The North of England & Glasgow

It didn’t rain when we woke up at the campsite of the youth hostel. We went inside to make ourselves some breakfast.

When we got all our stuff back in our backpacks and were heading for the road, we crossed Richard, who also had stayed the night and was packing to leave. I asked if he wasn’t going to Liverpool by any chance. He wasn’t, but if we gave him some time to have breakfast, he would take us to a busier road.

We had some nice chats along the way. It appeared he was a house keeper at a private school and was now enjoying his holiday doing all kind of sports.

He dropped us at Weston Rhyn, where we were picked up by Marc only after five minutes. It is definitely more easy to catch a ride in the north. According to the northerners, that is not a surprise. 🙂

Marc didn’t really understand why we wanted to go to Liverpool and skipped Chester. He tried to convince us, but we had already found a couchsurfer in Liverpool, so we stuck by our plan. He was the first one who told us he voted to leave the EU. It was interesting to hear his point of view.

In Chester we were picked up even faster. After 3 minutes, Mike (pronounced as ‘Mi (spit soud) e’), a young taxi driver who is very fond of Amsterdam, picked us up for free and drove us all the way to Liverpool Harbor, where our host, Marc, lives.

The English dialect of the Liverpudlians is quite hard to understand (it sometimes sounds a little Welsh to us), so we were kind of relieved Mark came from Dehli, India.

He was working for the law department of Liverpool University and had some research to do, so he gave us a map and some advice and we went out to explore the city. We liked it very much!

We did some groceries and went back to Mark’s. While cooking he told us about the Cavern, the famous club where the Beatles started their career. It appeared we didn’t visit the original one, because it doesn’t exist anymore. As the city built some tunnels, it needed air shafts for ventilation. Therefore the original Cavern was demolished. Later it appeared that was all for nothing, because that shaft wasn’t used. However, while the today’s Cavern isn’t the exact spot where it used to be, it was built with the original bricks. Which is a little comforting, right.

We also talked about visa. Mark apparently needs to apply for a visa for almost every country, because of his Indian nationality. It came a little as a shock as he said that he could freely send some of his belongings to, for example Canada, but he himself had to get a visa. “So my belongings have more rights than I have”, he said. It made me feel a little guilty, because I was complaining about all the questions you have to answer to get into the USA, which is really not a big deal in comparison. We sometimes tend to forget how lucky we are living in Europe. If we want to travel, we travel to where ever we want to go and that is a big privilege.

The next morning we got breakfast with crunchy Lotus Speculaaspasta! Jan was in seventh heaven and it promised to be a really good day.

We caught a ride pretty soon from Stephen. He was a big Liverpool fan and went to see some games of the European Championship this year. He was also present at the drama in the Heizelstadion, so he had some interesting stories to share. We agreed on Portugal not deserving to win the championship and got out of the car on the M6 at the services.

It was raining huge cats and even bigger dogs by now, so Jan and I put on our waterproof trousers and jackets and started hitch hiking again. This time Richard, a chapellan in the army who once got sea sick in a bad ass submarine, gave us a ride. He was going all the way to Glasgow, our final destination in the UK, so we were temped to skip the very wet Lake District on this wet wet wet day. But Richard convinced us to visit it anyway and promised the clouds would disappear.

So we traded Richard for Alex, the first driver with our taste of music, who got us all the way to the farm – Richard Allen told us about it when we left Wales – where we were going to pitch up our tent.

As we were walking to the nearest pub, we appreciated the foggy and very photo genetic scenery and sheep. They have a special breed over here: Herdwick Sheep. The lambs are born black and then change into hardy hill sheep with white heads, grey bodies and firm little legs. Sooo cute and cool as well! The word “Herdwyck”, meaning sheep pasture, is recorded in documents going back to the 12th century.

You will not believe it, but the next morning I got up at 6.30 am because of a warm sun shining on our tarp. We were both so thrilled, and went for a long walk up in the mountains. Awesome!

The next day we were heading for Glasgow. We first bought some new walking sticks, so staying under the daily budget wasn’t possible any longer.

We had to wait for about 40 minutes to catch a ride, but we were very lucky, cause Gavin picked us up in his old Land Rover and drove us all the way to Glasgow. He had been traveling a lot and was fond of photography. We could even use his Leica camera (!!!) which was pretty cool.

In Glasgow we hadn’t been able to find a couchsurfer so we went to a hotel and the next day to another, bit cheaper one. Since we had done pretty well the previous weeks, we could afford this luxury. We must also confirm, that the Glaswegians have a very particular dialect. Over the years, the Weegies have shortened words, invented their own sayings, and made it all the more difficult for people elsewhere in the UK (or even in Edinburgh) to understand a single word they say. “Happenin? You wint tae cum to ma bit cos I’ve goat an empty ra morra ‘n a fancy a swally?” Just nodding and giving them a smile usually does the trick, cause they really are friendly folk.

Glasgow City is pretty big. It has some nice shopping streets but we especially liked West End. It is a bit out of the busy city center and has some nice organic shops, a super fast and friendly launderette and some nice restaurants. Definitively worth a visit.

So, that was it for Europe. Today we cross the big Atlantic. We will get back to you in Canada. 🙂

Bye for noo and see ye efter!