Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Lake District and York

My Brit Lit shoes! This is what they looked like early on in the trip. When we started they were brand new and pure white. Later I'll have to post a picture of what they looked like by the end of the trip. 

Our last day in Yorkshire was amazing! We drove through the Lake District, a National Park named for it's many lakes, and got to see a lot of really cool sights along the way- some of my favorites, actually. Our first stop was Rydal Mount, the place William Wordsworth called home for the later part of his life. He had great taste! The house was cool to see, but what really got to me was the property the house was sitting on. His garden was HUGE.

It had several wandering pathways like this one, some low and a few really high up that gave you an excellent view of the entire property. There were flowers EVERYWHERE! And the smell...mmmmmm. 

It was absolutely breathtaking!
This little hut, the Summer House, was awesome. It sat on a hill and overlooked all of the amazing gardens. In the summer Wordsworth would write his poetry there. His surroundings provided a lot of inspiration. I'm not a huge poetry fan, but I have always loved Wordsworth. Now I understand why. He was so influenced by and dependent on the beauty of nature!

 Rydal Mount was also amazing because it is where I had my first taste of British ice cream. It is SOOO much better! YUM-MY.
 After we left Rydal Mount we made a quick stop at Wordsworth's grave in Grasmere, where we stood under the "church-yard tree" and read my favorite poem of his, "We are Seven." I highly recommend that anyone who has never read it reads it post-haste. It's adorable. :) It was also near his grave that I tasted real ginger bread for the first time, which was a very pleasant experience! British (well, European) sweets- especially chocolate- are  about a gazillion times better than the processed nasty crap we have here. I'm having Cadbury withdrawals.

Anyway, from there we went to the other side of the Lake District to Hill Top Farm, the home of Beatrix Potter (the author and illustrator of Peter Rabbit- the most famous children's story of all time- and the tales of his friends). It was pretty amazing as well. Here the house was much more interesting than the grounds. The majority of Miss Potter's stories take place on Hill Top. I saw the doll house that Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca broke into in search of a meal! With the original plastic food in place. :) I also saw Peter Rabbit out in the garden. It was a good day!

Pardon the sideways nature of a couple of these pictures. I'm a little too lazy today to fix it. ;) Anyway, something I loved about British cottages and houses was the Wisteria growing off everything. It smells amazing and is really beautiful. 
We did some really cool stuff on our way from Bradford to Stratford the next day. We got visit the original York, which was amazing. I've never been to New York, but I have a feeling that when I do get there I'll definitely prefer the old to the new. The coolest thing about York is its history. It is OLD- thousands of years old. It was originally the military capitol of Roman Britain. All the architecture is medieval, which gave the city a really cool atmosphere.
That's me standing on York Bridge
I love this place! There's York Minster in the back.
 The Shambles were my favorite part of the city. It's this really skinny street/alley crammed FULL of shops. Fun trivia of the day: the Shambles were J.K. Rowlings inspiration for Diagon Alley, which makes complete sense. I halfway expected to see little British children gawking at a Nimbus 2000 through a store window. It was pretty sweet. :)

Yes, those are graves -- randomly on the side of a building. I <3 York.
Me and my buddies on York Wall.
The York Wall surrounds the city. It pretty much looks like a mini Great Wall.
York is where I partook of my first Cornish pasty and British eclair. Sooooo delicious.
 We only got to spend like an hour and a half in York, and we were all really sad to leave it. We didn't have enough time to see any of the historical stuff. :( But, after that we went to the Sherwood Forest, so we were still pretty excited.

 Up to this point, all of the places we had visited had more of a serious tone to them- almost spiritual to me. But Sherwood had a very different vibe- much lighter and more playful. Which is appropriate for Robin Hood and the Merry Men. :) It was an absolutely beautiful forest, but it was pretty silly at the same time.
I don't know why, but for some reason I feel as though Tiffany will appreciate this picture.
The Major Oak!!! How I loved this tree! It's actually like four oak trees that grew together. The branches are so big and heavy that they have to be held up with stilts, as you can see. The scaffolding system has been there since Victorian times, and the tree itself is somewhere around 800-1000 years old, which is MUCH older than that tree I loved at Skipton. It was like visiting the Great Grandpa of all trees. He was really cute. I wish I could have hugged him, darn it!

There was also a little museum off the gift shop that was pretty sweet. I didn't get many good pictures of it, but it was legit.


Tiffany said...

What an amazing garden!!! It is soo beautiful. I know all the lilac bushes in my backyard smelt AMAZING, so I can only imagine how that garden smelled!
You are correct Chap - I TOTALLY LOVE that picture! So much in fact that I LOL! :)
I think all those old places are so neato - America just doesn't have that stuff! (Obviously)
Can't wait for more.

Taralyn said...

Beautiful. I have a crick in my neck though from looking at your blog sideways. ;-p Ok, not really. I also love the totem picture, though I think your head in the chopper may be my favorite in this post. Ha ha! I want to meet the great grandpa of all trees!! And yes, that is a MINIATURE version of the Great Wall...we'll have to get you to the real one someday. :D Also, I love the shoes. And I get to see you Friday!!!