This morning, we left Liverpool and headed onward to the Lake District. Most of the group had opted for the steam train & boat ride on Lake Windemere, but we and one other pair had not. So when we got to the train station at Haverthwaite, we headed for the shops while the others got their scones & teas or used the loo or both. In the shop, I bought a few souveniers - tea towels (that match my kitchen), mini-mugs for Doctor Who (TARDIS & Dalek design), and a slate coaster with a sheep painted on it.
Once the main group was off, we bought tea (or, in mother's case, coffee) and scones in the station restaurant. It was very quaint, in a good way. I think mom is a convert to the joys of scones & cream & jam. :-) (She was assured by the wait staff that it had no calories.) The other group who didn't go is a pair of ladies who are friends from British Columbia. Very nice ladies. Our bus driver, Carl, was the only other one left from our tour group.
At 11, we returned to the bus and Carl drove us around Lake Windemere. He even pulled over once to let us get a really nice shot of the lake from a bridge. (He said that, since it was raining, we'd get better photos outside than through the spattered windows.) We arrived at Bogness (I think) to await the rest of the group's arrival. And while waiting, we took plenty of photos, including some up-close-and-personal photos of some very friendly swans.
Our next stop, once everyone was aboard the coach, was Grasmere. There, James took us on a short walk to the cemetary and regaled us with the story of William Wordsworth and his wife... and sister. We were then free for an hour to get lunch, shop, view, etc. We all got Cornish pasties at a local place (The Cumbria, I think?) and then shopped. I bought some gingerbread from Sally Nelson's Gingerbread shop. While we were at the restaurant, a local gentleman with a cute doggie had told us about the place when he heard we were going to Glasmere. But then James had to be the most excellent tour guide that he is and told the whole group about it, too. ;-) I haven't had any yet - we were still too full from lunch.
Gretna Green in Scotland is, apparently, famous for being the place that English couples would head for to get married because once the marriage laws (age of consent) in Scotland and England were different. And the smithy would perform the ceremony for 'em. It's mostly a tourist trap now, but the shops were nice. I got an Anderson scarf and a few other touristy things (mostly concerning the Anderson tartan and motto - mum's an Anderson originally).
James is a wonderful tour guide and often buys us local candy etc to sample on the bus. Earlier today he'd given all of us Penguins. So I had to tell mom and Amy the joke that my friends told me when they first introduced me to the chocolate biscuits: Why don't polar bears eat penguins? Cuz they can't get the wrappers off! James heard me tell the joke and gave me a second one. :-) Amy and mom now agree that Penguins are pretty tasty. Now if we could just find some imported Tim Tams so they can make a comparision, that would be lovely.
After the Gretna Green stop, James had some shortbread to share with us all - very tasty. And THEN he gave us all samples of a Scotch whiskey that he'd bought to share. It was also pretty tasty (who knew there was a whiskey I could like?) As I said, he's a great tour guide!
Despite the coach door opening soon after we got onto the highway (Carl pulled over and got it shut again - he is calm during chaos, that man), we made it to Glasgow with time to spare. So James took us around to the Glasgow cathedral for a photo op. There's also a police box near the cathedral which we got to see. :-)
Dinner tonight was part of the tour and was at The Corinthian Club, which is a casino in an old bank in Glasgow. I ordered the Scotch Broth for starters, lamb stew and mashed potatos (though it had a fancier name on the menu), and the cranachan in a chocolate cup (a raspberry mousse-like stuff). The starters came out just fine, but when it was time for the entree, something had happened - for some reason the kitchen hadn't made enough stuff for everyone. And sadly, our table was one of the last to be served. The food was delicious, but we had to scarf up the dessert in order to get Carl back so that he and the bus have 11 hours before they are able to run again. James was outwardly calm, but I'm pretty sure he was livid - he'd emphasized to the restaurant how important the timing was before dinner. Still, we got to the hotel in time - yay!
Actually, I say hotel, but it's actually a golf resort. And, sadly, the spa closed at 9pm, just as we were arriving. Bummer! But we took a short walk around the resort for a bit more exercise, and then retired to our room. We're 1-nighting in this hotel, but the next two are 2-nighters. Phew!
Tomorrow, we head further north into the Highlands. Yay!