Blogging from a hilltop

George and I just hiked to the top of this hill. The views are unbelievable. Not sure how we’re going to get down. Gravity!

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I was on the BBC!

Okay, that was a bit of a clickbaity title, I’ll confess. But it is true.

See, there’s this podcast that I’ve been listening to for years. (If you like movies, you should enjoy it.) It’s British (obvs) and a radio show on BBC 5 Live, but after it airs on the radio, they release it as a podcast.

Anyway, last week or so, I wrote in to say I’d be able to listen for the first time since I started listening, because my husband and I were in the UK for our annivesary, blah blah.

And they read it out! Kind of surreal to hear our names read aloud by these voices I’ve been listening to for years.

You can subscribe to the podcast here if you’re interested, and you can hear my email read out in the June 5 episode, about 10:15 into it.

Signs

Note: This is the first in a long series of posts about our trip to England. So be prepared.

It seems that houses in England (outside of London, at least – I never noticed this in the city) have names. And on the outside of almost every house is a sign with the name. I don’t know exactly what purpose this serves – are they useful? Part of the address? Or just a quaint tradition? Either way, I couldn’t help taking photos when I could. These are all from houses in and around Keswick.

Keswick: Castlehead walk

On Friday, our first full day in Keswick, George and I decided to try a walk. It wasn’t very far, so it seemed like a good one to start with. But we flatlanders forget that maps don’t always show elevation. So it was a little more challenging than we expected, but totally worth it.

Here’s how you tackle a stroll to the top of a mountain hill.

First, you start with a hearty breakfast. What you don’t see here is the sausage, bacon, egg, mushrooms, and hashbrown I ate before taking the picture. (I should mention here that we stayed at the very excellent Stonegarth B&B, recommended by my coworker Rachel. The breakfasts were beyond delicious and the proprietors kind and friendly.)

Next, you walk through town to get to the visitor’s centre so you can get a map so you can get lost before finding your way to the start of the walk. Admire the flowers along the way.

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Finally, you arrive at the path in question. Oh look, there’s the lake! Our first glimpse since arriving in the Lake District. This one is Derwentwater.

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Another Keswick walk: to Castlerigg stone circle

IMG_2349Another day, another breakfast, another walk. We ended up spending the day between our two big walks in the town of Cockermouth, where we went on a brewery tour and visited a few pubs (shocker.) For breakfast, I chose the slightly less hearty meal of yogurt and granola, plus scrambled eggs with salmon. Good choice.

But on Sunday, we were ready to tackle another one. This time, in keeping with our theme of “walks with Castle in the name,” we decided to take a walk that encompassed the Castlerigg stone circle. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to see this stone circle, but it started right near our B&B, and the distance was manageable (about 4 miles.)

Well, not to give away the ending, but it was exquisite.

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More Keswick

Just to round out the Lake District portion of our trip…some more photos of sheep, and other stuff we did.

London (part 1)

We spent as much time in London as we did in Keswick, but I took about a third as many photos. I suppose it’s because I already have a ton of pictures of London. And by this point in the trip, my shoulders were killing me from carrying around a heavy bag with my camera, so I took most of the photos with my phone.

Anyway, enough excuses.

When we first got to London, we went directly to the Airbnb that we had rented. It was tiny but clean and bright. Perfectly sufficient for our needs, and just down the street from a tube station. I’d say the only downside was the size of the bathroom. The sink in particular was just comically small. Washing my face was…messy.

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Anyway, after dropping our stuff off, we headed out to explore a bit. We walked up (and I do mean up – didn’t we leave the hills behind in the Lake District?) to Hampstead, where we hit up a pub (natch) before catching a glimpse of Hampstead Heath.

Oliver is a far more common name over there.
Oliver is a far more common name over there.

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Okay, that’s enough nature.

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London (the rest)

I think it’s time to wrap up my trip recap, so I’ll just put the rest of the London bit in this post.

Tuesday was our second day in London. George wanted hats, but I’ve already blogged about that. We also did some other shopping and browsing, which was fun.

On the bus!
On the bus!
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Piccadilly Circus
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Me ‘n’ the Queen at Hamley’s

After we got George a jacket and me some tea at Marks & Spencer, we went our separate ways. I ended up eating a sandwich in Soho Square, where Kristina and Anne and I used to meet for lunch almost every day, 18 summers ago.

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The next day, George and I poked around Camden Market (it was pretty dead, being a Wednesday) before meeting a friend for a pub crawl.

Pub crawl!

Yes, this is Pimm’s on tap.

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Cool pic of a bridge we were near. Can’t be more specific.

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The best meal we had all week, if you ask me: Toad in a Hole!

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Thursday was our last full day, so I crammed as much in as I could. Museums, (okay, mostly the gift shops), walking around my old haunts, etc. It was a pretty warm day, and people were covering every inch of grass everywhere. I love London for that.

Friday, we flew home. The end.