A Month in Paradise a.k.a. The Lake District
August 3rd to August 31st // Windermere, England
Have you ever been to paradise? It's like asking someone if they've ever had an orgasm. Like. If you have to stop and think about it then the answer is no.
If you would like a shortcut, then just go to Windermere. It's a tiny little storybook English village in the Lake District National Park. Really you could go to any village within the park. They are all uniquely charming, but they all qualify as "paradise".
We rented a five-star cottage that looked and sounded too good to be true, but it was actually better.
Our train journey from Edinburgh landed us in Windermere on a Friday evening. The walk from the train station to the cottage was just under a mile and took us right through the center of town as there's really just one main road anyway. It was a lively Friday night, the sun was setting, people were sitting outside of pubs drinking and laughing. Ice cream cones were dripping. It was kind of ridiculous.
We walked up to our cottage and it was beyond darling. You enter via your little private deck area to a sliding glass door that is 3-paneled and completely opens up so you can see the greenery and hear the trickling water from the goldfish pond on the patio and have that perfect indoor outdoor feel.
A hamper (that's british for fucking adorable picnic basket) was waiting for with a note, to Mr. & Mrs. DiBenedetto, and was overflowing with local treats complete with a bottle of prosecco. I pulled out my phone to make a video tour right away in part to catch my reaction, but mostly to film the place before we mussed it all up.
The next morning we walked outside and went to the unit above us to say hi to the owners. It's a very cool split level house on a hill so our unit is on the street level, but so is the upstairs unit. It turns out the owners of our cottage lived in the house above us. The owners were about the cutest couple you'd ever want to meet.
There was just world class food jam packed into this tiny town and one place in particular we took a liking to was called Home Ground Cafe. They were no joke:
We fell into a routine and it was pretty much the best time ever. We'd sleep in our lush king size bed until 9 or 10 and then someone would get up and open the curtains and the window so that the fresh air and sound of trickling water would wake us up.
We'd snuggle for another good long while and then slip into our plush bathrobes to stumble into the kitchen where Kris would make lattes and I would put out scones with jam and clotted cream.
On a sunny day we'd eat on our patio, on a rainy day we'd eat with the fire going at the kitchen table. Then we'd proceed to just lounge around until we were hungry for lunch, which was never too much later.
We'd make sandwiches or cook a full english breakfast and share a pot of tea. Then we'd pack our day bags and head out on a countryside walk. All we'd have to do is go right out our front door, walk up a short steep hill around the corner (It was called Lick Barrow Road, but we took to calling Dick Lick Lane) and then boom: we were in the countryside with trails a plenty.
The cows were properly intimidating (this does not show the cows that were directly on our walking path. I was too freaked out to take photos.)
Me: I just don't want a cow to buck us into next Tuesday.
Him: Cows don't do that. Plus there wasn't a sign warning us of aggressive cows.
Me: Right but how often do they check that shit? It's not like someone's out here everyday checking they haven't gone mad cow.
Him: They're not gonna hurt us and if they were hurting people, we'd know.
Me: Somebody has to be the first one. Why wouldn't it be us? Nobody ever thinks it's gonna be them.
But most of the walks were just straight out of a fairy tail -- sheep, lush greenery, ponds, flowers, it was ridiculous. Our walks averaged about 6 miles and 3-4 hours and we shared lots of funny conversations meandering through the countryside.
I wanna watch this documentary about the guy who free-climbed El Capitan
But what’s it about?
I mean it’s just him climbing it.
But wouldn’t that be like a ten minute video on YouTube? Why’s it a documentary?
Because it takes like many hours to climb it.
So it’s just a documentary where you’re just sittin there watching him climb? That sounds boring as fuck.
Well I’m sure they make it compelling, you fuck, jesus christ.
So that part I wasn’t tracking with the app was 1 kilometer, which is about a third of a mile.
There’s no fucking way that shit was ⅓ of a mile. It felt farther than that.
Well all I know is it was 1 kilometer.
How many miles is a kilometer?
I don’t know. I only know it backwards. I know 1 mile is 1.6 kilometers so I don’t know how many miles that makes one kilometer.
Are you kidding me? Okay, well if 1 mile is 1.6 kilometers, then that means one kilometer is roughly ⅔ of a mile. Did you fuckin flunk the first grade? What’s your deal with basic-ass math?
The paths were just outta this world:
We'd get home in the late afternoon and have a snack and then I would take a bath in the sparkling tub.
Then we'd make dinner and lounge around some more before going back to our king size bed to watch an episode of Seinfeld.
I wouldn't mind making the month we spent here a yearly tradition.
Our cottage was situated between two villages -- Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere and we were a ten minute walk from either. Each village had its own set of coffee shops and bakeries and chippies and cafes and pubs and gourmet grocery stores. Bowness had the pier and docks, Windermere has the train station. Right at the end of our street was a foot path that led you through a forest and popped you out on the other side where you connected with a second footpath that walked you through a lush green meadow and popped you out on the lake front.
We would tend to alternate days -- one day doing a countryside walk and the next day taking it easier and just walking down to lay in the meadow and lounge on the lake shore.
There was one area of our footpath to the lake that had a huge concentration of mushrooms and Kris took some really cool photos:
And as you got closer to the lake, there were gigantic trees with crazy roots:
It wasn’t technically a foot path, but there was this one quiet, residential street that also took you to the lake shore and it was lined with the most stunning houses:
There were a couple of random days where we did one-off adventures. One day we rented a boat and took it out for a couple of hours.
Another day we took a ferry up to the top of the lake even though it was crazy raining.
We wanted to get up to the next town called Ambleside so we could have lunch on Kris' birthday at a restaurant with a fancy tasting menu called The Old Stamp House. We had eaten there two years prior and the waiter remembered us!
I think there were only two days were it was raining so hard we opted to not go out at all. But there was a good amount of just plain sunny days and the other days were mostly overcast, but not actually raining.
Overall the weather was extremely mild. I did lots of this:
The day before we left our hosts took us on a car trip up to Coniston water which is somewhere we couldn't have reached on foot or on a public bus.
They took us on a great walk around and we ended at a cafe on the lake shore to have tea and cakes. They just couldn't have been better hosts and it felt like having mom and dad upstairs -- they were just there to give us rides and loan us stuff and help us with anything.
And then we got kicked out of the nest and into Poland, ha. Stay tuned for a blog about that....