Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Journal: England Trip 2012 - Part III

The problem with visiting an area of lush green beauty is that there has to be some natural reason for the lushness and the greenness. Namely--rain. And if you insist on traveling to that land during the fall, one has to be prepared for rain. Lots of it.

Our third and fourth day in England and the Lake District could best be characterized as wet. Very wet. Floods happened elsewhere in the country, shutting down a major highway for a few days. Remember the lovely river Greta that flows through the town? What I didn't mention earlier is that the banks of that river have been built up with high walls, flood gates, and other such items because of several very bad floods that have caused major destruction in the town (incidentally, including getting my grandparents boated out of their house one very cold winters day because the flood waters had risen so high!).

Well, we didn't quite get that bad. But it would be accurate to say that the water rose a good couple of feet in one day of rain and showed much more ferocious tendencies than it had the day before.

 River Greta on Sunday
 River Greta on Monday afternoon!

So what does one do when one is in England and it rains? Go out in it of course!

Day 3 we climbed in the car and went for a drive over hilltops and past sheep. Originally it was a ploy to find a sheep show that used to exist and then it turned into an attempt to find an animal farm for Blueberry, but eventually it wound up just being a drive through beautiful--if soggy--English countryside as we found neither of the first two options.

We did find the hills streaming with what are known as sour milk gills. They are literally these streams of water that appear when it is raining. And the appearance of them looks rather like a giant has taken a bucket of sour milk and overturned it, sending it sloshing down the mountains.





We stopped near Lake Buttermere to stretch our legs and Blueberry managed to at least be introduced to sheep. One even obligingly baa-ed at her, forever convincing her that sheep really do "baa."

Lake Buttermere





Sheep say "baa"

Following our short and wet excursion, we drove through what is known as Honister Pass through Borrowdale (which incidentally holds the distinction of being the wettest spot in England) to get back to Keswick. Incredibly beautiful views, this area has a mining company that mines beautiful green slate for which the Lakes are also known. My parents also spent their honeymoon in this area of the Lakes and was where my dad first fell in love with this spot in the world (fortunately Mum loves it too; otherwise, there might be quite a competition there!).

Honister Pass - sadly due to the rain, I didn't get many good pictures of this. 
Go to the previous link above for better pictures.

We warmed up from our wet morning with a lunch of fish and chips....ah the glories of Gluten Free in the UK! More about that later!

As the following day dawned wet and soggy again, we decided to brave the shops in the shopping district of Keswick. Spent an enjoyable morning avoiding the rain drops, browsing fun things that I couldn't afford, and picking up some presents and other items that I could. 

As the day progressed, the rain slowed, the sun finally began to make a weak appearance, and the river Greta began to recede. We made our way down to lake Derwentwater to enjoy a, well, I'd call it a sunset but to have a sunset one has to have more sun. So perhaps just to enjoy the growing twilight.

A hint of fall. Sadly the trees had not really begun turning colors yet, but we did see tantalizing bits of color here and there.

 Gates and doors...I find them fascinating. And why do so few American houses have names while so many European ones do?
  
 Derwentwater - at the water's edge
Incidentally, I have discovered that Derwentwater apparently means "water thick with oaks." I don't know if they are oaks or not, but it could certainly could be called "water thick with trees."




My Mum and Dad, or for the Dicken's fan, my APs.
 
Me, Blueberry, and Nana

All wrapped up for the cold, wet day. 
Blueberry styling with her ladybug (ladybird) raincoat and panda bear hat underneath.

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