Our original plan for this weekend was to go to Luxembourg. We had visited once previously, on a day trip from an Esperanto event back in 2009, and we didn't either remember it very well or have any decent photos. But then, of course, Covid-19 happened and our flights to Luxembourg were cancelled by BA quite some time ago. We didn't initially make any alternative plans, but when we were driving back from Scotland a few weeks ago, we were pleasantly surprised by what a beautiful county Northumberland seemed to be. Tim did a bit of research on booking.com and found a nice hotel with a vacancy in a location very close to the Scottish border. To break up the journey a bit, we decided to travel partway on the Friday evening, stopping overnight in Yorkshire.
We didn't end up setting off quite as early as we'd hoped on Friday, so it was already dark by the time we arrived at the Hazlewood Castle hotel where we were staying. Once we'd checked in we could just see enough to be able to tell that we'd have a lovely view out the window in the morning.
Sure enough, when we woke up in the morning we did
After breakfast we set off for a stroll around the grounds.
It wasn't the sunniest of days, but it was still really pretty here.
And we could actually see a little bit of blue sky behind the hotel
The hotel is set in really lovely grounds.
And the building itself is really impressive too.
It was definitely a nice way to start the morning
We didn't have fixed plans for the rest of the day, but we knew we weren't far away from Harrogate - a town we've never visited before - so we decided to make that our first stop.
It looked really pretty as we were driving through it, but then once we'd managed to park and started strolling around we found it quite busy and difficult to stay socially distanced from people.
It seems to be a really green town though, with lots of parks and open spaces.
There were some really beautiful flower displays...
...and we also found this slightly strange tree stump which looked like a replica of the Eiffel Tower, among other things, had been carved into it.
The sky was getting cloudier as we walked around and it felt like it might start to rain soon, so we decided to head back to the car.
Our next destination was York, a journey of around 30 minutes.
York is beautiful but wow, if I thought Harrogate was busy, York took busyness to a whole other level!
We mostly kept our masks on while walking around, because staying the right distance away from people was really difficult. Especially on narrow streets like the Shambles!
We made our way down to the river, where things were a bit less chaotic. The water level looked really high though!
We had lunch in a wine bar which was nice and quiet, although it did have markers on the walls to show where flood waters had come up to in previous years. Some of them were over our heads!
After lunch it was back to the car for the rest of our journey northwards. I've always thought of York as being quite a northern town but we had another three hours to drive before we reached our final destination of the Tillmouth Park hotel where we are staying for the next couple of nights.
The hotel is really lovely
For some reason we got our room upgraded, so it's much bigger than I was expecting and we have windows on both sides.
And the view out the windows is really pretty
Fingers crossed the weather is going to be dry tomorrow and we'll be able to explore Northumberland, while avoiding people