The Lake District in Cumbria, in North West England, is a stunning setting. It has inspired poets, writers, artists and academics over the years and still does so today. It is an environment where people can come to relax, enjoy walking and hiking, sailing or just breathing in the fresh air.
However there is so much to the region that some facets are rarely discussed. A first visit to this National Park should just be a taster. It is a place of infinite variety that needs a few return trips before anyone can claim to have a grasp of all it has to offer.
There is plenty of water in this National Park, however, there is only one lake in the Lake District and that is Bassenthwaite! All the other lakes are described as ‘Water’ or ‘Mere’; simply known by their main name without the ‘Lake’ suffix. They are essentially all the same of course, but this does make a good trick question in a quiz, though it may cause an argument with the question master.
Bassenthwaite is fairly close to Keswick and there is a good chance of seeing an animal around there that has become endangered in the UK.
To even compile this list is a mammoth task of thought, deliberation and counter-argument. It is therefore not going to be made that much more convoluted by adding ranking order to the mix, and so…it’s chronological. There are great arguments for many inclusions which have not made this list and so it is with two guidelines that the following list must be read.
Firstly, an equal split has been given to events that were in some way causal effects to the creation of the United States as we know them today and to iconic moments that reflected the achievement of America or an American. Secondly, the inclusion of only one invention on this list is by no means as a result of an ignorance of the numerous world changing contributions the US has made to global innovation, it is just in the author’s opinion, the most worthy of note.
The Pilgrims’ Landing at Plymouth Rock – Even if Columbus finding the “wrong India” was the first “if not for…” moment, this was perhaps the most important.
American Independence – Historians will argue over whether it was the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown or the actual ratification of the declaration of independence that marks the beginning of this first vital stage in US history, whichever it is, they combine together to signify the birth of this nation.
The End of the Civil War – The catalyst that put the “United” in United States of America.
Let Freedom Reign
If you’ve never been on a motorcycle, you have never really experienced freedom on the open road. There is nothing quite like the road racing along just inches beneath your boots, and a powerful engine vibrating between your legs. It’s time to cast off that steel crate you call a car, and straddle a motorcycle for once in your life. There’s nothing like the feeling of freedom you get from flying down the road exposed to the elements; and to the bugs; it’s why I recommend a full face helmet. If you have even gotten a bee trapped inside your ear you’ll understand why.
My First Bike
I had been without a car and hitchhiking everywhere for several months when a friend called me and offered me his Honda 350 that was broken down in his garage. He would take it to a local bike shop and if I would pay for it to be fixed, I could have it. I was so grateful I failed to mention that I had never been on a motorcycle in my life.
“How hard can this be?” I said to myself as I was paying the mechanic who fixed my new motorcycle.
He started it up so I could see it was running fine, and I got on. It’s a good thing he started it, because I’m not sure I could have accomplished it. I said a silent prayer to myself and eased out of the driveway. The plan was for me to follow my ex-wife home. She had agreed to accompany me just in case something happened.
I was more than a little surprised when I managed to ease out onto the highway without killing the engine. The only problem was I didn’t know how to shift out of first gear. My friend, and the guys at the shop, assumed I knew how the foot shifter worked so no one bothered to show me. I tried everything I could think of but could not get that thing out of first. For the whole twenty minute trip I redlined the engine thinking something else was wrong with the bike. It wasn’t until I got home and called my friend that I found out that you have to shift by slipping your toe under the foot peg and pulling up on it; problem solved.
Armed with the knowledge of how to shift I got back on my bike and went for a ride. It was a hot July day and there were miles of unexplored (by me) blacktop ahead of me. It was exhilarating! And scary. As I sped along I looked down occasionally, watching the road pass underneath my feet. At first it seemed awfully close. Slowly I began to relax and enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes when you’re speeding down the road absent seatbelts and two thousand pounds of steel, plastic, and rubber. It was just me my tee shirt, tennis shoes, and a holey pair of jeans. What a wonderful feeling it was, right up until that first bee flew into my helmet and into my ear.
Trembling in my boots, I eased over to the side of the road and killed the engine.
Your free time is what you make of it. Not everyone has the privilege of getting days or weeks off from their job, so it’s only logical that you’s want to take advantage of your vacation days. Depending on your preferences, those vacation days typically translate into time spent basking in checkered sunlight under a palm tree in the Bahamas, or snuggled up with your sweetie in a secluded ski resort. But here’s a thought: why go anywhere when you can stay right at home?
The idea of a “staycation” is off-putting. It’s understandable if you’re dissuaded by the prospect of mulling around the home on your days away from the office. But that’s just the thing: you don’t have to spend your days mulling around the home on your days away from the office.
Here are three ways to enjoy your staycation to the fullest:
- Get in the right mindset. The benefits to a staycation are plentiful; think about your budget! Long distance vacations are inevitably costly excursions – you’re eating out every night and paying for somewhere to sleep. And that’s not to mention whatever you end up paying for entertainment. Remind yourself of what an economic boon it’ll be to stay at home. Plus, think about all the environmental good you’re doing by not burning up gallons of fuel to take you across the map.
- Make a list of what you haven’t done, and then go out and do it. I’m sure you’re an interesting person, but I guarantee there’s somewhere you haven’t been or something you haven’t done right in your home town. Even if it’s as trivial as trying a new restaurant or strolling through a part of the community you’ve never been through, you should take advantage of what’s already at your fingertips. They say travel broadens the mind, but you’d be astounded by how much you can better yourself in your locale alone.
- Get your friends to do the same; the more the merrier when it comes to at-home entertainment. In fact, by persuading your close friends to take corresponding days off of work, you’ll be doing all of each other a service. You know those workaholic friends you can’t ever pry away from the office? Maybe you’re that friend? Regardless, use peer pressure to your advantage. A day off here and there is healthy for everyone.
Convinced? Start planning your next staycation today. It’s easy for you, and surprisingly more rewarding than you might have ever imagined.
Guest post by Sandy Moore, blogger at PennsylvaniaEnergy.org
Sporting tours have quickly become a popular holiday of choice for many tourists. It’s great to see the world’s bests sportsmen competing at the peak of their abilities but don’t forget the travel element too.
The World’s Best Sports trips have evolved in recent years and they now cover all the major sporting events across the globe. Whether you want to see Ashes cricket in Australia, the British Lions rugby tours or world cup football, there is a company that will have it covered.
The competitive element of sport tours therefore becomes the focal point of the trip but why should you miss out on a great travel experience? You’re heading for some of the world’s most exotic locations so take some time to see the scenery.
Check your itinerary
It’s true that sport tours can take you wherever you want to go so, if you’re in Australia for example, think of all the sights you can see. While in Sydney, don’t forget to look out for the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge and remember to take a boat trip along the bay to one of the outlying islands.
Anywhere in Australia can provide you with easy access to the country’s fascinating Interior while many coastal regions can offer the unforgettable experience of Whale Watching.
If you’re in South Africa, there are some incredible man-made sites and landmarks too but the highlight of your trip could be an African Safari. When you think about your destination you’ll undoubtedly be aware of all the things you can see or do so how do you make sure that these are covered?
Check with the tour operator because on many occasions, some of the local highlights will be included in the itinerary. Alternatively, make certain that there is enough free time in the trip for you to make your own arrangements.
If you’re taking part in a sports holiday then it can be easy to forget all the other, important aspects of a trip that you would normally consider as essential. If the tour operator is a professional, trustworthy organisation then there should be no concerns but if certain things are important to you then you should always check.
Questions to ask might include the availability of car hire or whether there are shops and other amenities within walking distance of your accommodation. Is there a pool or a gym and what are the dining facilities like?
Check the specifications with your provider before booking the trip and remember too to research your location. A quick internet search should provide you with all the information that you require and you should also be able to find all the details you need pertaining to the facilities in and around your base.
Taking a global sports tour doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice the travel element. Identify where you want to go and while watching some world class competitive sport, make sure that your itinerary takes in all the famous sites from your individual location.
Peter is a travel journalist with specialist knowledge of sport tours. With over 25 years of experience, he has written for a wide range of publications both in print and in the online world.