Saturday, June 07, 2008

London to St. Bees by Train

The Sydney Hotel, where we stayed in London before our hike.

Our trip from London to St. Bees was more of an ordeal than we expected. When we went to buy our train tickets at Euston Station in London, we had trouble speaking the same English language with the lady behind the glass. At first she couldn't understand us when we said we wanted to get to St. Bees and then, as we only later found out, she sold us tickets that took us all the way to Carlisle, which is close to the border to Scotland, where we then had to transfer to another train that would take us back down the west coast to our destination--while we could have got there much cheaper and easier a different way. But we didn't find that out until our tickets were checked on our way back down the coast.A castle in Carlisle that we didn't get a chance to explore

Riding the fast train
At any rate, even though the cost of the train was so high--102 pounds per person--we really enjoyed the train system. The cars were clean, there was a fair amount of leg room and we got to see the countryside fly by. We took a Virgin Rail train from London to Carlisle and then a slow diesel train that stopped in many tiny towns on the west coast. While on the slow train we met Allen, an Englishman we were to hike with for the next four days. He was a retired HR coordinator, and a gentle and kind man who told us all kinds of interesting things about England.

Our B&B stop that night was called Abbey Farm House, and as you can see from our earlier blog pictures, it was lovely. Clean and light and airy, with a big clawfoot tub in the bathroom, free internet and tasty food. The host, Steve, was friendly and very helpful.

Abbey Farm House, in the flesh.

St. Bees itself is a small town, although larger than many we came across. It has a Post Office, which is also a convenience store (many of the post offices in Britain are like it), two pubs and a restaurant. And many B&Bs to accommodate all the Coast to Coast walkers and the many vacationers who come to visit the lovely beach there.
The little town of St. Bees

We had our first English pint in a pub there, it was called Speckled Hen ale, and came recommended by a man sitting at the bar. We stood out like sore thumbs as foreigners unaccustomed to English food and drink, but this got better along the way.
Where we ate supper.
The Irish Sea, at low tide.

1 comment: said...

hello, I'm italian, planning for next summer 2009 the coast2coast trail with my daugther aged 13. do you you think she can do the trail or is it too tough for her age? thanks a lot for any other suggestion, you have been great with your journey and your blog!
all my best,