Basically, it was already designed by the New York Times writers, we just had to lay out the route, (which wasn't easy before the age of google maps and mapquest), and then manage to get the time off.
Above is pictured the Crown Inn, est. 1585, also on our first tour.
This tour took us from London to the Black Hills of Wales. Best pub that year was the Skirrid Mountain Inn, (pictured above). It was also on the first tour. It is considered to be possibly the oldest in Great Britain. It is famous for being the site where 72 people were hung within its walls.
The third year we first traveled to Elie, Scotland to visit the Ship Inn in an attempt to continue the list. Then, we traveled even further north to the beautiful Isle of Skye, and on return through the Lake District of England where we were fortunate enough to find the Kirkstone Pass Inn, (photo above taken in front of the Inn).
We decided to change it up a bit this year by taking a tour of the BVI's, and we might have hit the jackpot. Besides of all the great pubs we found throughout the entire BVI chain, we came upon this gem above,The Pirates Pub on Saba Rock. Sold and destroyed in 1997, it still stands as one of our best finds of the history of the EPCA.
Because of the overwhelming success of our last venture sailing the Caribbean, we decided to do it again, this time heading further south into the Grenadines. St. Vincent was our starting port, and we did make it to Mystique, but mechanical failures, (our dingy sunk, and our sail tore), caused us to cut our sailing short and head back to.....yep, Saba Rock, (that's us above with Burt Kilbrides).
Thanks to our great Captain, Mike Pantall, our exploration of the French and Dutch Islands was a huge success. We sailed to Anguilla, St. Marteen, and St. Barths, which, back in the '90's was quite different than today. We then returned to Saba Rock and the Pirate's Pub to visit our now good friend, Burt Kilbrides, the Pirate of the Carribbean, and owner of "the Rock". That's St. Barths above.
Tired of sailing, we rented a trawler this year. It took us to the US Virgin islands, the BVI's, numerous tiny out islands and of course, a return to Saba Rock, (Saba Rock is seen above, it is the tiny island which held possibly the worlds best pub!)
And that we did, starting from Gatwick Airport England, through the south of England, ferry to Normandy, down the coast and into Paris!
(above, the Old Neptune Pub, Whitstable, England).
So intrigued by France, we had to return, this time from Paris out to Brittany where we explored the Celtic region of France. (above, St. Michaels Mount, on the border between Normandy and Brittany)
Still not through with France, this tour took us from Paris, down into the Loire valley to explore the Chateaus, Vineyards, and of course, pubs! (pictured above is one of the many chateaus we visited).
Continuing our love for France, this tour to us to Provence, the hill villages, Van Gogh, Roman Ruins, ancient castles, and prehistoric stone structures, the area has it all...(above, Gordes, Provence, France).
On our way through the burden, County Clare,we stopped at the Poulnabrone Dolmen and had ourselves a bit of a 'hoolie'!.
There wasn't a village in Italy that we didn't find amazing. However, Venice during Mardi Gras has got to be one of our most memorable experiences.
Irish Mor was a delight, and so was Paddy, (pictured above), who offered us a few tunes on his squeeze box. We paid him in pints in the local pub afterwards.
Irish Meain, was a bit desolate, but it offered a glimpse as to how Ireland was in the past. There actually wasn't many pubs, however, the local grocery offered us a pint.
In Ireland, you really have to go out of your way not to find a decent pub. We have a long list of favorites. Pictured above is the Queens Bar, in Ennis, mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses.
We couldn't get enough of Ireland, every trip was unique in its own way. Above, the crawlers enjoy a relaxing moment in the shadow of Kilclooney dolmen.
We landed in Vienna, proceeded north to Cesky Crumlov, to Budvar, Prague...then south to Budapest, ending up in Vienna...above is "The Bone Church"
A Scotland tour from Edinburgh through Sterling, to the Isle of Mull, and even further out to the Isle of Iona. Pictured above, a crawler in the Ancient Abbey of Iona.
This year we traveled through Scotland, England, and down the west coast of Wales. One of the highlights, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, pictured above, considered the oldest pub in England.
From Madrid we traveled south through Man of La Mancha territory,Ronda, to Granada, to Gibraltar, Seville, Jabugo, and into Portugal. Above, inside the Alhambra
The Orkneys interested us because it supposedly contained the highest concentration of prehistoric monuments than anywhere else on the planet. We weren't disappointed, above, a crawler next to one of the Standing Stones....
Piqued by our trip to the Orkneys last year, we decided to make the move and explore some of the most northern islands of Great Britain, the Shetlands. We went during Up Helly AA festival in January, a "must do" on anyones list!
This year brough us down to southern England, Devon and Cornwall. Above, the Admiral Benbow Pub in Penzance, visited in 1990 and 2010, (still a great local!).
Although Lindisfarne is truly an amazing site, Liverpool just stole our hearts. To visit Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, the Beatles local haunts is truly an experience you just cannot forget. Our favorite has got to be the Penny Lane Wine Bar, where looking out the window you see all the sights mentioned in the famous song.
This trip took us to Minorca and Barcelona. One of the highlights was a photo with the Euro-Cup at Camp Nou. Bar Tomas, just up the road wasn't bad either, (they're famous for the best potatoes in Barcelona!). However, our favorite haunt was the Bar Antiquari, just outside the exit of the museum in Barrio Gotic.
Made famous by the movie "The Way" the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela was at least partially covered by the tour this year, however not in the standard route via walking, but in a car. We were still not disappointed.
2014 brought us to Greece! Corinth, Adelphi, Athens, Thermopylae, Sounion, Tiryns, Epidaurus, Mycenae, & Nafplion, were amongst the ancient sites visited. They were all as memorable as you can imagine. Pictured above, Adelphi.
After taking the master class in Guinnes Pouring at the Brewery in Dublin we headed up the coast, taking in numerous sites which were utilized in Game of Thrones. Pictured above are the Dark Hedges, not too far from Bushmills Town, and our favorite pub there, Finn McCools.
Yes, that would be us above, in Leuven. However,the Belgian city of Brugge, besides from being one of the more beautiful villages we have been fortunate enough to visit, also withholds the Cafe Vlissinge, which is "Quite Possibly the Oldest Pub in the World". And, it is highly recommended by the EPCA!
We landed in Oslo, proceeded across the country via train, train, ferry, bus, train, to Bergen. We then flew up to Tromso, 200 miles inside the arctic circle, to view the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, they were not to be seen on the days we were there. However, the Norway in a Nutshell Tour is strongly advised for anyone who wishes to see a great slice of Norway. The trip up the smallest fjord in the world alone was worth the trip.
A brilliant tour indeed! Starting at Castle Coombe, (a great coffee shop in the stables!), to Cheddar Gorge, (good cheese), and into Dartmoor and the Cridford Inn. Then, to Burgh Island, (photo above with the Pilchard Inn), you can only walk there at low tide. Then onto Dartmouth, Lyme Regis, Salisbury, and finally the Ostrich Inn, (1106 and model for Sweeney Todd), with a mini-crawl through Windsor.
This year we went to Spain, and if you are going to look for Hemingway, you got to go to Pamplona! From Madrid, Medinaceli, Pamplona, Zuggaramurdi, Hondarribia, France, San Sebastian, Zumaia, and Gaztelugatxe, (for the Game of Thrones Fans), to Guernica, Santillana del Mar, Burgos, and finally Alcala de Henares. The tour was great and Hemingway WAS found in a cafe in Pamplona as expected!
Bescalu and its thousand year old bridge.
A side trip to Nantucket was in order since the weather was perfect and the ferries were running.