***I’ve finally found some time to write and I’m thumbimg away on a tablet from a hostel in Munich. The thumbimg is proving very difficult, please excuse typos.
A few weeks ago, wow time has flown, Dan and I had a 4 day trip in the Lake District. This region and national park is known to have England’s most beautiful scenery and is loved by British and foreign tourists alike.
A Few Fun Facts:
- Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit, lived here and is partly responsible for the preservation of the area
- It contains England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike (3,166 ft)
- Many of William Wordsworth’s poems were inspired by this area
- 15.8 million annual visitors
Although I had been looking forward to finally seeing this place that Dan has talked so much about, I was dreading the thought of going to an even colder part of England during the winter…And I think Dan was dreading the thought of me complaining about it.
To make it worse, before we left the weather forecast had said cloudy, cold, and rainy; typical for England this time of year. In fact it was typical for the Lake District almost any time of the year. To make it even worse than that, a few months prior we had signed up for a half marathon that was to take place in the midst of the dreary weather that Sunday.
It goes without sayin that I was feeling excited but not optimistic.
Friday: Gloomy Arrival
It was with an air of trepidation that we embarked on our journey north on Friday morning.
For the rest of the afternoon we tried to contain our disappointment while walking through the small, touristy towns of Windermere and Ambleside. They’re cute mountain town-like towns, but nothing extraordinary. People do not come to the lake district for the towns, people come to walk, hike, frolick through the meadows and through the fells, (these are what the British call large hills, borderline mountains). But you wouldn’t want to do any frolicking outside with the weather we were having, therefore the mood, like the weather, was gloomy. This was going to be a looong 4 days.
That evening we arrived at our hostel in the even smaller and quaint town of Elterwater. Rain or shine this was a perfect place to stay. It has maybe 20 building including houses in total and a beautiful river running through it. After walking (in the rain) to the only nearby pub for dinner I went to bed dreaming of warmer places and better weather.
Saturday: Hiking in Hawkshead
I’m delighted to report we had SUPERB weather by all British standards for the rest of the time.
Then we enjoyed a delightful 4 mile hike in Hawkshead. We of course got lost along the way since we were using a guidebook from 2003 but with a little bush whacking and climbing fences we found the right trail again.
The rest of the afternoon we strolled some more small towns and took it easy. Tomorrow was race day after all.
Sunday: Haweswater Half Marathon
Let’s back up for a second… I’d like to explain my motivation for this half-marathon.
About 2.5 months prior to the race, I was in the midst of the post-holiday blues. Feeling blue not because the most wonderful time of the year was gone, but because all the seemingly innocent looking gingerbread men I ate along the way were not. All the “Oh maybe just one more… it’s Christmas”‘s transformed into extra weight that my genes decided to place on my arse.
So, for brevity’s sake I signed up for this race to try and whip myself into shape. (That phrase “whip into shape” is so deceiving, it’s a painful and slow process). Meanwhile, Dan ran the race and raised money for a non-profit that helps prevent homelessness in London. My hero.
Back to race day… it was a beautiful course with lots of rolling hills, scenic fells, and a shimmering reservoir. And we could not have asked for better weather or views.
Nothing feels quite as refreshing as a tall glass of ice cold beer upon finishing a race…
But we were in England so instead they gave us hot tea and a biscuit.
Hahah oh gosh even I still laugh at that. Hot tea?! Are you kidding me? It was at that moment I admitted to myself that I was missing home.
For the rest of the day we were pretty exhausted but took the scenic route back to Elterwater and saw sights like this:
The pictures, as usual don’t do it justice, but the scenery is to me was a mix of Washington and Iceland? Rugged, green, peaceful, glacial, inviting, are words that come to mind. I think I may have even thought it was more enjoyable than Iceland because it had a much more livable feel to it. But different strokes for different folks.
Monday: A hard goodbye
Why does it always seem the last day of your trip has the best weather?
This was true for us too but at least we got to enjoy a beautiful morning stroll by the path near our hostel before leaving.
On the way home Dan decided to drive over Wrynose pass. I think I would have been terrified crawling up the mountain with such a steep edge to our left but jeeping with my crazy parents had emotionally prepared me for this adventure.
We were sad to have to leave so soon and definitely could have stayed in the Lake District for several more days.
I can see now why it is such a popular summer destination for the British, why Beatrix Potter wanted to protect it, and why it had inspired poets and painters for centuries.
“I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…”
– William Wordsworth, excerpt from “Daffodils”
That’s all for now! It’s my last day in Munich before heading to Spain and there are still a few museums I want to see!