arriving in the Lake District
Ambleside Travel Blog› entry 43 of 68 › view all entries
There was nothing much notable between Chester and the Lake District - a couple of small cities that could have passed for Waterbury, Connecticut, a few children’s football (a.k.a., soccer) scrimmages, and of course more farmlands. On the final train from Oxenhome to Windermere (largest natural lake in England), I met a couple of Irish girls studying for their PhDs in biochemistry.
At the station, a YHA shuttle bus was waiting for anyone who wanted to stay at the hostel, so I got on board for a free lift to YHA Ambleside, a grand old building with clean modern rooms. The hostel sits right on Lake Windermere and I requested a lakeside room. The porter assigned me a bed in an unoccupied room on the fourth floor with a gorgeous view overlooking the lake, boats, and mountains.
Charming in an almost Vermont or Mount Tremblant sort of way, the Lake District is the British ideal of vacationland and is thus a heavily touristy village, as I found on my 20-minute walk into town for supper. Finding the kitchens in every restaurant and pub had closed at 9:00, I went to Spar just before they locked the door at 10:00pm and picked up some typical hosteller’s essentials - rolls, cheese, jelly, Fosters, and a can of peaches.
I ate my cheese sandwich dinner on the dock behind the hostel and visited the pub next door for a pint of John Smith’s Extra Smooth (it was no Guinness). The touring Brits in the pub were sociable and boisterous, engaging in cross-table conversations about how overpriced everything is in “the District.”