Arrival into Lake District at Ambleside and day trip to Hawkshead and Coniston
Ambleside Travel Blog› entry 3 of 18 › view all entries
My second night in London was better than the first - either the snorers didn't snore or I was just way too tired to notice! Got ready by about 540am, the taxi was waiting by the YHA and we were in Euston station around 615a. I'd passed by tons of "Delice de France" bakery chains in London on various occasions before but never quite tasted any of their stuff before dismissing it as fatty and unhealthy. Anyway, I was hungry this time and grabbed their cheese-tomato baguette. It's quite good! Of course that's a given, but they add a hint of basil leaves as well to that, it's really very very tasty. Had that, and a bit of the chocolate croissant for my breakfast along with tea.
The train left on time, the first time I'm going on Virgin Trains and I was very impressed. I sat in the Silent Coach, and surprise surprise - it was quiet! The train ride took about 2.5 hours to Oxenholme, and from there we caught another train to Windermere. The train ride was magnificent. We were near Milton Keynes when the sun started rising. The mist was still all around the trees, it was magnificent. And you can also see the change in scenery as you go up north. From the nicely manicured fields of the South, you gradually transition into the rugged and dramatic north - more green, more rain, and I'm officially a fan of the stone fences all over Britain. How are they made with such precision? And how are they so strong?!
Now, another thing with my journey north - it gets colder, windier and wetter.
I was just happy I was back at the Lake District. I visited this place in 2005, we stopped over in Bowness Bay and spent a night in Ambleside and I have really nice memories of the morning walk I took.
Ambleside YHA - well what can be said? The building, I had seen 3 years ago, infact we (the backpacker tour I was on) had our dinner in the park right across the hostel, and I remember thinking that I should stay in that hostel some day. So I was really fortunate that I got to stay here this time. The hostel review will follow shortly. We stored our luggage, and headed for Ambleside city centre for lunch. This was the same road I had walked on (from the Lake uphill to the city) back in 2005.
We were both very hungry, so we found Tagore, a Bangladeshi restaurant although it's proudly displayed as "Bengal cuisine", wonder why! We had naan, palak paneer and tadka dhal - the food was terribly oily and not made that good. But we were so hungry I guess anything goes! We finished lunch around 1pm, and headed back to the hostel/pier to actually begin our day.
The lake cruise was very impressive. This is a totally side of England than what I saw in Cotswolds. And as I've mentioned so many times before, the autumn colours only add to the beauty. The ride was a bit chilly, but the weather was good, not too sunny but definitely no rain. I took lots of pictures as the boat was leaving Ambleside, but the rest of the lake trip was very meh, definitely not as good as the books say it is.
We reached Bowness Bay in about 1 hour, and from there caught another boat headed towards Coniston and Hawkshead.
From here, the bus took us to Coniston which was a big bore. But I was dead peckish and headed in to have some cream tea. The town is really bland, and the only draw here is the Old Man of Coniston, but we couldn't hike up there as it was dead late.
We headed back to Ambleside, bought some groceries along the way (fresh veg) and I made some Indian food for the night. The hostel has all the amenities, no complaints there. Just that it's so big and commercial and the 1st time I've stayed in a YHA that I have felt I'm staying at a hostel. Too many big groups, such a big hostel that it's hard to find a cosy corner in the lounge and get to socialise with people. Our roommates were 3 Belgians and they were good fun. Each had come with this girlfriend who was in other girls-rooms. They were just telling us about their lives, their work, etc.
Slept htat night around 11pm. I wasn't too tired thankfully, just bloody excited about starting some proper hikes the next day. They had forecast some rain, but that is something I had expected anyway, so I wasn't too disappointed.