After a couple of months spent home when I went back from my Up North and Down South trips, it was time to start over again. As usually - why should it be easy, when it can be tough - North for the winter! Here are the part 1 and part 2, now let's see where Windy islands tour part 3, will lead us... 😎😆
You can also fallow the trip in Polarsteps. Not to overload the post with pictures, most of the photos you can find at the end of it divided into galleries.
06 January 2023 – Carlisle, England
Well, who said it would be easy…
Family emergency issues required Taila and Evie to travel in a few days, so I had to urgently find a port again.
With no host left unchecked in Workaway, I decided to save the day and gain at least a few more days, so – Couchsurfing is back in action.
My goal was Carlisle – I had to pass through it anyway, regardless of the next direction. I just had to give things a little more time to happen – after the dozens (probably hundreds) of emails, something had to happen!
Carol accepted my request to stay with her for 3 days. Afterwards… Afterwards we’ll see… 🤷🏻♀️
In the meantime, I got three new dogs (Dimitareeeeeeeeee, your Alpha dragged his leg (Bulgarian saying), followed by a dog after a dog, sometimes by three of them!) and a nice company. A strong woman, admirable lady, fighting life with passion and a positive attitude!
And I’d finally have time to see this town, not just hop from bus to bus. 😜
8 January 2023 – Lake District, England
Not that it’s for a first time, but instead of three days, I stayed a whole week. At Carol’s invitation, of course.
This incredibly strong and tenacious woman whose electric wheelchair stands and gathers dust after she decides she’s going to struggle and passes on a regular, manual wheelchair. Too easy is not helpful – we’re like minded with her!
After the initial shock and despair of the accident, she decides to fight on – life is far from over! Not only did she come out of the doldrums and got fit, but she also “walked” the Camino + bunch of other similar challenges.
From being completely unable to move the lower part of her body, after all her stubbornness and persistence, today she can even stand up straight and walk around the room a bit.
Amazing woman with an amazing will! Hats off to you, Carol!!
So, not only did I have time to walk around Carlisle, but around the area as well. Carol decided to take me for a walk to Lake District.
Since I wasn’t looking at where I was going at this point – my goal was just to find a shelter for the next few days and then the next few and so on, I had no idea that I had ended up so close to a national park until Carol put me on the bus and an hour later I was “Wow!”.
The day was typically English weather – rain and wind all day long. Something that didn’t bother Carol at all, but definitely got on my nerves, especially since I got all soaked wet, along with my camera.
Still, we had a great time. I didn’t see much because of the weather, but Carol’s company and the 16 kilometres walk along the river through the woods was definitely worth it.
Thank you, Carol! 🤗
13 January 2023 – Glasgow, Scotland
Carol’s idea was to relieve me of the stress of having to leave in 3 days and give me time until things happened properly. As I mentioned – she and I are on the same frequency.
The idea worked. I kept looking and sending emails and requests (I’m afraid to look at my “sent” section). I was convinced something had to happen, it just needed a little time. I couldn’t have been sent into a dead end! Even if it is a dead end, there has to be a way to get over the wall.
I just had to find it!
So, I arranged the next step – 3-4 days with a Couchsurfing host in Glasgow. Then… Yeah, “then” has materialised itself on my last day with Carole as we sat for coffee in her favourite cafe. Suddenly message after message started arriving from a lady I’d sent a request to go after Glasgow. But more about that later…
I had a few days to explore Glasgow, hoping it won’t be raining too much, as my shoes had totally given up and were in blatant need of replacement…
So – on my first day around the city, luck was with me and the weather was lovely (with one slight exception in the afternoon). I didn’t manage to go everywhere I’d planned, simply because it turns out that here, as in Edinburgh, all (or nearly all) museums are free.
Mama mía! Well, how to miss that!
The first museum stunned me, even though I don’t understand anything about cars. It wasn’t the cars. What fascinated me was the atmosphere, the history, the way everything was presented, and the exhibits themselves, of course – completely real and authentic!
I could have spent all day there, but wanted to see something else of the city as well. And I ended up in a second museum! Well, I’m sorry, but I had to get out of there quicker. The day is pretty short and I have all of Glasgow waiting for me…
16 January 2023 – Glasgow, Scotland
I spent 4 days in Glasgow. My host didn’t use any heating (perhaps only in his room), so I was decently freezing, and the bathing matter was quite complicated in this situation. But one can survive for 4 days.
I joined an organised tour of the City Chambers of Glasgow. Trying to find the oldest church – Glasgow Cathedral, I again found an interesting cemetery like in Paris, so I took a walk around it.
On Tuesday morning, I was supposed to go to Jaspreet – a couchsurfing lady who, knowing my situation, had offered to stay as long as I wanted and as long as I needed. The idea was to do it like in Workaway and I would work and help her 4-5 hours a day.
Glasgow is just covered with amazing street graffiti – absolutely stunning! You can see more of them in the gallery below.
It sounded great and would saved my pretty ass until March, when I have had an arrangement.
17 January 2023 – Braco, Scotland
Of course, in my situation, combos and manoeuvring are an ongoing process. I had another appointment before Jaspreet but I cancelled it as it was only for 2-3 days and I was going to stay here for nearly a month or so.
After two trains and a bus, at noon I found myself somewhere in the middle of nowhere and a smiling Indian woman appeared to meet me. We got along very well, we talked for hours, I accompanied her to a nearby town (or village).
She had let two of the rooms in the house on a hotel basis and gave one to me. Needless to say, it was comfortable and cozy. She and her husband were friendly and hospitable people.
I felt safe! I could spend some time here. I didn’t want to stay too long, even with the housekeeping arrangement, so I kept looking for an actual Workaway, but until then I was relieved to have a roof over my head and lovely hosts.
20 January 2023 – Killin, Scotland
Iain, Jaspreet’s husband, was due to go to Killin and offered to take me with him, which I didn’t even think about and jumped straight into the new (second hand) boots.
While he did his job there, I managed to make a crucible through the village and mostly around the river and waterfalls.
20 January 2023 – Perth and Kinross, Scotland
In the evening I was invited along with Iain and Jaspreet to an organised Scottish evening dedicated to the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Being a Scottish evening, everyone had prepared a traditional Scottish meal (well, how traditional dating from the 19th century, but anyway…). There was Haggis (similar to our blood sausage); neeps and tatties (literally turnips and potatoes), and Jaspreet’s prepared Rumbledethump (boiled cabbage and potatoes – unexpectedly delicious, actually).
Iain recited poems by Burns, then gave us a piano concert accompanied by flute.
It was a really wonderful and interesting evening, something to remember! Thank you!
(and I took the napkin with Scottish words as a souvenir) 🤣
22 January 2023 – Dunblane, Scotland
Expectations are usually a problem, and I was definitely better at the times when I was able to let go of them. Apparently I’ve lost track of it, if I had to be kicked from behind so I can come back to my senses.
Something happened and I had to urgently find a new place again.
Once again about the random / accidental things…
My first thought was of Lyle, who lived nearby, but with whom I had changed arrangements 3 times already and there was just no way I was going to ask him to take me in again. So I started looking for other options. Yeah right, however at that point Lyle texted me “Are you still looking for a host?”
Pure coincidence, huh?…
We made an appointment for a week later, and the next very day things became urgent and the arrangement changed (once again!) to the next day! Lyle, you are a treasure!
So, on Sunday afternoon I found myself in Dunblane in front of a coffee at the nearby Marks and Spencer’s cafe to wait for Lyle who was in Glasgow for the weekend.
24 January 2023 – Dunblane, Scotland
Lyle proved to be an extremely pleasant host, conversations went effortlessly in all directions, no tension, expectations or pretensions. I felt as visiting an old friend.
In the meantime, in addition to looking for the next place to stay, I’ve started looking for an option for June when my Inverness arrangement ends. It had to be outside the UK as I was only allowed to be in the country for 6 months and without work rights of course. So I thought of Ireland again – I had seen too little of this beautiful island, also it was close, high standard, and in the EU, which gave me the right to work.
So I started spamming Workaway about jobs after May. One of the replies I got was from a lady which was looking for someone for February, but if she needed someone for June, she would email me in addition.
Well, there goes coincidence again, you say, hmm?
I immediately texted back that I was actually looking for a February-March option too, though I’m currently in Scotland. Despite the plane tickets etc, it was worth a shot, given it was a paid position. As thrifty as I am, my savings are melting away as I hang around Scotland with no job at all. Even if I don’t get rich there, at least I won’t be as broke.
We had a chat with the lady and the deal was done! I had to go in February and stay until the end of March. She wasn’t too happy that I had to be gone for April-May, but we agreed that I could be back after that if we both agree it is a good idea. I explained to her that, tempted as I was, I couldn’t cancel the arrangement I already had in Scotland. I’m definitely not having fun flying Roberto back and forth, but I gave my word, and I always keep my word!
The only inconvenience was that I wasn’t supposed to be in place until the 21st of February, and by then I had almost another month in the unknown.
In the meantime, I saw a post on FB with good news from Miska (my host in Dublin, with whom we become good friends) and wrote to her to see how things were going.
An hour later, I had a ticket to Dublin for next week!