Saturday, 23 June 2007

Postcards from The Lake District

I should always be in such good company! I sit and write this in the Lake District of England where such famous writers as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter composed their works. Unlike them, I tend to maul the English language.

The trip here was long, if uneventful. I had a 2 hour wait for the Transpennine Express from Manchester Airport to Windermere, so of course I took some photos. The only thing that was half-way interesting was some metal chairs on the platform, but it’s always good to exercise the mind’s eye.

I’m staying at the Cedar Manor, a lovely little hotel than has been converted from a manor house. There is a little garden out front, complete with the prerequisite white table and chairs. Jonathan and Carolyn Kaye operate the Cedar Manor, having given up the bright lights of London for the more rural Lake District only three weeks ago. Jonathan was “in the bar business” when not traipsing around the world tacking Kilimanjaro and Everest. If you ever plan a trip to the Lake District, I’d recommend staying here. The rooms are comfortable (well above the usual English standard), the food enjoyable (also well above English standard) and the hosts knowledgeable of the local area, especially for walks and hikes.

To battle jet lag, I went for a short walk around Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere. While it looks like a typical small English town, there is a heavy tourist bent to it. The Lake District is a very popular tourist spot and even the garbage has a high class feel to it. Speaking of which, it seems to me the European equivalent of the discarded Tim Horton’s cup is a discarded Seagram’s bottle. This guy seemed to be a bit bitter about being left behind.

Lake Windermere is the largest of the Lake District lakes so there is a lot of water activity, including sailing. These boats were lined up ready to head out for a group lesson.

The Lake District is also known for its hiking. Steep hills (fells) and sheltered valleys make for interesting hiking. Don’t let the absence of trees fool you: the verticals are as challenging as anything in the Rockies.

As in the south of England, there are lots of public paths crisscrossing the land. The locals have seen it all and only stop and stare when hikers amble past.

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