Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Weekend in Wales - Last stop, the Lake District!

Getting up early and beating the rush hour traffic, Alan and I headed up to the Lake District for one more treat and walk down memory lane!  Years ago, we spent quite a bit of time in this beautiful part of England and we were really looking forward to seeing it again!

Found the perfect hat in Grassmere!
(Alan's photo)
With time not being on our side, we chose not to stop at Windermere. Of our 3 favourite villages in the Lake District, Windermere is number 3 and we had to make a choice.....

Alan's photo, I couldn't get a good angle!
Alan's again!

So our first stop was at Ambleside.  This is the village with the darling little house that is situated over a running stream!  When we first visited this, we were told that a family with 8 children lived in the little house of two rooms - one upstairs and one downstairs.

Can you call this the ground floor when it sits above a running

I can't begin to describe how little this house is and hope the photos I am sharing can give you an idea.  I had to stand outside the door to get these!  However, on this visit, and in the link I have included, we learned that this structure was built to store apples. The cool running water underneath would keep them fresh. Makes more sense, but I think,  possibly, both stories are true.  Maybe it was originally an apple storehouse, but then became a teeny, tiny family home!

This little house is owned by the National Trust but you don't have to be a member to get to go inside.  That is really nice!

After our (short) visit to this house, Alan spotted a lovely tea shop called "The Apple Pie" so he must have known we needed to go in there before leaving Ambleside!

We both got apple pie and ice cream, strangely enough, although the whole menu sounded wonderful, even their Mexican breakfast was tempting!  The ice cream on its own was amazing, but together with warm apple pie - fabulous!

To find a table, you have to walk through their bakery and that is temptation itself!  Loads and loads of wonderful items just needing to be purchased and taken home!

This is going to be one of those must do stops every time we visit Ambleside from now on!

Next stop was Grasmere.  This is one of the very few villages in the Lake District we have had the pleasure of spending a few days in!  Home of William Wordsworth and just one of those beautiful and restful places that come along very rarely.

Unfortunately, and this is not a new development, there are masses of tourists here all the time.  Not only does this area attract hillwalkers, nature lovers and photographers, it also attracts more literary and historic interests with its ties to poets like William Wordsworth or writers like Beatrix Potter.  All of the Lake District is crowded, but not so much that it makes me never want to go back!

I wish I had taken this when our car took up the whole lane!
I am saying all this because we could not park near Dove Cottage, so I was not able to re-visit this lovely building, which was home to The Wordsworth for  a few years.  In fact, we almost got stuck in the narrowest of streets!  Things change in years between visits, so the car park we were looking for seemed to not exist, maybe we didn't remember it correctly. But we meekly followed a sign that indicated going up what looked like a driveway, and in between two cottages that appear to be holiday cottages owned by Dove Cottage. The drive actually goes between those cottages and into the Dove Cottage coffee shop. But on this day, the people who apparently were staying in those 2 cottages decided to use the drive as their parking places so we were stopped behind them in a very awkward position!  Once again, I must compliment my husband's driving. The twists and turns between two stone walls was really demanding when he was going forward, but then he had to reverse to get out of this drive!  I remain impressed!

Grasmere is where I found the hat in the photo at the beginning of this blog!  I have searched for years for a cute, collapsible hat and it was right there in a hillwalking shop - just waiting for me!  It seems like the perfect hat and I can't wait for the right weather to truly enjoy it!  (Alan hates it, but he hates all my hats...)

The major portion of our time spent in Grasmere was just walking around and enjoying being there. But this village has a unique gingerbread shop and it would not be proper to visit and not purchase some to take home.  Grasmere Gingerbread is unique to Grasmere and the most unusual form of gingerbread I could ever imagine.  It isn't like gingerbread cake or gingerbread cookies.  I believe it has to be tasted to be appreciated!  When Alan first bought it for me in 1986, I didn't really enjoy it because I didn't understand it!  But after a few years' exposure, it is really, really nice! And very special since you cannot get it anywhere else than Grasmere.  OK, with modern technology, you CAN order it, but it is only produced in Grasmere!
It isn't all gingerbread in the shop, you can gain weight just walking in and enjoying the wonderful aroma! 

Ashness Bridge
Once we made this purchase, we headed off to Keswick, not to see Keswick but to visit Ashness Bridge one of the most, if not the most, photographed packhorse bridges!  We have made this trip many times, but the views never disappoint.  Maybe the amount of people can disappoint, like today when a group was eating their lunch right in centre of the view of this bridge.  But, hey ho, they were enjoying themselves and life is too short to sweat the small stuff. It was just nice being there.


Above Derwentwater just outside of Keswick

After a wonderful 4 days in England and Wales, we headed back to Scotland.  This had been the right direction to take since Scotland had gale force winds and heavy rain over the time period we had amazing weather!

"Come sit at my table and share with me,
Warm gingerbread cookies and cinnamon tea."    

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