An ash-free post about our drive to Cumbria

Sunday April 18

Woke up to a rainy last morning in Edinburgh. Startled our B&B hosts with our yogurt and muesli breakfast, but you can only do a full Scottish breakfast every few days. We passed on the double decker bus in the drizzly weather and took a cab to Edinburgh Waverly station. Time for our car trip to begin.

I’ve driven in the UK three times before, but it had been since the start of the Iraq war (the last time we were here). I grew up driving stick so that wasn’t a big deal, it’s just the whole driving on the left side of the road thing. Throw in a couple of manic roundabouts and now we’re talking a bit of stress.

We got a snappy little 4-door Peugeot that could barely hold our two carry-on bags in its trunk. Getting out of town wasn’t horrible – the dozens of grazing sheep and their babies helped – and before we knew it, we arrived in Biggars, Scotland for a lunch at the Aroma Cafe. Coffee, tea, soup, and filled sandwiches for lunch, and back into the rain for a drive on the highway to the Lake District.

Keswick (Kess-ick) is an adorable town that sits close to the largest lake in the area, Derwentwater. Our room at the Dunsford B&B was of course on the top floor. Of some very narrow stairs. What better way to get acquainted with the town than to walk down the street to do laundry. Shelly gets a bit disappointed if she can’t do laundry while we’re traveling abroad.

Looking toward Keswick from the other side of Derwentlake

In between the washing and drying cycles, we got our bearings a bit and decided on The Dog and Gun pub for dinner. Why that particular pub? Because as we were walking by, we saw a dog sitting upright on a chair next to his person who was drinking beer. Our kind of place.

Well, as we later found out, the dogs were the best part of the pub. There must have been 10 dogs in that place: labs, airedales, terriers. The ale I had was good, but the veggie choices weren’t many and the special Shelly had, let’s call it roast beef with veg, looked and tasted like prison food. Don’t know when Shelly was in prison, but perhaps that’s another blog post.

To get rid of the prison roast beef taste, I took Shelly to the Rembrandt Restaurant for tea and dessert. When asked, the waitress told us she preferred the Bananoffee pie over the Sticky Toffee Pudding. Mistake. Take a bad pre-made transfat crust, add a layer of bananas (fresh thankfully), plop on some toffee stuff, add whipped cream, and place on a chocolate and toffee decorated plate. Serve. We think this place was a Marie Callendar’s in disguise.

At least we had something to laugh about on the walk back to our B&B.

  1. #1 by kb on April 21, 2010 - 2:58 pm

    I always feel disappointed and gyped when in another country the “native” or local dishes are disgusting. I guess I always want to believe food tastes best from whence it originated. Wrong. Most of the best food comes from California.

  2. #2 by Dave on July 12, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    Pub /restaurant food in the UK can vary a LOT. Never have high expectations when eating in a pub, never. There are some good ones, but trial and error and word-of-mouth are the only way to eventually find them! The restaurants I have eaten in have usually been very good, but being a Lake District local helped me know which ones to avoid!

    If you get the chance to visit France, head for Brittany – the food there never disappointed me, and they know how to cook vegetables without turning them into colourless lumps!

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