On the UK

On the UK
Fountain's Abbey Ruins

Took my first trip out of the country last week. Went to England, and stayed in Harrogate for the week. It was the first real vacation my wife and I have done sans kids, and was incredibly needed as we've been at a dead run for ages now.

Since this was a once in a long time trip, we splurged and did Polaris there and back. Having never flown at that level before, I did not, as they say, "act like I've been there before". Ooops. While the seats were super cozy, neither of us managed any real sleep. Which was less than ideal as it was an overnight flight. RIP.

We landed in London, took a private taxi (not Uber) to the train station, and then took the train to Harrogate. First thing that stood out to me was how NARROW THE ROADS ARE. Not a complaint really, but it definitely was nerve racking a little bit in London.

Got to Harrogate, and then walked to where we were staying. After we settled in, it was time for dinner. Walked to a pub and got some fish and chips. And gin and tonics.

We were exhausted by this point due to travel, but forced ourselves to stay up longer to avoid jet lag. Finally crashed, and started the week of adventures.

Day 1, we did walked around a local town. Took the train to get there, and then just wandered through an old fort. Got lunch from a local place. Was pretty good.

Overlook of the village. Tiers of houses next to an old aqueduct. Also, dramatic clouds

Day 2, we went to Fountains Abbey. Very old ruins of an old Abbey. Stunningly huge. It was hard believing both how large and how old they were.

Spent most of the day wandering around the Abbey. Then we went to a local (also very old) pub. My wife had the steak and ale pie, and is now on a quest to replicate it. I had the Fish and Chips, probably the best I've had yet.

All in all, solid day.

Day 3, didn't really get any photos. But, spent the afternoon at a turkish bath. Having never done a steam room or sauna before, it was all new for me. Started in the steam room. Did not care for that at all. Then did the plunge pool. Also did not like that. Did the heat rooms. That was pretty rad. Then had to keep doing the plunge pool to balance the body temp. Still hated that.

Day 4, we mostly wandered around York. Did the Minster Abbey, and then the old city walls. Loved that.

Day 5, we did a proper English tea service. That was fancy. I kinda liked it. Then, we did a gin tasting of local gins. That was AMAZING.

Day 6, we started the trek back. Took the train and tube to London. Hung out at the hotel bar, and then crashed for the night. Finally, woke up and went to the airport and flew back. Much more relaxing daytime flight.

It was very relaxing, very soothing, and was just a good time all around.

Some random thoughts about England as an American:

  • Restaurants are amazing. Never felt rushed at all. It was odd having to find someone to get the bill, but that too was nice.
  • Pace of life just seemed slower. In all the little towns we visited, things just seemed chiller. I'm sure that varies from place to place, but it definitely seemed more relaxed than anywhere I've been in the US.
  • Everything is old.
  • Everything is "close". We didn't get to see everything we wanted to, but we now have a list of things "2-4 hours away", covering most of the country.

All in all, it was a solid trip, and now we're planning our next trip!

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