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Date: 8/12/99

        Remember that Venison Haggis, that tasted good?, DON’T EAT IT!! I will explain later. I’m still getting over it.
We did go through Lockerbie and through Dumphries and flew by the birthplace of Robert Burns, the poet. Instead of taking us the quick route on A75, the GPS decided we would like a slow windy farm road to Kirkcudbright which on the map looks the “as the crow flies” fast route. We sure got to see scenery.
We arrived in Kirkcudbright at about 8:30 PM and found John’s wife Wendy’s mother’s house which is called Shore House because it is the only one overhanging the harbor. Her name is Hazel Twiname and she is the most delightful and gracious lady. She invited us to stay for the night and, with her friend Allison as company, cooked us a wonderful meal. Before dinner I ran along the river (this Island called the UK has 4 million rivers) up to the mud banks – it was exhilarating and cool.
After running again the next morning and finding a quaint little cappuccino spot we bid our good-byes and headed southeast to Gretna Green and out of Scotland. Finally back in civilized territory again (except for Kirkcudbright).
        We drove into the city of Carlisle, which is the eastern side of the thinnest part of England where Hadrian’s Wall is and only 30 miles from where we were before. A very pretty city. The ATM at Barclays Bank shorted us £10 ($17) thanks to one bill being folded lengthwise. We then drove south (on real roads) to reach the northern area of the Lake District. We wanted 2 nights in this area and I decided to one in the north and one in the south. We stayed at the Armasthwaite Hall Hotel on Lake Ballanswaite with only a view of the Lake and a big price tag (less than I expected, however). It really was a stately old English mansion with a working 1930’s elevator. For dinner, we followed Hazel’s advice and skipped the Hotel and drove south to Keswick (“Kessick”) for a great dinner at La Primavera.
        The next morning I am awoken by the “screaming” bleating of sheep (UK has 4 trillion sheep) outside the window. So we get up and wonder if we will see anything of the eclipse. At 11:00 it became overcast and quite chilly. I thought the sun was still out until I focused the digital SONY camcorder on it and to my surprise, the sun was covered 90% by the moon. It was quite incredible. [The next day I read that there was no cloud cover at Lands End and only 1/3 the crowds expected – the TOTAL eclipse was totally visible and it became night time, even the lights on the Tower Bridge in London came on. Now I wish I hadn’t changed my mind about going down there. Oh well, next time.]
        Keswick is very much like Carmel but maybe even nicer, we spent most of the day wandering around and shopping. Then we drove down the Lake and the valley past Grasmere Lake (the home of the poet Wm Wordsworth) to the next lake called Windermere and the towns of Ambleside and Waterhead to stay at the Wateredge Hotel. What a great choice this was – perfect place right on the lake and cost 20 pds less than last night. Should have stayed here for 2 nights instead. I ran to the town of Ambleside, which is even cuter than Keswick and found our restaurant for the night, The Walker’s Café. We had a great dinner and were totally stuffed and cost us very little.
        This morning Kevin calls us at 8 AM so we got a head start on the day.  Ran back to Ambleside and the coffee shop I picked (from yesterday) is closed on Thursdays (amazing timing).  As a backup I went to the “Apple Pie Eating House” and the cappuccino was good. We decided against a boat trip on the lake because it was rather cold.  We checked out (sadly) and drove south to poke around in the town of Windermere on Lake of same name (largest in England). I found some very interesting games to bring home. We left the Lake District and drove through Kendal, then south through Lancaster (PA & CA) then south and due west to the old resort town of Blackpool on the coast.  They have a tower there like the Eiffel in Paris.  I rode the elevator to the top and got some breathtaking video and photos.  They let you stand on a glass floor and dare you to look down.  I did it but it is amazing how the feeling is difficult to control. After an ancient trolley car ride back to the car we headed south and east just to see Manchester. Not much to it (large industrial hub) but it central Piazza is very pretty and the architecture and the buildings are very nice (Marcia thinks most date since WW II).
        A straight shot west to the coast on the rapid M62 and we arrive in Liverpool on the River Mersey.  After checking, we head to the Cavern District where the Beatles started and had dinner at Dix-Neuf.  We’ll tour here tomorrow and head into Wales on our way to Dublin.
I really liked the Lake District very much and would return here.

KJH
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Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

KHofferMD@AOL.com            RETURN TO INDEX

Liverpool, England

Sent 8-12-99

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