Lake District, Roman Walls, and Edinburgh 

We woke up at our hotel in Windermere with some of our clothes just a bit damp from the previous night’s rain. Fortunately, we had a trouser press to dry clothes. Then we went down for the breakfast provided by the hotel.

Featuring the local specialty, porridge and whiskey

This hotel also allowed us to order a hot breakfast as part of our free meal, and they offered an American breakfast of pancakes and bacon.

When we got on the bus to head north, we first recognized Brennan’s birthday on June 14th.

Stop number one was the home that Romantic poet Willam Wordsworth had in Grasmere: Dove Cottage.

Although larger than the small Windermere house, Dove Cottage was not large.

There was a room that was cooler than the rest due to an underground stream flowing under it.

This was the best air conditioning we had encountered in the British Isles.

Several of the Wordsworth’s personal items were in the cottage, including William’s passport.

The passport has no picture and describes William at the age of 66: “Forehead – bald; Eyebrows – white; Eyes – grey; Nose – medium; Chin – round; Face – oval; Complexion – ordinary.” As vague as this sounds, you would still be almost as likely to recognize William from his passport as you would be to recognize me from my expired modern-day passport.

And another thing that has not changed over time is the trouble humans have planning ahead.

Here, William failed to leave enough room for all the letters in “Wordsworth.” You can almost feel his rage across the centuries. I’m with you, William.

It’s always striking how small nineteenth century beds are. This is the bed William shared with his wife.

This bed isn’t quite large enough for one human to share with Laura’s 14 pillows.

The garden behind the cottage was beautiful and provided excellent views.

The Dove Cottage received our travel group’s stamp of approval.

In fact, the experience was so inspirational that some people finally decided to learn how to Irish dance.

The village of Grasmere looked like something a movie studio would have set up to reproduce a quaint English town.

Quaintness factor = 500%
The highlight was a small (and, of course, quaint) bakery specializing in gingerbread.

The smell of gingerbread in the bakery was amazing.

From Grasmere, we travelled north to see surviving portions of Hadrian’s Wall. We lucked out on this day, avoiding the rain and getting clear views.

At the wall, we also got a change from the English sheep.

Now we’ll have to check the box for “proximity to livestock” on our customs forms when we return to the U.S.
Like Dove Cottage, Hadrian’s Wall received the group’s stamp of approval.

On our way north, we learned some important lessons.

A few hours after we left Hadrian’s Wall, we crossed into Scotland.

In a dream-come-true moment, Sebastian found a way to stand even farther from other people in a photo.

After we checked into the hotel, we took a quick tour of the city center on our way to dinner.

Fortunately, our travelers mastered the lessons learned on the trip north, and we were able to navigate the city center without a single student standing on a toilet. As far as I know.

Gold stars for everyone!

Our dinner was at an Italian restaurant. Apparently, Scotland’s cuisine is so bad that the no one thinks visiting American teenagers will eat it.

This region of Britain was known as Mid-Lothian, and we found the county building in Edinburgh.

It was like being in the alternate universe where Midlothian wasn’t ridiculously hot in July.

Next up – a full day in Edinburgh.

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