Friday, 6 December 2013

Carlisle and the Lake District

Yesterday I woke up to a windy and cold Glasgow. A storm had uprooted trees during the night. The Internet spoke of snow chaos in Trondheim. I wanted snow too, not wind. Not storm. I walked dejectedly to my lectures, listening to christmas songs, trying to get in the christmas mood. Then, up by the library, a wet droplet hit my nose. I looked up, and it was snowing! The suite from the Polar Express was playing on my ears, and I grinned like a lunatic the rest of the way to class.

So what does this have to do with Carlisle and the Lake District? Nothing, really. Let's move on.

I will now tell you about a Scotland adventure from about two weeks ago. Well, technically speaking it's an English adventure seeing as Carlisle and the Lake District are in England. This time I was entirely on my own. I didn't bring any friends or meet any nice Slovakian girls on the bus, like I did on my last trip to the Isle of Arran. People might think that sounds a bit sad, but I actually like it that way. I like my own company and it allows me to explore things in my own tempo.

We had a short 50min stop in Carlisle.

I had time for a brief walk into town, buying myself a gingerbread latte (which I love!) I walked by Carlisle Cathedral. Wikipedia tells me it became a cathedral in 1133 and that it is the second smallest of England's ancient cathedrals. It also sports the largest window in the Flowing Decorated Gothic style in England. I guess the window in the second photo here is the window in question. It is quite large.

Carlisle is close to the Scottish border, and thus the main street has two different names. The one leading up from the square is English Street and the one leading down is Scotch Street.
On the way back to the bus I stopped by the giftshop at Carlisle Castle. The underground passage leading from the town centre to the castle is by the way very cool.
Carlisle Castle is over 900 years old and wrought with history due to its close proximity to the Scottish Border. I didn't have the chance to go inside and have a look, maybe another time.
But I did have a look at the giftshop, and there I found something I have been looking for for ages. Big, heavy, old fashioned iron keys! I almost wept with joy. They had big, elaborate ones and smaller, simpler ones. I couldn't decide which to get so I bought one of each. They are so amazing!

After Carlisle we drove on to the Lake District where we were spending the day. The Lake District is a National Park, the second largest in the UK and the most visited in the UK. It is sometimes dubbed the English version of the Scottish highlands. Many people visit the Lake District instead of going all the way to the Scottish Highlands, or so I've heard.
I attempted taking some photos out the window this time.

We stopped in Bowness-on-Windermere, a cute little town with not so cute swans. They were really tame and ate out of your hand. Terrifying if you ask me.
I walked around town trying to find some christmas presents, but nothing caught my fancy. There is a short walk between Bowness and the next town Windermere. I walked to Windermere and found the road up to Orrest point, a viewpoint with excellent view over the lake.

The Lake District is known for being the main inspiration for the poems of William Wordsworth and other Lake Poets. I haven't really heard of Wordsworth, but I kept thinking, does Oscar Wilde's play Lady Windermere's Fan have anything to do with this lake? Wikipedia tells me Oscar Wilde did in fact visit the Lake District around 1891 and that several of the characters in the play have their name after places in the area.

After the beautiful view from Orrest Point I walked back to Bowness. On the way I found a place selling the whole series of Buffy on VHS. If my VHS-player was working and I lived in the UK, I would totally have bought it.

On the bus on the way home I received what I think is my first mixed CD. Isoc (International Society, the amazing people arranging these trips) gives gifts to members they think have contributed positively to the society by e.g. joining many trips. Hojat (probably didn't spell that correctly, sorry), our enthusiastic tour guide, gave me a copy of the CD often played on the bus on behalf of Isoc. Thank you!

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