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About A Week: It's So Much Nicer....

Peter Hinchliffe likes to go travelling, but he's never happier than when walking the hills of home.

Farmers were busy making hay near the lakes and rivers in the valley bottoms, but in the midst of high summer there was still snow on the mountains.

Very beautiful, those Bavarian Alps. Spectacular castles, the sort you see in Walt Disney cartoons, old churches and quaint villages. Ancient cities begging to be explored. Regensberg, Munich…

And after raising a stein or two of good German beer in Munich’s Hofbrauhaus, which holds 3,000 jolly customers, most folk would readily agree that this is one of Europe’s most attractive regions.

I enjoyed every minute of my one and only visit to Bavaria. Likewise Lanzarote in the Canary Isles. Been there once. Enjoyed it's stark, volcanic beauty. Appealing in its own particular way.

Perhaps the biggest lure offered by the Canary Isles is the prospect of sunshine when northern Europe is still plodding through late winter glooms.

I enjoy holidays. Who doesn’t? In an odd sort of way I even enjoy the hassle and hustle of airports, accepting them as the necessary preliminary to a new adventure.

It’s so easy to go out from England to other countries these days. And so cheap too, if you shop around. You can fly to various European destinations for a third of the price of a return rail ticket from Yorkshire to London. And sometimes for a lot less than that.

A couple of months ago wife Joyce and I flew from Leeds/Bradford airport to Dusseldorf. The cost of a return ticket: £2. Don't ask me how the airline manages to stay in business. Jet2 seems to be thriving though. And as long as those bargain fares are on offer, we'll be packing our bags and soaring away into continental Europe.

Though wherever we go we are aware of leaving behind the most beautiful island on Earth. That is how Lonely Planet described Britain in one of its international travel books.

The guide rhapsodized about the astonishing variety of the scenery and the attractions on offer for tourists who come to the land of my birth.

“You can immerse yourself in history, marvel at majestic cathedrals, eat in world-class restaurants or friendly local cafes, down a pint in a traditional pub, stroll through chocolate-box villages, hike over wild moors or dance all night in an ultra-trendy club.

“And all in a country in which it takes about 12 hours to drive end-to-end.’’

The guide described London as a truly great capital, Manchester as interesting and vibrant and York as magnificent.

My words! It’s enough to bring on an attack of the Shakespears!

This sceptred isle…
This other Eden, demi-paradise…
This precious stone set in the silver sea…

I live in the Pennine Hills, five miles from the center of a Yorkshire mill town which was in at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Yet there is not a sign of industry from my windows. Just fields and trees.

While eating breakfast 20 minutes ago I was looking out on hill fields in which cattle and sheep were grazing.

Bavaria, Lanzarote, America’s cowboy country, southern France and inland Spain… All very good for holidays.

But as the holiday jets wing their way back on the approach to Manchester or Leeds, I always feel an urge to make like Sinatra:

It’s very nice to go travelling
To Paris, London and Rome
It’s oh so nice to go travelling
But it’s so much nicer
Yes it’s so much nicer to come home.

To come home and see Castle Hill, to walk through the fields of Lepton and hear skylarks singing, to look out from a hilltop upon a twenty-mile Pennine skyline...

What did I do that was so good as to bring the reward of living where I live?

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