And so it begins!

I am sitting in my room at the Stonehouse Inn B&B in St. Bees, Cumbria, UK. For the past 20 hours or so I have forbidden myself to remark how smoothly this trip has gone so far. Every flight – three of them – was on time and without turbulence. Every connection went smoothly with sufficient time for trips to the loo or to grab a coffee or a bite to eat. The trains were ON TIME* and comfortable as we traveled from Manchester Airport to this cozy little seaside village. Checking into the bed and breakfast was a delight with the proprietress and her daughter deftly scheduling our gluten free breakfasts and quick with advice for booking a meal on a Monday evening. And the advance work of MACS Adventures, the Colorado/Glasgow company that booked this trip for us, has been magnificent to the point where the B& B was ready with a printed card with our entire itinerary ready for the sherpa service to lug our bags from destination to destination for the entire trip. So now, at last, as I am settled in my room and ready for a shower and shave and perhaps a short nap, I can state fearlessly that this trip has gone so smoothly that I must pinch myself.

[*the trains were so on time that we nearly missed the connection to St. Bees in Barrow-in-Furness. We boarded with SECONDS to spare. The train was moving before we sat down ]

A couple of random observations to offer:

– the Airbus A350-900 filled with hundreds of souls and all of their baggage, has no business at all attempting to fly! This machine is an engineering miracle!
– “The Station” (i.e. the rail and bus terminal at Manchester Airport) is where the common man dwells – – and smokes cigarettes – a LOT of cigarettes
– our first view of the mountainous terrain of the Lake District as we approached along the railway form Barrow-in-Furness is beautiful, scary and inspiring – for this is where we shall be walking tomorrow.

PS I had a pint of Strongbow and Mike dared to quaff a half of Guinness.

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