Saturday, October 11, 2014

Our Castle in England

I'm back in Minneapolis from my travels, so it is a priority to plan future travels.

Today I booked an entire English castle for 2016. It's just a little castle, actually a gatehouse, it's only for a week, and it costs about the same as two hotel rooms.

I want to introduce my nephews and their parents to the area I grew up in Northeastern England. Morpeth Castle is a good base. It dates from about 1350, and it has a parapet where an almost-9-year-old and an almost-8-year-old can imagine pouring boiling oil on invading forces.

I found myself putting together a document about the trip, including the following mundane details:

Time difference
  • +6 hours. Noon in Minneapolis is 6:00 p.m. in the UK.
  • We travel with what we can carry for one mile. Rick Steves has great ideas. 
  • Mercifully the boys will be old enough; we probably won’t have to carry them.
  • You might want to bring at least one set of quick-dry clothing that can be hand-washed.
  • The castle does not have a washer and dryer, or, for that matter, a hair dryer. (It has a dishwasher, though.)
  • A launderette in Morpeth does service washes (we drop off).
  • Morpeth Castle has no WiFi. (And no television.) Mobile Internet reception may be iffy.
  • Free WiFi is often available in coffee shops, pubs, etc.
  • You’ll find all the standard stuff: the  boys will not starve. There’s a Morrison’s supermarket in Morpeth (yes, they have a range of peanut butter), as well as smaller stores (butchers, bakers, etc.).
  • We’ll probably, generally, eat dinner out; e.g., there’s plenty pubs.
Getting around
  • Foot, train, and bus.
  • Your ATM card will work in the UK.
  • Credit cards are as widely accepted as State-side. As in the States, Amex is not always accepted.
  • I will be happy to interpret for you. I may not always understand, though.
  • 230v, so make sure you only bring dual-voltage devices. 
  • I'll bring two UK outlet to USA non-grounded adapters. (Note the adapters do not change the voltage--they deliver the full 230v.) 
  • I will also bring a USA multi-adaptor plug that will let us use two chargers with one UK outlet. (Note the adapter does not change the voltage--they deliver the full 230v.)

My experience is: if you take care of the mundane details, chances are the journey will be good.

Note: I took the photograph at the top of this post in 2012. Here's more photos from that reconnoiter visit. 

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