Before we left for Taiwan in March this year, we did a tour around England and Scotland, something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time. We figured we needed around two weeks to do this properly as we wanted to do it at a leisurely pace, and not just spend all the time driving and not experiencing the trip itself. In the past, every time we had a long break, we always ended up going abroad on the assumption that we’ll always get a chance to do UK. Well, time was eventually running out, so now (before we depart for Taiwan) was the perfect opportunity.
一直以來都很想去一次英倫環島遊。我覺得最理想的旅程應該至少有兩個星期, 可以輕輕鬆鬆地玩, 不用花所有時間從一點駕車到另一點，而沒有機會真正地享受旅程。但每次有長假期時，我們又會跑到外國遠遊， 總覺得來日方長英國本土隨時也可以去。直到今年初我們打算移居台灣時，才想起下㳄不知要甚麼時候才會在英國停留較長時間，所以下定決心來一次英格蘭加蘇格蘭自駕遊。
I had two prior commitments at the beginning and end of March, and with 20 nights in between, that was enough time for us to travel comfortably up to Scotland and back again without rushing through places. My starting anchor was Adele’s concert in Manchester which was one of my earlier blogs, and the finishing anchor was a dinner reservation I made a whole year ago at a very popular 2 Michelin star gastropub called The Hands and Flowers near Oxford. In between we visited 16 beautiful places over the 3 weeks, drove around 2500 KM in total and completed our long overdue round the UK road trip.
我本身在三月初和三月底早已有安排，中間有二十天, 夠時間從倫敦來回蘇格蘭，中途還可慢慢玩。三月初的約會是去看愛黛兒演唱會，我之前已有貼文分享過。至於三月底約會我都覺得有點兒誇張。英國有二十多間米之蓮兩星餐廳，其中一間很有名的The Hands and Flowers在牛津附近，因極難訂位, 所以我在一年前已訂了晚飯的座位。結果在這兩個約會中間三週裡，我們總共駕駛超過2500公里，到訪十六處地方，完成這個我們期待已久的英倫環島遊。
Our first stop was Lichfield, a cathedral city north of Birmingham. Lichfield itself is fairly small and not as famous as many other English places like Oxford, Stratford upon Avon or Bath, but it has a rich history and bags full of character. During our short stopover, a visit to Lichfield Cathedral was a must. Although I’m not a religious person, I always find churches and cathedrals an oasis of calm. They have all stood the test of time, and each stone, pillar, statue and stained glass tells its own story. Lichfield is home to quite a few famous scholars such as Samuel Johnson and Erasmus Darwin to name a couple. Johnson wrote the authoritative Dictionary of the English Language back in the 18th century and his famous quote “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” still resonates with many. We went to the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum which had a second hand bookshop on the ground floor and exhibitions of his life and works upstairs. I thought the ground floor was a very fitting tribute to Johnson. Erasmus Darwin was Charles Darwin’s grandfather. Darwin senior was one of the leading intellectuals in the 18th century, as well as a successful physician, poet, philosopher and botanist. Unfortunately, the Erasmus Darwin House was closed when we went there so we could only wander around in the herb garden.
第一站我們到伯明罕以北一個叫Lichfield的市。Lichfield 不算大，較其他著名地方如牛津，Stratford upon Avon 或巴斯等, 那裡沒有太多人認識，但它有深厚歷史，市內建築物也很有特色。我們短暫停留一天，當然要參觀著名Lichfield大教堂。我沒有宗教信仰，但去旅行卻很喜歡參觀教堂。它們很寧靜，久經歲月，每一塊石頭，室內的一樑一柱，雕塑及玻璃窗都像在跟大家說自己的故事。另外Lichfield 可算是一個博學多才的地方，以往有好幾個著名學者曾在那裏居住, 我們同時也去參觀了两位名人故居。英語歷史中最具影響力的字典之一詹森字典編輯者塞繆爾。詹森就是在這裡出生。他的名句”When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” 到今天仍然有很多共鳴。塞繆爾。詹森出生博物館地下是一間二手書店, 實在是對詹森很真摯的尊重。另外著名生物學家達爾文的爺爺Erasmus Darwin也在Lichfield居住了很長時間。爺爺在十八世紀時，是一位著名學者，更是位很出色醫學家，詩人，哲學家及植物學家。可惜Erasmus Darwin House當天沒有開放，我們只能在屋外花園散步欣賞一點冬末僅有的草本植物。
Our next stop was Manchester, home to two of England’s best known football clubs. Had it not been for Adele’s concert we probably would have by passed this large city all together given that we lived in London and were more interested in the rural side of England. Anyway, whilst in Manchester, we found a great café in the afternoon to chill out and reflect on the new chapter ahead of us.
Next time, we will move to the Yorkshire Dales and the highest inn in UK. Remember to stay tuned!
下次我們會到Yorkshire Dales 及全英國海拔最高的酒吧，記住留意噢！