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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Curious what backpackers do in the UK? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day1

    Just relaxing on the train from Glasgow to Leeds. It's the first stage of what seems like a major trip to the USA. my Australian niece is marrying her American man and the wedding is providing an opportunity for a family gathering.
    The plan is 3 nights in New York with Sue, Rob and Gill and by train up to Rhode Island where we meet up with Pete and Annette to stay in a rented house for a week, other family and friends will be in 2 other houses.
    Sue and Rob coming from Spain, me from Scotland, Gill from Leeds and Pete and Annette from Australia. Agreeing on all the logistics and bringing it all to fruition has made it feel like a major event. I am relieved to be on my way and no further planning required.
    It is no longer possible to open windows on trains so the Ribblehead photo is a bit grainy being taken through the window.
    What a wonderful journey this local train is through the Yorkshire Dales. I remembered from a previous trip the fabulous ice cream so I asked the trolley lady for one and she said she didn't have it on the evening run. Later in the journey she came and asked where I was getting off saying she would try and phone ahead and get an ice cream delivered to the train at Settle and what flavour did I want. I chose the black currant delighted at the care and service. Unfortunately she was unable to get a phone signal so I didn't get my ice cream but it didn't matter I enjoyed the fact that she tried.
    At each station I am moved by the people mainly parents seeing off their family. Much kissing and silently mouthing "I love you " as the train pulls out. There seems to be a lot of love on this line.
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  • Day60

    Buses were on strike in Santiago but I couldn't be bothered to walk the 8km to the airport so took a taxi. Easy jet and the infamous British Southern Rail carried me back for a rest.

    As pilgrims say, the journey is over but the Camino begins.

  • Day56

    Leaving Britain again today and I'm really glad I'm going! It's been really great to see family and friends but as a travel destination this country sucks.

    Customer service is crap, it's dirty and grey, the food is awful and expensive and transport systems are crowded, inefficient and beset with lots of delays.

    Did I mention the customer service? Typically it's that couldn't give a shit, slovenly, "I'm doing you a favour, mate" attitude that really makes my blood boil and leads to a poor experience all around even when other things are going well.

    Maybe I have been spoilt by travel in Japan which is just so fantastic and easy, but really Britain, do you have to be such a horrible place to travel in or through.?

    Airports, train stations and motorway services charge extortionate prices because they have a captive audience and grumpy shop assistants and airport 'customer service' reps seem hell bent on making your experience a bad one.

    Package flights from the likes of Thomson and low cost airlines may be cheap but they are a truly horrible experience guaranteed to make your holiday a bummer. Masses of human cattle are crammed into pressurised tin cans in seats so small even midgets would have issues and the 'pay extra for everything' service model makes for frustratingly slow service at silly prices.

    Airports and train stations are crowded and dirty, the people are rude and the service is terrible...

    Goodbye Britain... I won't miss you!
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  • Day126

    Extra long day today! Our alarms went off at 6am and we were out the door by 6:30, heading back into Inverness and the bus station. Today was the day for visiting the Orkneys, a small group of islands just off the northern tip of Scotland. We'd debated driving up ourselves, but just getting to the ferry location at John O'Groats was a 200-mile round trip, not to mention the difficulty of getting around once on the island. So we decided on a bus trip.

    The bus left fairly promptly at 7:15am and wound its way up the north-eastern coast of Scotland. Plenty to look at, with small villages, rugged coastline, forests and little mountains all making an appearance. Finally we arrived at John O'Groats just after 10am, leaving us a little bit of time to grab a coffee, have a pee and then take a photo with the sign. In popular opinion John O'Groats is the northern tip of the mainland, but it's actually not! Dunnett Head a little further west is more northerly, but it's basically the most distant point of the mainland from Land's End in Cornwall. I'm not sure why that's so important, but there you go! Definitely much less touristy than Land's End, that's for sure!

    The ferry over took about 40 minutes and was fairly smooth, and we were soon on a pair of coaches for our journey around the island. The mainland of Orkney is surprisingly large - at least an hour's drive from end to end, and has a (increasing) population of approx 25,000. Also very little unemployment too which is unusual for distant rural spots like this.

    Anyway, our coach drove us around most of the sights here. First up was the Churchill Barriers, a series of causeways blocking the entrance to the huge harbour. During WWI and WWII much of the British Atlantic fleet was based here in Scapa Flow, and although it was closed off from two directions (and a third for the entrance), the fourth was basically a series of small inlets. During WWI they blocked these off with scuttled cargo ships, and later during WW2 they upgraded to actual causeways after a submarine got through.

    Next the bus dropped us in the main town of Kirkwall, where most people went souvenir shopping. We weren't super interested, so grabbed a pie for lunch and wandered around the local museum. Fairly interesting, as Norway (through the Vikings) has quite a lot of historical influence here, and it was cool to see how that has shaped a unique local culture.

    Back on the bus where we headed to the main reason for coming to Orkney: a UNESCO world heritage site! It's the prehistoric village of Skara Brae; dating back to around 3500 BC. Older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge! And still remarkably well-preserved, you can see where each of the stone houses had things like furniture, beds, entrances, the hearth and so on. It was occupied for about 600 years before being abandoned, and likely buried by the sand soon afterwards. It was only uncovered in 1850 after a massive storm blew a huge chunk of the sand away (it's right on the beach).

    Did a bunch of filming as we had a bit of free time, though the wind played absolute havoc with our pieces to camera unfortunately.

    Back on the bus where we visited the other half of the UNESCO site - the Ring of Broda. This is another large stone circle like Stonehenge and Avebury, more like the latter than the former. About 100m in diameter, it originally had 60 stones though only 27 of them remain. Interestingly, the stones are have slightly different composition, meaning that they're from different parts of the island. Maybe a meeting place for pacts and important ceremonies? We don't know! It wasn't a burial ground though, no remains have been found there.

    On the bus again where we drove tantalisingly close past the other two bits of the world heritage site: the Stones of Stenness and the burial mound of Maeshowe. Wish we could've stopped but alas - the drawback of a coach tour. Also that whenever you arrive somewhere, 100 other people arrive at the same time!

    Last stop for the day was the Italian Chapel - a shrine built inside a WW2 aircraft hanger by Italian POWs. Apparently the carvings inside are very beautiful, but it was five pounds to enter and we decided not to. Also the bus was running a bit late for the ferry back by now, so it felt a bit rushed.

    Made it back to the ferry where we boarded and made the 40 minute journey back to John O'Groats. Very rough passage this time with probably a 3-4 metre swell. Onto the other bus where we drove back to Inverness over the next 3 hours, thankfully we'd ordered a sandwich each for dinner! Arrived back at 9pm, very exhausted but satisfied. Quick stop at Nandos for some chips as a late supper, then home where Schnitzel was happy to see us after being looked after by our Airbnb host (who'll be very sad to see him go!).

    Overall we had a great trip and really enjoyed it. Orkney wasn't at all like we expected - very green but treeless (the wind just blows them right over). Our coach driver was funny and informative, and it was nice to have someone else doing the driving and navigating for a change!

    Back south tomorrow to the Isle of Skye, after an amusing coincidence that we went the furthest north you can get in the UK on the longest day of the year! Apparently on Orkney they have a midnight golf tournament tonight, since you can basically play all night (it's still twilight well after midnight, and sunrise is around 4am with a couple of hours twilight before that).
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  • Day2

    After being in the air with some stop overs for 26 Hours, we finally made it to Manchester airport. We were then picked up by a taxi and driven to Manchester YHA.
    Now Siting in the lobby of the Manchester Youth Hostel Apartments, waiting for our walking buddies to arrive. It is still my birthday.

  • Day1

    today we want hiking wasgbelagiealyursqawsderftgyhujikolp;laqwsedrftgyhujikolpqawsedrftgyhujikolpaqwsedrftgyhujikojy ht y trkjngeihhiunb ui pub i7yuv ii g hug bigbiubfiubufbufrdrbbt errvwevervr wvevfesvwer wbgrbwbrtwevrg bert vtwevrevwe vwqevvrwrevrwwre vwerrewvrwrvwrvwwrerv rvvrvrw

  • Day1

    This last weeks walking has had its highs and lows. Some days we should have walk. Hot weather, mediocre scenery and difficult walking conditions. We though walking on soft sand was difficult but walking on shingles (pebbles) was twice as hard.
    I am trying out this site and hope it won't be too difficult for you yo access.
    Today's rest day in Weymouth is most welcome.

  • Day11

    A pleasant if somewhat noisy (riotous revellers outside) night but deliciously cool. Lulled into a false sense of security since it climbed up to 36 degrees C in Paris today when we left the hotel! Our first task was to avoid the over zealous, determined to be jolly, innuendo-constant joke cracking and frankly, a little annoying concierge Arnaud! This was impossible because, yes, there he was laying in wait for us at reception. Left our bags with him and tried for the minimum of conversation whilst edging towards the front door! So full of advice was Arnaud that he completely failed to inform us that today was "Save the Environment Day" or something similar which meant one could purchase all-day, unlimited journeys to anywhere on the Paris Metro for a mere 3 euros something per person. This we duly did and made our way to Montmartre, choosing to take the furnicular up there which the metro tickets were also good for-a bargain all round! It was extremely hot but we toiled up the steps and took a selfie in front of the basilica but did not attempt the queue up to go in. People had umbrellas up to protect them from the sun and it was still only half past 10. Had breakfast in a cafe overlooking the main square but skilfully avoided the artists who want to sketch you. So, 35 years ago was the last time we were in Montmartre together for our honeymoon and we had a meal (included with the package tour at the time) at a restaurant called Auberge de la Bonne Franquette..... lo and behold, there it still was although now called just La Bonne Franquette and looking very smart! After this trip down memory lane, and again being a little disconcerted by seeing an army presence again, we actually walked back to Place de La Republique, near our hotel, in the boiling heat! It was soon time to retrieve our luggage from Arnaud (yes, he was lurking in reception awaiting our return!) and we retraced our steps on the Metro for the second time today to Gare du Nord. The Eurostar back was quite enjoyable although our seats were again backward facing! Had a pleasant meal at St Pancras before trotting along to grubby Euston for the last grinding bit of the journey to Preston, from where it was the replacement bus service to PLF! Home Sweet a Home.Read more

  • Day2

    Just realised I'm still in the same clothes I was teaching in on Friday... only 40 odd hours in the same shirt. 35 hours from my classroom to the bar at the Youth Hostel @ Manchester. Noticed that the Giants had a big win over Brisbane back home to put them top of the table - I like that.

    Zac has a birthday in 3 countries today

You might also know this place by the following names:

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Vereinigtes Königreich, United Kingdom, Groot-Brittanje, Ahendiman Nkabom, እንግሊዝ, Reino Unito, Geāned Cynerīce, المملكة المتحدة, ܡܠܟܘܬܐ ܡܚܝܕܬܐ, সংযুক্ত ৰাজ্য, Reinu Xuníu, Birləşmiş Krallıq, Vaeinigts Kinireich, Вялікая Брытанія, Великобритания, Angilɛtɛri, যুক্তরাজ্য, དབྱིན་ཇི་, Rouantelezh-Unanet, Velika Britanija, Regne Unit, Ĭng-guók, Regnu Unitu, Velká Británie, Y Deyrnas Unedig, Det Forenede Kongerige Storbritannien og Nordirland, ཡུ་ནའི་ཊེཊ་ཀིང་ཌམ, United Kingdom nutome, Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο, Unuiĝinta Reĝlando, Reino Unido, Suurbritannia, Erresuma Batua, انگلستان, Laamateeri Rentundi, Britannia, Stóra Bretland, Royaume-Uni, Royômo-Uni, Grut-Brittanje, An Ríocht Aontaithe, An Rìoghachd Aonaichte, યુનાઇટેડ કિંગડમ, Rywvaneth Unys, Birtaniya, Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo, הממלכה המאוחדת, ब्रितन, Zjednoćene kralestwo, Wayòm Ini, Egyesült Királyság, Միացյալ Թագավորություն, Regno Unite, Kerajaan Inggris, ꑱꇩ, Nagkaykaysa a Pagarian, Unionita Rejio, Stóra-Bretland, Regno Unito, イギリス, დიდი ბრიტანეთი, Ngeretha, Ұлыбритания, Tuluit Nunaat, ಬ್ರಿಟನ್/ಇಂಗ್ಲೆಂಡ್, 영국, شانشینی یەکگرتوو, Britanniarum Regnum, Groussbritannien an Nordirland, Bungereza, Vereineg Keuninkriek, Regno Unïo, Angɛlɛtɛ́lɛ, ສະຫະລາດຊະອານາຈັກ, Jungtinė Karalystė, Angeletele, Lielbritānijas un Ziemeļīrijas Apvienotā Karaliste, Angletera, Kīngitanga Kotahi, Велика Британија, ബ്രിട്ടന്‍, ब्रिटन, Renju Unit, ယူနိုက်တက်ကင်းဒမ်း, Storbritannia, Vereenigt Königriek vun Grootbritannien un Noordirland, संयुक्त अधिराज्य, Groot-Brittannië, Rouoyaume Unni, Reiaume Unit, Yhtys Kuningaskundu, ବ୍ରିଟେନ୍, Стыр Британи, Pisanmetung a Ka-arian, Zjednoczone Królestwo Wielkiej Brytanii, Regn Unì, برتانیه, Hukllachasqa Qhapaq Suyu, Reginavel Unì, Phandlo Thagaripen la Bare Britaniyako thai le Nordutne Irlandesko, Ubwongereza, Marea Britanie, Unitit Kinrick, Stuorra-Británnia, Ködörögbïä--Ôko, එක්සත් රාජධානිය, Spojené kráľovstvo, Združeno kraljestvo (V. Britanija in S. Irska), Mbretëria e Bashkuar e Britanisë së Madhe dhe Irlandës së Veriut, Storbritannien, Uingereza, பிரிடிஷ் கூட்டரசு, బ్రిటన్, Reinu Naklibur, Подшоҳии Муттаҳида, สหราชอาณาจักร, Nagkakaisang Kaharain, Pilitānia, İngiltere, Paratāne, بۈيۈك بېرىتانىيە, Сполучене Королівство, سلطنت متحدہ, Бирлашган Қироллик, Vương quốc Liên hiệp Anh và Bắc Ireland, פאראייניגטע קעניגרייך, Orílẹ́ède Omobabirin, 英国, i-United Kingdom

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