My mother announced that I was nuts, off my rocker, bonkers, totally insane, when I decided to spend a week in England in January. “It will be cold and miserable. You will be soaked through the second you step outside. It will rain non-stop.”
Needless to say, I was naturally thrilled as a result, when I had blue skies and sunshine for about 95% of the time I was in England during my stay. The part in which I was holding my breath the most happened as I made my way on the train from Lichfield up to The Lake District to visit another member of my family up in Keswick. I had been warned by more than just my mother at this point that it would rain…all the time.
Two sunshine filled days later, I chuckled quietly to myself. My aunt kept reminding me how unusual this was and how lucky I was to be here for two sunny days in a row, in January, no less.
So we hiked. A lot.
After six months in China, my lungs hurt from all of the oxygen. WHAT IS THIS? FRESH AIR? The skies were searingly blue and the grass perfectly green. On the second day, we had fresh snowfall covering the tops of the mountains. We went up Walla Crag the first day and had a lovely view of the town – buildings now the size of a grain of sand – below. The second day, we hiked up to Honister Pass and slowly made our way down the steep downhill towards the Blacksail Hostel – an isolated hut several miles away from anything that you have to walk to if you plan on staying in the hostel.
Our evenings were filled with expeditions into the town. While we decided to stay away from The Pencil Museum in Keswick (yes, there is indeed a museum about pencils) we did manage to go to the cute theater in town to watch the newest Robert Redford movie, “All Is Lost“, in which he speaks about 15 lines of dialogue and the rest is just Robert Redford having the worst luck ever on his boat. Poor dude. We wandered around The Theater By The Lake and enjoyed plentiful helpings of tea and cake each day.
As a reminder of what the weather could have been like all three days, the skies opened up on the final day in Keswick and rained. Although, as my feet were quite blistered by this point, and my aunt’s definition of “a light stroll” was the equivalent of one of the last chance workout that they make the contestants on The Biggest Loser do, I was quite content to settle into a pub lunch in Hawk’s Head and wander around the quaint, and flat, streets of the town.
Overall, a fantastic visit, and for anyone who makes the trip over to England, I highly recommend a visit to Keswick and The Lake District as a whole. The area is extremely well-connected on the bus system, and can be easily reached in three hours by train from London Euston station to Penrith. Buses head to the region from that station, and if you book in advance, you can often save quite a few pounds.