Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lake Windermere

We just got back from the Lake District. We stayed at the YHA in Ambleside, on Lake Windermere, literally, the hostel was right on the lake. We spent the nights playing cards at the picnic tables on the lawn.

The first day some of us went exploring around the area, we saw some ruins of a Roman fort and walked through a meadow of tall grass and wildflowers by a river feeding into the lake. It was beautiful.

The second day we went to Grasmere to see some Wordsworth sites. First, Dove Cottage, where he lived for about eight years writing his best stuff. It was small and dark and contrasted very much with the second house of his that we saw, Rydal Mount. He moved here because his family was getting bigger and people came to stay with them a lot, and also, he could afford it. This house was huge in comparison to the other. There were four acres of gardens, I think. I got to sit in the "summer house" where he would overlook the valley and the lake and write. It was cool, just a little wooden shed like thing at the top of a hill. This was our last day of sites, and what a great way to end it, the houses of Wordsworth, father of Romanticism. I'm not decided on how much I personally love WW, but it was an English major's dream day. We walked back to look at more of the mountains. We also did some shopping in Grasmere that included the sampling of Sara Nelson's famous gingerbread- different from anything I've ever tasted. I finally bought a teacup. It was a very hot day and when we got back to the hostel, I borrowed my friend Julie's swimsuit and jumped in the lake with Becca. The lake was not hot. It was freezing, but we had a great time. The trip would not have been complete without jumping in the lake. We had dinner, and after that Julie needed to go to an ATM so we could carry out our plans for the following day. So we walked to an ATM and went to see Wall-e. It was a treat. On the way back we passed a field with 11 bunnies in it.

The last day was free. Julie and I had made big plans. We rented a wooden row boat for two hours and went out on the lake. It was a little bit windy, but the weather otherwise was perfect. We went across the lake and down one side. We started to go up the river, but decided it was too shallow. After that we rested for an hour and then packed our stuff to hike one of the fells overlooking the lake. We picked up sandwiches and other food in town for lunch and snacks on top of the fell and ate while we walked to the site. We had to be back by 4 for the river cruise and we didn't know how long it would take. We started the climb and were surprised at how steep it was. It was a paved road, but after two minutes we were both out of breath. I made a comment that if it countiued to be this steep, we would be up it in twenty minutes. And we were. I had forgotten that hiking was so much work. We stopped halfway up for a view, and again when we got to a valley near the top. We stood triumphiantly at the top and traced the route of our boat earlier that morning. A couple of planes zoomed past just over us-- they had been having some kind of an exhibition the past two days. When we came down, a sheep bleated at Julie and she answered it and it answered her back. It followed us for a while. Julie has an excellent sheep call. lol We climbed down, around twenty minutes again, but this time trying to go slowly so we didn't fall or our knees didn't bother us from the steep grade. We got popsicles at Spar. The lake cruise was alright. We played cards later and I went to bed at 9:15- a record.

Almost everyone is ready to be home at this point of the trip. It's weird to be here with nothing to do- no classes. We're headed back to London on Monday after some concluding ceremonies here and most of the group returns the 30th. I am in the fourth that's staying. Off to Wales!

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