Will you still need me,
Will you still feed me,
When I’m 64? – Paul McCartney
June 6, 2018 – Where better to celebrate my 64th birthday than the home of the Fab Four? Today we embarked on a trip to England for a two month hike through the English countryside and national parks. We hope to hike through the Cotswolds (marked on the map below in green), the Yorkshire Dales (pronounced Dells and marked in blue) and go cross-country on a Coast to Coast Walk (marked in yellow). We hope to encounter some midday sun.
June 7 – We arrived at Heathrow after a no-drama all night flight, to stand in an hours-long queue at Customs that moved agonizingly slowly. We theorized that this was the Brits’ way of training newcomers to queue compliantly, like civilized folk. Just a theory.
We eventually retrieved our packs and made our way via the London Underground (mind the gap!) to King’s Cross Station, where there actually is a Platform 9 3/4 for Harry Potter fans, and several Hogwarts shops. Photographers were doing a brisk business snapping would-be wizards running their trolley through the brick wall.
The station also sported a huge tyrannosaurus just erected to advertise the latest Jurassic Park movie.
We boarded our train for a two hour ride north to Leeds, where we will spend a jet-lag recuperation day prior to commencing our Dales Way hike. In our sleep-deprived state, we stopped frequently to ask for directions and for help with ticket machines and such. At every turn, the folks here have been smiling and helpful – Nice People of England!
June 8 – After 12 hours of sleep (interrupted periodically by young men singing lustily about their favorite teams in the pubs below until the wee hours) we felt much perkier this morning. We looked out our hotel window to get an idea of the weather by what folks were wearing, and saw some in tee shirts and some in heavy jackets with scarves and collars turned up. We opted for jackets. We walked around Leeds, where the weather is chilly and overcast, scoped out some future food options, found a cash machine, and dropped a box of maps and supplies for our future hike off at the post office. We’ll pick it up farther north next week.
It turns out you must also mind the gap at the post office. They have lots of gaps here.
Leeds is a working class city with lots of shops and restaurants, that boasts absolutely no tourist attractions. The Who recorded an album here (Live at Leeds) back in the day. There are some nice brick buildings, and double-decker buses.
Unfortunately, there are homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks here. I don’t take pictures of homeless people.
A new use has been found for the old red telephone boxes!
We had a perfect Kerala Indian lunch at Tharavadu, with three different curries and delicious thin naan. Spicy enough to make my nose run, but not so spicy that I broke out in a sweat. Yum! There are many Indian restaurants here, and they advertise which part of India the dishes are from. Kerala is southern cuisine.
There are statues here, which seem to attract pigeons just like in other parts of the world.
There is wall art here!
A relaxing day. Tomorrow we travel north to Ilkley!