A Long Weekend in the Lake District
Thursday, August 18th
This morning we woke up early (well, at 8:45....early is a relative term), finished off our yogurt/granola/blueberry combo and headed to the train station. On the way we stopped back at Pumphrey's for another amazing coffee experience before getting on the train.
We changed trains twice, ending with a 20 minute bus ride up to our little village, Ambleside, in the Lake District National Park. The second floor of the bus was open air so we sat up there and the ride was stunning. I've never seen anything like it in my entire life.
The beauty of this place beat Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Napa Valley, Tuscany, all of it. It was jaw dropping and didn't even look real. Mountains, sparkling blue lakes, beautiful water front cafes, elaborate outdoor seating areas, old stone mansions burrowed into the hillside. It was ridiculous.
Our home for the weekend was The Apple Pie Inn and it was right in the heart of town. The whole town was basically one giant circle filled with the most adorable coffee shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, bookstores, specialty food stores, REI-type stores, and fantastic boutiques. It was quite the destination.
I was so filthy after my shower strike in Newcastle so the first thing I did was shower in our pristine bathroom. The room itself was darling - bright white, deep purple and silver so it was really warm and romantic feeling. After the clean up we went downstairs to inquire about a laundromat in town and the woman at the front desk said we could do our laundry there if we wanted. She was so accommodating and sweet - she took us across the hall to the little washer they have - it was basically in an oversized supply closet with all of the extra linens and mugs and such.
Then we met Elizabeth next door at the Apple Pie Cafe. We sat in the window and had really delicious food - she had a meat pie, Kris had a great tarragon chicken sandwich and I had a curry chicken salad. It was bright and sunny, which we knew was rare so we made the most of the rest of the day and walked as much as we could.
It was less than a mile to the lake's shore so we walked down there and then waded in the water and followed the bank for a while. Elizabeth went back to her hostel early and we stayed out exploring, eventually ending up at a bar that was right on the lake. You could take your cider glass right down to the water and there was this perfect stone wall to sit on and dangle your feet. The water right there was only a couple of feet deep so you could wade around in while you were drinking. It was a lively scene and the perfect sunset spot.
There was this little girl cracking us up. Her parents were sitting on the bank and she was splashing and swimming around, she was maybe ten years old. And every ten seconds she'd shout something incredible exciting back to her parents, in her darling British accent. Like, "MUM DAD!!! There are ACTUAL LITERAL FISH DOWN HERE." I loved her.
After the sunset we walked back into the town center and sat outside at a pub called The White Lion and had really delicious nachos with guacamole, sour cream, salsa, and beef chili on top. Then we went back to our B&B and did the kinds of things you do when you're in a romantic hotel room alone.
Friday, August 19th
This morning it was overcast and sort of misty raining. We read about a great cafe on Trip Advisor called Daisy's so we decided to try it for breakfast. It was total shit, which marks the first time Trip Advisor has led us astray. It was cheap white toast, bland beans from a can, slimy mushrooms, a frozen hash brown square, and the most disgusting veggie sausage of all time (Kris' real sausage and bacon didn't look any better). And the coffee was SHITE.
After breakfast it wasn't raining too hard so we took our umbrellas out and walked all over town and up through the stunning countryside. I mean fucking stunning. Truly I've never seen anything like it in my life. The most beautiful place I've ever seen. I hope you go there someday soon.
Eventually we got cold and it started raining a little more seriously so we went back to our room and made tea and refreshed ourselves. Then we went out for smoothies, but a few minutes into the cold rainy walk we changed our minds and instead got baked goods to go at the Apple Pie and went right back to the room. Elizabeth had an egg custard, I had a bakewell tart, and Kris had a scone. Everything great except the scone - it had whipped cream instead of clotted cream and that just didn't work.
Elizabeth and I decided to go out a little bit later to go into the shops around town. Kris stayed home to play his racing game, touch himself, and take clever pictures of his naked body. There were so many cute shops in town! It was so fun. On our way back we got some fruit that we all ate while looking for somewhere on Trip Advisor for dinner. We had passed this cute looking place called The Queen's Head inside the Queen's Hotel so we looked that up, were satisfied with the reviews, and walked over there for dinner.
Our dinner was shat. Turns out we had looked up the wrong Queens Head. So the whole day was a total wash food wise. I had this weird fish cooked in a sickeningly creamy sauce drowned in cheese and not in a good way. The "roasted vegetables" were a few sad shreds of cabbage and a handful of carrots and the mashed potatoes were flakes from a box. Kris got a steak pie that was so very average. Elizabeth had salmon that she liked alright, but it was still overly rich and creamy sauce wise.
It had not been raining the whole time we ate so we took a chance and walked the mile down to the lake back to that hostel bar and got cider, sat on the lake front and watched the sun go down. We traded stories about the craziest/most intense/strangest moments of our lives. Kris' was about some guy waving a shot gun around, plus a crazy car accident he was in. Elizabeth's was a super bad ass story about kicking an actual pervert in the balls and putting him in his place. And mine was just about getting stuck in a rainstorm, throwing my broken soaked phone against the wall, putting it back together the next day and realizing the key pad didn't work anymore. I used it for about a year like that, always needing a pen to stab the key pad to do anything - text, dial, answer the phone, etc. I finally started losing usage of the keypad even that way, so by the time I lost use of the third number I decided to get a new phone. That was like the funniest thing Elizabeth had ever heard and she cry-laughed.
Saturday, August 20th
Today it was like ridick-balls raining when we woke up so we opened the windows and stayed in our bed for a long time to snuggle. We had tea and coffee there, plus some random fruit to curb our hunger. Then Elizabeth showed up with more fruit. We stayed cozy in our room until it was time to go to our lunch reservation. We did the tasting menu at the #1 restaurant in town and it was the best dining experience of my entire life. It was like a performance. I loved it so much it warranted its own post (I'll post it and link to it here when I'm done).
After lunch we parted ways and took naps and just lounged around like you do on a rainy day. I was so glad we had booked a nice place because we really were in it a lot and totally got our money's worth. A few hours later we decided to venture out for food and went back to The White Lion for nachos again because that just sounded good. We also got their house salad with chicken and it was suprisingly delicious. It wasn't raining after dinner so we took the opportunity to just walk the town circle and move our bodies a little.
Sunday, August 21st
This morning we went to the most darling cafe of all time called the Rattle Gill. It was tucked away on a quiet side street and was so warm and cozy. We sat at the table in the bay window and worked our way through the menu ordering coffee, a cake sampler platter, a scone, and their loaded baked beans.
It was all so incredibly delicious and the people were so nice. We hung out there for two hours and then, just to kill some more time, walked across the street and had a cup of tea at a cafe that had seating right on the water called The Giggling Goose.
An hour or so later we grabbed our bags and took the city bus to the train station. The screens at the station said all the trains were cancelled and we were like, huh - maybe it's just a glitch. But it wasn't. A train had been derailed and services were cancelled for all trains for the rest of the day. We waited out front for what was hopefully a bus coming soon, but there had been a huge wreck on the highway so all the busses had been delayed too.
But, soon enough a bus did show up and took us to the first leg of our three part trip. No trains were running out of that station either, but we were shuffled into a (free) cab to take us to station #2. And from that station, trains were running. We had missed our schedule connection, but there was another one a half an hour later. We didn't have to get new tickets or do anything special - we were taken care of the whole way and it was all handled so well. I was really impressed because it was a pretty chaotic scene - I mean can you imagine all those trains being strait up cancelled? And having to deal with and organize all those people? Crazy.
We got to the airport and the EasyJet boarding process was a total fucking joke. It was like the worst ever, even for a budget airline. But once we actually got on the plane everything was fine. We landed in Berlin and had to take a bus and two trains to our Airbnb, but that pretty easy.
Our host, Tom, was really nice and gave us a great introduction before going upstairs to his own flat above us and leaving us to settle in. The apartment we rented here is totally great, it's really clean and comfortable and spacious and makes me love Airbnb so much.