Northern England: hills, lakes, and castles.

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I’m losing track of the day count so I will just name the post based on an event or story or something that I find clever and later realize is just lame.

Anyway! On Friday (the 10th) we all piled onto a private bus to go stay with families in Northern England, Cumbria county by the Lake District. After a two hour bus ride, we arrived at the bus station in Penrith, a little market town. I stayed with another student in the home of a very sweet couple. He had grown up in Cumbria, she in the outskirts of Glasgow. The first night we were a bit tired so we all drank tea and then went off to bed.

The next morning (Saturday) we decided to explore the Lake District. The Lake District is a huge area in Northern England with rolling hills, lakes (obviously), and little towns. The first town we stopped at was called Grasmere. From Grasmere we went on a walk up to the top of of a hill in order to get a fantastic view of the surrounding hills.
This is a photo of the climb:
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And this is the spectacular view we had from the top:
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It’s times like these that I wish my camera were just a bit higher quality. I couldn’t capture BOTH the green hills and the blue sky. I guess it’s one of those “you had to be there” type situations. So I’m glad I was there to experience it for real. We went back down to Grasmere and visited the grave of William Wordsworth, famous poet:
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I think that crow was posing especially for me. We also visited Wordsworth’s home:
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I don’t know a lot of Wordsworth but apparently he believed the Lakes District, and Grasmere specifically, was one of the most beautiful places on earth and it inspired a lot of his poetry. Perhaps, Wordsworth can inspire me to write a word or two about the sites I saw.

We then continued on to Windemere, the largest natural lake in England, where we stopped in a cafe for lunch and did some exploring of that town. Windemere is also famous because the author Beatrix Potter, of Peter Rabbit fame, lived there.
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We thought of going on a cruise on the lake but it was freezing so I tried to take as many pictures as possible but unfortunately I wasn’t bundled up enough so after a quick photo shoot we headed back to the car. That’s not to say the pictures didn’t turn out beautiful. I just wish I could’ve seen more:
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The birds were extremely friendly, probably used to being fed so I got up close and personal with this swan:
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And then I tried to take a photoshoot with it that kind of failed.
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On the way home we stopped one more time, just because of a beautiful view – the sun setting over the hills with a lake gleaming in the distance. It was stunning. But, yet again, very difficult to capture with my little camera.
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I’m very grateful for my day on the lake but I think the cold weather got to me because I started feeling a little feverish when we returned home. We spent the night in and watched the King’s Speech but I passed out and slept through most of the movie. I think my family was concerned about me but I assured them I was just tired from our long day.

The next day we didn’t have a ton of time and because the other girl and I were still tired and a bit cold from the previous day’s adventure we decided to visit the castles of Penrith. This required less walking but the castle’s were still absolutely stunning. This is Brougham Castle:
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We didn’t get to explore inside but the castle is stunning and we were able to read some history. Then we visited Brougham Hall which had this INCREDIBLE door knocker:
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Did I mention this place was huge?
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We were able to wander around this one – it’s mostly an empty grassy area inside with some surrounding walls and shops. It is being renovated but we were still able to climb some staircases and peak into tunnels. This Hall was the location of a bloody battle between the Scots and the English once upon a time.

Then we visited one castle that was not a battle ground but simply the home of a really wealthy family. That’s why it looks fake…but it’s not.
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After the last castle visit we wandered around Penrith for a bit. Unfortunately, because it’s such a historic and quaint little town, almost nothing was open because it was a Sunday. But it was still a lovely walk. Small towns here are not like small towns in America. Everything was cobblestone and there were lots of shops: books, clocks, jeweller’s, sweets. Even though it’s small I can see why people seem happy to live here.

We said our goodbye’s around 2 and I slept on the bus all the way back to Glasgow. When I returned to my flat my flatmates were all sitting around our table, drinking tea, and chatting. I loved my homestay but I felt happy to return to my home-for-the-next-5-months. While I was away my Brazilian flatmates found my youtube channel and said they had watched it for an hour. They are the first people to discover it here and I’m so glad because they want me to sing with them later in the semester. Obviously, I’d love to. I’m still feeling a bit feverish and classes start tomorrow so I’m a bit worried but hopefully a good night’s sleep will help a ton.

Cheers!

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