Just a quick "live" update before I go to bed - and probably the last of my "live" posts anyway, as tomorrow is our last day here.
Tuesday morning will see us on our long way back to Germany, and right now I find it hard to believe I will be sitting at my desk at the office on Wednesday morning again.
Today, we took the bus from Ripon to Harewood and revisited Harewood House.
We went there last year, but the day then had been so rainy that we focused on the house itself (which was impressive - see last year's blog posts; simply type "Harewood House" in the search box in the top left corner of my blog if you like) and ventured out in the gardens only very briefly.
It was very windy today, but sunny and dry, and so we were able to thoroughly explore the gardens. Many more pictures will be on my blog over the next weeks; for now, here are some my sister took with her mobile:
Admittedly, as much as I liked the gardens today (and the house last year), I think Harewood House and everything it entails is overpriced - especially if you compare it with places such as Fountains Abbey.
Admission to the grounds (and NOT the house!) is 12,50 pounds per person. If one should feel inclined to take a tour on the pleasure boat on the lake, that adds another 3 pounds. Go for some explanatory talk in the house or garden and they charge you again. Worst of all - try and have some tea and a sandwich, and you'll very easily not only be around 8 pounds poorer (5 quid for a bit of cheese between two slices of very ordinary bread...?) but also have wasted at least half an hour just waiting to be allowed to place your order.
Wasn't the original idea of self-service tea rooms that to speed up the process and not have people wait for waiters and waitresses? Well, at Harewood House, they seem to think it takes two inexperienced girls to make one cappuccino (not for me nor my sister, but for someone in front of us in the queue) while the rest of the customers in the queue wait... and wait... and wait.
On a fine Sunday in high season (school holidays!), places like that should have staff who know their business. And looking at the money they want for even the tiniest bit of food, they should be very well able to pay professionally trained people.
That apart, we did have a nice day out and enjoyed the beautiful gardens, but will definitely not return to Harewood any time soon.