Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 25 -- Staithes to Saltburn, by bus; Saltburn to Skinningrove, 4 miles

I love my smartphone. Today I discovered a feature that makes traveling away from home much easier. First off, I’ve got to tell you that I’ve already used the features that allow me to make a call here in England by merely entering the phone number. No country code, no hassle, no setting up a special service with my provider. Just pick up the phone and make the call. I’ve been calling friends, making dinner reservations, calling hotels, etc., just like I would do at home. The cost is 20 cents U.S. per minute – less than the cost was when I used to buy a local SIM card.

But here’s what I discovered today. I boarded a bus to Saltburn. The bus was crowded and making many stops in places I’ve never been. I wasn’t sure which stop was closest to my hotel or when the bus would arrive there. The bus had W-fi, so I turned on my phone, and told it where I wanted to go. It immediately opened the GPS map, showing the bus moving along the roadways until it approached my stop. I pressed the bus’s “Stop” button so the driver knew I wanted to get off, but I suspect that the phone may have done it for me. Now I no longer have to anxiously watch for street signs to give me a clue where to get off the bus. Isn’t that great?

Following the route
Yeah, I know that 80% of my readers already knew smartphones do that, so what’s the big deal? But, hey, 80% of my readers are also walkers who’ve seen places just like I’m photographing, so what’s the big deal? I’m writing a lot of these posts for the two readers who haven’t got a clue about either smartphones or walking in England. You know who you are.
After my phone got me to Saltburn, I dropped my bags at the hotel, and set off exploring so I can share the scenery with those who’ve never seen such places. Saltburn (officially, Saltburn-by-the-Sea) is a major tourist destination. With its large sandy beach, fast food, beach-toy shops and buzzing arcade, it is Coney Island on a much smaller scale – but a British Coney Island with people standing in arrow-straight queues waiting to purchase cotton candy or to enter the lift to the upper town.

Town pier
Pier-railing cozies

Turning my back to the populated beach, I climbed to the top of the bluff to follow the Cleveland Way to the village of Skinningrove, 4 miles away. The bluffs were not so populated as the beach – Coney Islanders don’t walk.


Artwork on bluff

When I arrived at Skinningrove, I checked my smartphone for information on the bus back to Saltburn. It showed me the way to the bus stop, how long it would take me to walk there, which bus I should take, and what time the bus would arrive at the bus stop. It couldn’t have been easier.

Artwork at Skinningrove

I’m back at the hotel now. I won’t ask my phone for directions to the pub because I’ve got a natural sense of direction about some things.