United Kingdom / Iceland 2012

[Iceland] [England] [Scotland] [Wales] [Travel]

We toured Iceland and the United Kingdom in 2012. Highlights include Iceland; the Cornwall coastline and dinner at Ning in Manchester, England with our friends Eva and Nicola and Marco and Stefania. Chef Norman Musa prepared for us his spicy Malay specialties. .

Itinerary Iceland and United Kingdom 2012

  1. Thu 9/6, left BOS at 6 PM on IcelandAir for 5-hour flight.to Iceland.
  2. ICELAND
    Fri 9/7, arrive KEF (Keflavik Airport); stayed at Capital-Inn Hotel in Reykjavik; we were fortunate to be able to get our room by 10 AM and get much needed sleep
  3. Sat 9/8 Drove the "Golden Circle". Geysir, Þingvellir, and Gullfoss form the Golden Circle. Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall is located in the canyon of Hvítá River in southwest Iceland. According to legend, Sigrí∂ur Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, preserved the waterfall's condition by threatening to throw herself into the waterfall. The English word geyser (a spouting hot spring) derives from Geysi which comes from the Icelandic verb geysa, "to gush", Geysir lies in the Haukadalur valley on the slopes of Laugarfjall hill, which is also the home to Strokkur geyser about 50 metres south. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 metres in the air, .but eruptions may be infrequent. <THORN>ingvellir National Park was founded in 1930 to protect the remains of the parliament site, est in 930 AD, and was later expanded to protect natural phenomena in the surrounding area. <THORN>ingvellir National Park was the first national park in Iceland. Slept at Bjarg in Borgarnes
  4. Sun 9/9 Akureyri, the center of service for the north of the country, is the second most populated town in Iceland. Slept at Guesthouse AkurInn.
  5. Mon 9/10 Akureyri Blizzard. Slept at Guesthouse AkurInn.
  6. Tue 9/11 Borgarnes. Visited the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Sights include the Snæfellsjökull volcano (Jökull" means "glacier" in Icelandic) Slept at Borgarnes Bed & Breakfast, which is right on the sea and is owned by Inge who bakes fresh breads.
  7. Wed 9/12 Borgarnes. Slept at Borgarnes Bed & Breakfast.
  8. England:
    Map UK: Scotland, England and WalesThu 9/13, left Iceland and after a 2 1/2 hour flight arrived at LHR Heathrow near London. We stayed at the Ibis Hotel which for about 60 £ you got a small room with a very nice bed and no perks. Everything was extra. Internet was too costly and parking was a whopping 12 £.
  9. Fri, 9/14 Lincoln
  10. Sat, 9/15 York jpgs IMG_5805 - IMG_5836
  11. Sun 9/16 Corbridge IMG_5837 - IMG_5845 Hadrian's Wall jpgs IMG_5847 - IMG_5864 Slept Corbridge at 2 The Crofts
  12. Mon 9/17 drove along Hadrian's Wall and visited the Roman fort Vindolanda; visited with the Vindolanda Museum to see the Vindolanda Writing Tablets in Chesterholm, Northumberland jpgs IMG_5866 - IMG_5871; saw also other site and church
    see jpg thumbnails 9/14 - 9/17.
    Scotland Slept Edinburgh. jpgs IMG_5883 cashmere
  13. Tue 9/18 Toured Edinburgh all day Slept Edinburgh Sherwood Guest House
    Ref http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh
  14. Wed 9/19 Drove all day through the central highlands. Slept Inverness Sherwood Guest House
  15. Thu 9/20 Toured northern most part of Scotland. Dunnet Head. Slept Inverness
  16. Fri 9/21 Saw Loch Ness. Drove back to Inverness to retrieve binoculars which were left at b&b. Toured Glasgow. Slept Glasgow at Cathedral House Hotel.
  17. Sat 9/22 Slept Dalmellington which is an ex-mining village in Ayrshire in South West Scotland, on the banks of the "River Doon" on route A713 between Ayr and Castle Douglas, at The Eglinton Hotel.
  18. Sun 9/23 Slept Carlisle
  19. Mon 9/24 Manchester - dinner with Eva, Nicola, Marco and Stefania Slept Hazeldean Hotel.
  20. Tue 9/25 Manchester went to shopping mall - dinner at Ning with Eva, Nicola, Marco and Stefania. I had Sambal Udang. Slept Hazeldean Hotel.
  21. Wales
    Wed 9/26 Slept Llandudno at The Links Hotel.
  22. Thu 9/27 Drove the toll scenic road. Slept at the Maenllyd Guest House in Machynlleth, a market town in Montgomeryshire, north Powys, Wales. It is in the Dyfi Valley at the intersection of the A487 and the A489 roads. Machynlleth retains its strong Welsh character with Welsh spoken alongside English. The 2001 Census indicated that 70% of the 2000-strong population have some knowledge of Welsh with 42% able to read, write and speak the language.Machynlleth has a special role in Welsh history because of its connection with Owain Glyndwd, a Prince of Wales who rebelled against the English during the reign of King Henry IV. Owain was crowned Prince of Wales in 1404 near the Parliament House, which is one of three mediæval houses in town, in the presence of leaders from Scotland, France and Spain, and he held his own Parliament in the town. He held his last parliament in the nearby village of Pennal, by the Church of St Peter ad Vincula. It is thought that after the rebellion floundered, Owain went into hiding in the area around Machynlleth.
  23. Fri 9/28 Conwy, a popular tourist destination on the north Wales coast where the old Welsh language is spoken. Conwy Castle and the town walls were built, on the instruction of Edward I of England, between 1283 and 1289, as part of his conquest of the principality of Wales. Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan house built in 1576 by the Wynn family, has been extensively refurbished to its original 16th-century appearance and is now in the care of Cadw. Slept in St Clears, a small town on the River Tâf in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Most of the less than 3000 inhabitants are Welsh-speaking. The surrounding countryside is mainly rolling grassland consisting of moderate sized fields with well kept hedges. The main agricultural enterprise is dairying, but sheep and beef are very important as well. The soils are deep and productive and will grow good crops of potatoes and cereals, and the climate allows fruit growing as well. The mound of the twelfth century Norman St Clears Castle can be seen.
  24. Sat 9/29 Toured Carmarthen. Saw Llandovery (Welsh: Llanymddyfri) a market town in Carmarthenshire, Wales, lying on the River Tywi and the A40 road. They were having a sheep's festival, but we did not stay. Slept at The Angel Hotel in Cardiff
  25. Sun 9/30 Stopped in Tiverton, a town in the English County of Devon. Slept at the Durrant House Hotel in Bideford, a small port town in Devon on the estuary of the River Torridge in north Devon, south-west England. The River Torridge is spanned at Bideford by the 13th century Long Bridge, which has 24 arches all of different sizes. During WW I, Bideford's 13th century Long Bridge was temporarily converted into a railway bridge to carry the locomotives and rolling stock onto the main line railway near Bideford Station.Cornwall is locatied in South West England
  26. Mon 10/1 Cornwall The north and south coasts of Cornwall have different characteristics. The north coast on the Celtic Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, is more exposed and therefore has a wilder nature. The prosaically named High Cliff, between Boscastle and St Gennys, is the highest sheer-drop cliff in Cornwall at 223 metres (732 ft).[48] However, there are also many extensive stretches of fine golden sand which form the beaches that are so important to the tourist industry, such as those at Bude, Polzeath, Watergate Bay, Perranporth, Porthtowan, Fistral Beach, Newquay, St Agnes, St Ives, and on the south coast Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth. There are two river estuaries on the north coast: Hayle Estuary and the estuary of the River Camel, which provides Padstow and Rock with a safe harbour. The south coast, dubbed the "Cornish Riviera", is more sheltered and there are several broad estuaries offering safe anchorages, such as at Falmouth and Fowey. Beaches on the south coast usually consist of coarser sand and shingle, interspersed with rocky sections of wave-cut platform. Also on the south coast, the picturesque fishing village of Polperro, at the mouth of the Pol River, and the fishing port of Looe on the River Looe are both popular with tourists. Slept Penzance at Keigwin House bed and breakfast which is just off the Promenade on Alexandra Road. Walked to the Dolphins. I got a St. Austell's Tribute Cornish Page Ale. IMG_6525 St Austell Brewery has been brewing beer and real ale in Cornwall since 1851 and runs over 170 of the most popular pubs in the South West. St Austell brews some of the best beer and have some of the best pubs in Cornwall as well as traditional inns and hotels in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. St Austell Brewery pubs are renowned for good beer, excellent pub food and a warm Cornish welcome. St Austell beers include award winning bottled and cask ales such as Tribute, Proper Job, Smugglers, Admirals Ale, Clouded Yellow, HSD, Dartmoor Best, Trelawny and Korev.
  27. Tue 10/2 On the way out of Penzance we saw St Michael's Mount IMG_6532 which is a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France (they share the same tidal island characteristics and the same conical shape). It was given to the Benedictines, religious order of Mont Saint-Michel, by Edward the Confessor in the 11th century.. Went to Truro and saw museum and then to Exeter to see cathedral. At Exeter we also saw "Tudor House" which is not really Tudor. It is one of Exeter’s best known properties and dates back to the 16th century. Slept at Montgomerys in Honiton, Devon which is not too far from Exeter. It was at this hotel where we talked to the ex-patriot from Texas who was married and divorced to a Brit. He was a traveling vetinary health administrator and he told us about the pig farm near Stonehenge.
  28. Wed, 10/ 3 Saw Stonehenge and also Salisbury Cathedral with its fine copy of the Magna Carta plus the Winchester Cathedral jpgs IMG_6564 - IMG_6596 Slept at Ibis Hotel in Heathrow;
  29. Thu, 10/ 4, arrived BOS Boston.

Top Iceland [Iceland Slides] [England] [Scotland] [Wales] [United Kingdom 2012] [Travel]

Iceland 1We arrived in Iceland September 7th. Traveling is very pleasant. Good roads. No traffic jams. It was really so nice Iceland's landscape is rather extraordinary. No trees. Valleys with sheep and horses. Vast lonely expanses with lava fields either black and bare or covered by spongy mosses. geysers and waterfalls. Iceland holds: the world's highest literacy and longevity rate and possibly the highest longevity rate, and probably lowest crime rate. Only 350,000 people. Very few insects. No predatory animals. Horses and sheep are everywhere in Iceland. The horses are all the same kind, the Icelandic horse, which was brought in by the early Norsemen. Icelandic horses are noted for their gentle nature. Some of them are used for meat and they are used to round up the sheep, but I see them mostly just hanging out in the valleys, frolicking, licking one another, and coming to greet tourists who stop to see them.

 

Iceland Photos

We took quite a few photos. See Iceland slide shows

Iceland Slides 1
Iceland Slides 2

Top England [Cornwall Slides] [Manchester] [Iceland] [Scotland] [Wales] [United Kingdom 2012] [Travel]

We arrived in England from Iceland on Thursday, September 13. We picked up our rental car and stayed nearby in Heathrow at the Ibis Hotel where for about 60 £ we got a small room with a very nice bed but no perks. Perks are available but everything was extra. Internet was too costly and parking was a whopping 12 £.

Highlights in England included: dinner at Ning See jpgs IMG_6229-IMG_6236;

Manchester

We were in Manchester September 24-26 where we visited our friends Eva, Nicola at the home of their son Marco and his wife Stefania. We had a wonderful dinner at Ning cooked by Chef Norman Musa. See more about our stay in Manchester.

 

England Cornwall 6The Cornwall Coast

Single lane, narrow beyond belief, lined with thick hedges, the Cornwall roads were very difficult to negotiate. At any time you could be facing a tour bus coming from the opposite direction. I can not imagine anyone using these roads after dark. See Our Photos of Cornwall.

Cathedrals and the Magna Carta

Magna Carta
Magna Carta

We saw 2 copies of the Magna Carta and visited 11 Gothic cathedrals: Lincoln, Exeter, Salisbury, and Winchester.

The Magna Carta (1215) is the document which inspired our own Constitution.There are four remaining copies in England: two at the British Library, one at Lincoln Cathedral, and the best preserved, most readable which is at the Salisbury Cathedral. We saw 2 copies of the Magna Carta, at Lincoln and at Salisbury.

British Food and Ales
[Photos of British Food and Ales] [Manchester] [Scotland] [Wales] [England] [United Kingdom 2012]

British food was not as bad as I thought it would be. Actually I think their restaurant food is better than ours! We got some good Indian food. At Corbridge Tandoori, a Bangladeshi restaurant, we had really delicious Kurma which is "a preparation of mild spices in which cream and coconut are used to create the delicacy of its flavours and creamy texture." In Manchester we had a superb Malay dinner prepared by Chef Norman Musa at Ning. We found some pretty fine meat and potatoes in pubs. I did not try specialties such as kippers, pasties, or Scot haggies.

Breakfast

The Britsh breakfast is very hardy and for us it would be a brunch. I found it difficult to consume a traditional full English breakfast with bacon, sausage, poached or fried eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, and bread or toast with butter. I passed on the baked beans. Hey, in Boston, you eat those for dinner!

England has very good food markets both open air and shops. England has good cheeses and their bakeries have nice scones. Tea of course is excellent and today you can find good coffee too. Mark & Spence food shops are really the best place to shop for ready-made picnic fare. Their croissants are made in France then baked locally. Their pre-made sandwiches are first class.

See more about full English breakfast and variants at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast#Full_English_breakfast

Ales

The culinary star of the United Kingdom is ale. British ales are spectacular. Every town has one or more pubs where you can get draught, regional ales. Nothing is better to accompany a meal or drink with friends. May the British pub endure forever.

 

References:

  1. Magna Carta from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Carta
  2. Magna Carta copies "Surviving Magna Carta copies granted UN World Heritage status" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5942599/Surviving-Magna-Carta-copies-granted-UN-World-Heritage-status.html The Telegraph July 9, 2009
  3. Full English breakfast and variants at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast#Full_English_breakfast

England 2

England

UK 4 Manchester

Manchester Dinner at Ning

England Cornwall 6

Cornwall

England 7

Salisbury and Winchester

 

Top Scotland [AutoSlides]

[Iceland] [England] [Wales] [United Kingdom 2012] [Travel]

Scotland 3We arrived in Scotland September _. In Edinburgh, We were warmly greeted at the Sherwood Guest House by David Greig . Our 2 nights here were very comfortable with twin beds and a fridge and microwave.

See our photos of Scotland.

Top Wales [AutoSlides]

[Iceland] [England] [Scotland] [Wales] [United Kingdom 2012] [Travel]

Wales 5On September 26th, we left Manchester about 11 AM and arrived in Wales after a short highway drive in the rain. Our first stop was Llangollen, a small town in Denbighshire, north-east Wales, on the River Dee at the edge of the Berwyn mountains. It was here that we saw the best stuffed birds in a taxidermy shop which was closed. We also tried the Welsh Cream Tea. We stayed at The Links Hotel in Llandudno.

 

ewestgate
created October 10, 2012
last updated October 15, 2012