Today being Sunday I planned to attend church at the only Church of England parish in town named, appropriately enough, St. Mary’s! Then I thought that after breakfast I’d have a lazy morning puttering around town followed by lunch and a nap. I managed church and breakfast, but the sun was shining today and the temperature was perfect for walking so I ditched my plans for a sedentary day. And I walked. Then walked. Then walked some more.
First I walked up to the Stock Ghyll Waterfall here in Ambleside, then I walked alongside the River Rothay (see above) and over to the remains of a Roman fort. But the best part of my hiking adventure was taking a launch across Lake Windermere (the largest lake in Britain) and embarking on a three-hour hike up and along a ridge high above the lake. At one point the guide book I had noted that one part of the trail included a ten-minute climb followed by an “unrelenting” twenty-minute ascent. Yikes! The book’s author was NOT kidding.
Shortly after that, however, I entered church for the second time today. Atop the ridge the path passes through a stand of ash trees, and it felt like I was entering a cathedral: a space that was holy and vibrant with the presence of God. A little while later I saw view after view after view of the lake and the surrounding towns and fells (or mountains), and each view was more spectacular than the last. The climb, for all the aches I will no doubt experience tomorrow, was worth every step.
And now for today’s luggage update. I have none. Still. Even the one bag they claim to have found has yet to be delivered (though the website I can check indicates it will be delivered on Tuesday). The other bag — the one with all MY stuff in it! — has yet to reappear. One of the B&B’s owners suggested I take to Twitter to make my complaint about British Airways because she and her husband have gotten swift responses and positive resolutions of service-oriented complaints they’ve had. We’ll see if it works for me.
Finally: a comment on comments. At the bottom of each of my posts is a “Comment” link. I would welcome your comments as you view my blog, so please feel free to click away if you would like to respond in any way. Thanks!
I went on an all-day “Ten Lakes Spectacular Tour” with a local outfit called Mountain Goat. This was a great way to see lots of the Lake District, often by way of roads I would be wary of driving — even if the steering wheel were on the American side of the car! Towards the end of the day we visited one of the many stone circles found in Great Britain (the most famous, of course, being Stonehenge). This circle, the Castlerigg Stone Circle, is about 4,500 years old, according to the guide. Were the stone circles used for religious purposes? social gathering places? as astronomical markers? some combination, perhaps, of these? Or were they used for purposes we simply can’t imagine?
Luggage update: I received a text message in the middle of the night that one of my two bags had been found and would be delivered. It seems the airline found the bag filled with donated goodies for South African kids. Good. But I’d still like the other bag; you know, the one with MY stuff in it. And silly me: for reasons that defy reason I packed my camera battery charger in the checked luggage. Replacing socks is easy; finding a battery charger for Nikon EN-EL 14 batteries is a bit more of a challenge in Ambleside. But — praise be! — Amazon delivers to Ambleside, and my new charger should be here on Monday. (Which reminds me: I pray you all have a wonderful Labor Day!)
One advantage of losing one’s luggage is the ability (okay, so the necessity) of traveling light.
Today I picked up my rental car in London. As I feared, the steering wheel was indeed on the wrong side, as was the stick shift. Despite the incredible traffic on the British motorways (stop and go — stop and slow — and wait — and go slow — then go really fast — then stop — then go again, maybe… — and all on the wrong side of road!), I finally arrived at Ambleside in the Lake District after a rather full day on the road.
After locating a convenient laundromat around the corner from the B&B at which I’m staying, I started a load, enjoyed an amazing dinner of Tandoori chicken at an Indian restaurant next door, and then took the above picture that shows every bit of clean laundry I have with me. (Incidentally it also shows about 90% of the square footage of my room. Yeah, the room is a bit on the small side.)
A call to British Airways confirmed that my luggage made all the way from Memphis to Charlotte and then apparently took a detour into the Twilight Zone. The good news is that British Airways will reimburse me for necessary clothing purchases; the bad news is that when (if??) my luggage does indeed appear I will that much more to pack and tote around. Any bets on whether my luggage will be delivered to Ambleside just as I’m heading off to South Africa?
By the way, just as the long drive (and the heavy traffic) were threatening to make me just a wee bit grumpy, I turned off the motorway (as they call freeways here) and began driving through the Lake District. Pictures will follow, but just imagine charming stone walls dividing rolling hills which are dotted with plump, fluffy sheep. Got it? Then you’ve imagined just a part of what greeted me this afternoon. Oh, yeah; the drive was SO worth it! Can’t wait to see it more fully in the next few days.
Visited the stunning Kew Gardens this morning (and the sun came out!), took a nap, took in the view from atop the Shard (western Europe’s tallest building), and took in a show. Still no luggage! Tomorrow I get a rental car and head up to the Lake District. Should be easy, right? Well, I’ll be sitting on the wrong side of the car, driving on the wrong side of road, and possibly (if I have standard transmission rental) shifting with the wrong hand. Easy, right? Pray for me — and for all the other drivers on the road who insist it is they, not I, who have it “right”!
I arrived safely in London this morning, even if my checked luggage did not. It should — it might — it may be here tomorrow. We’ll see. In the meantime I spent the afternoon sightseeing, including a spin on the London Eye (see above), a river cruise on the Thames, and a visit to Marks & Spencer to pick up a few essentials until my stuff shows up. I do plan to post photos other than selfies, but ran out of both time and steam today.
So here’s a selfie showing me on the first of my three flights today. So far I’ve made it from Memphis to Charlotte to Washngton. Had my rolling carryon blow out a wheel in Charlotte. Replaced it (the whole bag, not just wheel, sadly enough) in Washington. Otherwise it’s been a very smooth day. And thanks to Dudley for the ride to the airport! Should be boarding soon for the overnight flight to London. My next post will be from a foreign country!