Crossing the Irish Sea to Wales on Our Way to England’s Lake District

On July 13th, we had to leave at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry, travel across the Irish Sea to Wales, tour the countryside, to end up in the Lake District in England. 

It was early enough that morning that there were some odd scenes in the ferry terminal. 

It’s possible that this guy was wearing the bunny onesy to prepare for the winds we would encounter on the deck of the ferry. Or maybe he was dealing with the aftereffects of a stereotypically Irish night. At any rate, we were soon ready to board. 

The ferry itself was a gigantic catamaran, built for speed. Once the ferry got going, we went above deck where we found out just how fast the boat travelled. 

Meanwhile, in Virginia it was 98 degrees and felt like 105.

Holding onto the rail was more of a safety requirement than a pose.

Some people found that it was easier to walk by leaning into the wind

Unbelievably, there was a smoking section up there, and the smokers were huddled in their little pocket for warmth, shielded by the top deck of the ship. A person must really want to smoke to decide, “You know, I’d rather embrace the challenge of lighting this cigarette in 60mph winds than wait two hours.” Inside, away from the smoking outcasts, the ferry was spacious, with plenty of comfortable seats.

Maybe TOO comfortable.

How long did it take before the novelty of the ferry wore off and people embraced nappy nap time?

This long. It took this long for that to happen.

Two hours later, we made it to Wales. 

We grabbed our luggage and hopped on the bus that would be taking us around Britain. Almost immediately, we saw ways that Wales differed from Ireland. It seems that Welsh Gaelic is similar to German in that the language combines shorter words into one enormous word. 

So many letters, so few vowels.

Grabbing a snack in place-that-is-too-long-to-be-named, we headed onto Conwy to see the small town and the Castle. 

Conwy is tough to reach because it is surrounded by medieval walls, and there are only small arches on the walls. Since we were in a large touring bus, the odds were against us making it through the arch. 

Our driver, Pedro: “Never tell me the odds.”

Most of the group toured Conwy’s castle while some stayed in town for some shopping. The castle was amazing; of the castles I have seen in Europe, this was the most castle-ly castle. 

In the castle, we could climb the walls and parapets for phenomenal views of the surrounding countryside. 

We found also that the castle was great for hijinks. 

Here, Sebastian was maintaining his blood oath never to touch another person in a photograph.

Conwy is a quaint little town with many small shops and cafes. 

It was a place where all of your dreams could come true.

Most travelers ate a nutritious lunch of ice cream while we were in town and then said goodbye to Conwy. 

We crossed the northern part of Wales and made our way into England. One thing we noticed on the drive through Britain – sheep everywhere. 

The 378th flock seen over a two hour period.

With several stops along the way, we arrived at our hotel in near Windermere. 

Fortunately, we had about an hour before dinner to explore the lake. 

In a Lake District miracle, Sebastian put his arm around another human being in friendship for the first time.

After dinner we thought it would be a good idea to walk into town. 

It was NOT a good idea. Unless, that is you brought the kind of environmental protection gear necessitated by the Lake Country rain.

What we discovered during our trip to the British Isles is that when a forecaster predicts a 50% chance of rain, what they really mean is that, “It will absolutely rain, and there is a 50% chance that it will stop before the next calendar day.” We did manage to go the mile into town to see some sites. 

Like this house, that somehow was a home to 8 people. This was the most amazing fact learned on the entire trip.

8 regular sized people or 1 James.

Then on the return trip it REALLY started raining.

And this is what the British Isles do to suckers who trust rain forecasts.

Next up – travels through the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall, and our arrival in Edinburgh. 

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