LNP 04 - 04 - 2010

Nearing the end... We have recently reached the United Kingdom, a part of the world that I know many of us were looking forward to. Finally we can have all the tap water we want (for free), can use toilets that are not simply holes in the floor (also free) and people are speaking English! It's not until you don't have those 3 simple things that you realize how priceless they are! Besides those top 3 items, there are several other reasons I have loved being in the UK- things like double decker buses, phrases like "cheers", fish 'n chips once a day, hilarious and dry British humor, the British accent, etc. But I could go on forever about that. One great thing about that last day in London was that my sister Brittany joined us! She'll be with us for the last week of the trip. So after spending several solid days in London sightseeing and visiting all the famous places (Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the Tate Modern), we boarded a bus and ventured north to Malham, a tiny village at the edge of a national park. The scenery is just how you would imagine- rolling hills, lots of sheep, dry set stone walls, and winding roads through the countryside. During the drive, I caught myself simply staring out the window and smiling to myself like a little kid. Once we made it to the village, we checked into our youth hostel and quickly got ready to hit the trails. A kind man in the park center instructed us on which way to go and off we went! We wound our way along a small creek (or beck as they call it), up several hundred steps to the top of a cliff overlooking the entire valley. The fields looked like a big patchwork and sun was hitting land in the distance. I stood on the edge of the cliff and let the forceful wind sweep up over me as I looked down to the trail below. The 2.5 hour hike was full of adventure as we struggled to stay on our feet over slippery rocks, maintain a mild sense of cleanliness, and make sure we were staying on the correct trail. Simply put, yesterday was one of my favorite days of the trip. We were out of the city, enjoying natural scenery, and getting some fresh air and exercise. The end of the day was just as great as we ate dinner in the only restaurant in the village. And I must admit that nearly half of our group sat in the hostel lounge for several hours to have a marathon of Disney movies. We watched Homeward Bound, Lady and the Tramp, and Babe. And yes, they were on VHS tapes. And yes, we were completely entertained. I won't forget that evening. It is the closest thing we have gotten to feeling at home. I had to remind myself that we were sitting in a hostel and not someone's living room as I looked around and saw people sprawled out over the couches and floor. It was a great day and a great memory to have of the last week of our romp around the world.

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