Writing to you now from the lower level, Terminal 1, Manchester Airport. People everywhere! Luggage! Announcements on the speaker system! Busy, busy, busy!!! Very different from my last three days. Even though the Lake District was quite crowded due to its being Easter weekend (and therefore tons of holiday-ing Brits in all manner of camping, hiking, boating, drinking and celebratory states), it wasn’t hard to ditch the crowds and find a peaceful spot.
The above was written to you from the airport yesterday. Little did I know that I was about to undergo a very challenging seven hours. Though I was at the airport with plenty of time to spare – hours, actually, as Heather dropped me at Manchester Airport long before I needed to be there for check in – the combination of Easter holiday travelers and limited staff at Manchester airport resulted in a real *excuse the language* clusterfuck. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. Heathrow and O’Hare got nothin’ on Manchester! Wow. Once I’d checked luggage and gotten my boarding pass, it took over an hour to get through security. I kid you not. It was worse than the lines at Disneyland. And no Magic Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean at the end. Just more delays as the plane had to wait for Manchester staff to disembark a passenger requiring a wheelchair, which delayed boarding for an additional 45 minutes.
By the time I got to Copenhagen, it was almost midnight and there was NO WAY I was going to try to navigate the Metro by myself, with luggage, in the middle of the night. A very nice taxi driver dropped me right at the front door of my hotel. It was worth every penny. And this is Copenhagen, so it was many pennies. Things are expensive here.
BUT! I was rewarded with this beautiful view:
And this morning, I’m here:
So all is well. I may spend the day sequestered in my room. I have a lot of work to do still on Ireland trip finalizing, invoice prep for Audrey and writing to you. Plus sleep. I’m in need of a day in bed. So though I’m in Copenhagen and you’d think would want to be out and about, I really need to just be a hermit for a day. Plenty of time to be out and about tomorrow and Friday, checking on everywhere I will be taking people and making sure I know how to get around. Rest and “clearing the desk” are the order of the day.
So, back to our time in the Lake District…
Due to pandemic cancellations, we lost our ability to have a group stay at Bank Ground Farm, right on Coniston Water in the Lake District. We did still have a chunk of money sitting with them as a deposit on that stay though, so Heather determined we should come spend our four nights in between tours here. Use up the money, do a bit of work, a bit of scouting, try to talk out what we want to do during our sabbatical next spring and just generally check in. My Scotland tour went really well. Her trips in Iceland and the UK both had some pretty hefty bumps along the way. So, we downloaded those experiences and talked a great deal about whether we think travel can and will resume in the way it was during The Before Times.
Our conclusion is a hesitant yes, with caveats. More time is needed around every itinerary activity and international travel itself because a)staffing shortages are a thing everywhere, not just in the States and b)uncertainties and restrictions are still in flux (masks and distancing inside in Scotland, nothing in England at all, even in the airports, etc) These two things may not seem like a big deal. However we’re still running into limited hours at regular venues, slow service everywhere and nervous trip participants. Nonetheless, we forge on!
In between these discussions, we spent time working at our computers in the morning and then venturing out in the afternoons.
One of the days we spent over at nearby Grasmere. I’ve long wanted to visit Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth along with his sister Dorothy, and wife and children. It’s now a museum. The contemporary building is beautifully intertwined within the context of this stone-built village. It hugely exceeded my expectations. What a treat.
We also visited our friend Mandy. She used to live at Beatrix Potter’s former home, Castle Cottage. She has since moved from there but still keeps her shop that offers items made from the wool of the Lake District’s iconic conservation sheep breed, Herdwicks.
And… I seem to be having technical problems once again. Not sure if it’s WordPress or me! I will try publishing this now and continue on in Part 2. Sigh… technology…