel was facing the beach. But my most vivid memory of Weymouth wouldn’t show itself until much later.
The four of us had gone out for dinner and by about 9:30 PM we were all back, planning to pack up to leave again the next day. However, from our beach-facing room, we were treated to the loud music from the bar next door, complete with drunks shouting up and down the street in front of the hotel. Had it not been for the earplugs that Barb and I often pack, we probably would have been kept until about 4 AM when all the noise finally stopped.
We left Weymouth but now left the coast and continued driving northwards, eventually stopping in the town of Bath. Bath wasn’t our final destination for the day but we decided that it was a good place to stop for lunch. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best choice.
Driving in any reasonably large sized city is always a big gamble especially when you’re trying to find a parking lot near where you want to be. What resulted was a lot of stress driving through the streets of Bath trying to find a place to park. We eventually found a spot but it was far from ideal and far away from everything. It all worked out in the end and we found a nice place for lunch but we were glad to be heading out to Bath that afternoon. Our destination was a farm near the town of Wick where we would be staying for the next few days.
One of the main reasons for choosing the farm stay located near the town of Wick was its proximity to the Cotswolds area of England. Filled with many picturesque towns and rolling hills, we spent a couple of days driving through towns in the Cotswolds before finally returning to our rental car in Bath to board a train for the next leg of our trip.
The City and the Park
Once we had dropped off our car, we were heading north on our train, enjoying the English landscape along the way.
There’s something really enjoyable and relaxing about taking a train that’s so much different compared to flying or driving. Especially during the daytime when you get to see the landscape and walk around if you like, we try to take the trains in the countries we visit as often as possible.
The destination for our train journey and our stay for the next few days was going to be the city of York, which in hindsight was one of the highlights of this trip.
The guest house that we were to be staying in York was perfectly situated and was within walking distance to the old town, dominated by the York Minster Cathedral. The first days that we arrived allowed us to explore the old town and ended our first day in York with a satisfying meal at an Italian restaurant.
But it wasn’t the city that was the highlight of this part of our trip, it was the surrounding Yorkshire countryside and specifically the Yorkshire Dales National Park that was the most impressive.
We had booked an all-day tour of the Yorkshire Dales park. When Barb told me that the tour was going to be about 10 hours I was really expecting this to be a gruelling ordeal, stuck in a bus for hours at a time and just waiting for it to be over.
It ended up being one of the best parts of our trip.
We made lots of stops along the way but the countryside that we saw was simply incredible. Rolling green hills, dotted with sheep or cows and farms separated by stone fences. There were just so many photographic opportunities, one more stunning than the next.
We were admittedly tired when we got home and just bought some sandwiches to eat in our hotel room but we all felt glad that we were able to experience the Yorkshire countryside. Perhaps our only regret was that we would have loved to spend 2-3 more days in York to be able to see more of the city and more of the countryside.
Our stay in York marked a milestone on this trip as it was the last part of us being in England. The next day we would be taking the train to Manchester where we would be flying to our first location in Ireland.
I’m writing the completion of this chapter from our hotel room in the small town of Tralee where we arrived yesterday and will be our base for the next few days.
More of our Excellent Irish Adventure in my next update in a few days.
I’ve continued to add several more photos of our trip to my photo website.