Travel Diaries: England & Scotland 2015 (1) – Boats, Durham and Once Brewed

And to England as well, but oh well, it’s the Scotland bit I was most excited about 🙂 On our first day, we visited Dover, Durham and went to bed in YHA Youth Hostel Once Brewed!

I’m absolutely not sure whether anybody cares about what we did while on this holiday, but as at least one friend asked, this seemed like an easy way to get it all down at once – one day at a time.

Day One: 10/09/2015: Dover-Durham-Once Brewed

We started our day at 05h30 (yes, that’s in the morning, and yes, it was painful) and got to our boat nicely in time – so much so, even, that we managed to get on a boat that arrived in Dover about half an hour earlier than we’d planned on! By this point, it was 09h10 local time, and we decided to start driving straight up – somehow we managed to avoid any really bad traffic in/around London, so we managed to get to a ‘services’ just before Cambridge around 11h30 and decided to have lunch (we brought sandwiches, although the  bf bought a Burger King menu – typical).
We then went up to Cambridge, and figured we’d briefly visit the city – that is: until we realised the centre is car-free, and as such, it would take way too much time. In the end, we just walked around on the parking for a bit, and then we drove further north.
Around 14h30, my bf started getting a bit tired (and as he was kind of the only driver, that meant we all got a break) so we stopped for a bit at a little playground – it’s always said that you have to move between longer bouts of driving, so of course it’s for that reason only that the swing set etc. got used.
By that point, we’d realised that the GPS had decided to send us over just about every secondary road to ever exist in that region, so we chose to ignore it, and managed to make our way to around Nottingham in about half the time it would’ve taken us had we listened to the GPS (stupid technology!).

Durham, our last (and most beautiful) stop that day!

After another break, we went straight up to Durham, where we parked the car and bought some fish and chips (best to get it out of the way, but it’s tradition that anytime we’re in England, we have to eat fish and chips at least once). We walked up to the castle and the cathedral, enjoyed the view, and then were pretty determined to get the last hour of driving over with – of course, that was not taking into account the (apparently) bad combination that is YHA and GPS.

We’d booked a one night-stay in YHA Once Brewed, but apparently, the street this YHA was supposed to be in? It didn’t exactly exist in the city it was supposed to be in – we ended up just driving to the centre of Bardon Mill, where the YHA should be, but there were no signs anywhere, and by that point, it was getting dark.

After trying to call the youth hostel (no reply), we ended up just calling at a house and hoping they’d be able to point us in the right direction. The first time, although the lady was very friendly and helpful, was a no go: we were pointed in the direction, alright – it just wasn’t exactly the direction of the youth hostel. After attempting to reach the youth hostel once again (still no reply, why do you even have a phone then???) we ended up knocking on another door, and this time, we actually got there.
The father and daughter living in the house first attempted to explain where to go, but as they couldn’t actually agree between the two of them, they eventually ended up just driving there, so all we had to do was follow – I forgot to ask their names, but should they ever, by chance come to read this: if you are the people who helped two girls and one boy get to YHA Once Brewed on the night of September 10th, 2015: Thank you SO MUCH – it’s people like you that give me faith in humanity :p

Anyways, we managed to get to the youth hostel, checked in, put all our stuff away, and went for the lounge, where there was internet. (Am I completely addicted to internet? Most likely. But, in this case, it was really just to send a long mail to my parents, explaining all the things we’d done so far, and – also – to ascertain them that we were, in fact, still all alive, and hadn’t crashed the car or anything).
After that, we went to sleep (it was much needed, we’d been up for about 20 hours at that point!), ready to actually do something other than driving the next day.

PS: if you were planning on ever going there, to YHA Once Brewed – the location is lovely, just make sure you get there a) before dark and b) with approximately 2 hours to spare, so you actually manage to get there 🙂