THE LAKE DISTRICT, ENGLAND:
With blistered hands and facial muscles, sore from an exorbitant amount of smiling and laughter, I return home from the Lake District. I believe that, in time, I will regard the trip as one of my most fondly remembered experiences.
The clouds, in dampest region of England, gave way to the bright and shining sun. I was pleasantly surprised by this change in weather, as England has been doused with rain for what seems like an eternity now. The further our coach carried us away from Leeds, the more beautiful the landscape became. The rolling hills gradually grew into mountains and roads were replaced by fields full of flowers and, of course, sheep. I had been determined to forget my worries about finals, MCAT’s, and work, and to fully commit my day to pleasure and relaxation. This, I found, was not a difficult task.
We arrived first in Bowness-on-Windermere, a small but bustling town on the banks of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in England. We took a 45-minute boat ride around the lake, catching glimpses of beautiful homes on the lakeside as well as ruins, boats, and wildlife. I was completely taken away by the true beauty of the place, and immediately, I understood why people such as Beatrix Potter, well-known children’s’ book author, strove to conserve the land for future generations. I was happy to be on a boat again. It seems like ages since I have been on my family’s boat on the Chesapeake Bay. The splash of water and the cool breeze brought back wonderful childhood memories.
When we arrived back on land, I went, with a small group of girls that I met, to the Beatrix Potter Museum. We didn’t go on the tour, but instead browsed the shop. I bought myself a copy of Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten, two of my favorite Beatrix Potter storybooks.
After a quick lunch of some tasty sandwiches and ice cream from a local shop, we hopped on the buses once again, this time heading to Keswick. The views on this ride were even more spectacular than those of our previous drive. It was quite hard to tear my eyes away from the window. The scenes were so surreal.
When we got off the coach, we decided to take a hike down to Friar’s Craig. The path brought us up to a large hill. Both the hill itself and the surrounding scenery reminded me very much of the opening scene of “The Sound of Music” where Julie Andrews runs up and begins singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!” What made this place even better was that a herd of sheep situated themselves on this hill and there must have been one hundred little lambs frolicking. It was a bit difficult to leave them, but we continued our walk.
Our walk was interrupted once again by the site of rowboats for hire. Annie, Kathleen, and I decided to leave the group and take advantage of the opportunity. For only £4.00 each we were given access to a small wooden rowboat for an hour, and wouldn’t you know it, we are all rowboat prodigies. I was really impressed about how adept we actually were at getting that boat around the lake. We sang songs, shared stories, and laughed more than I have in a long time. Only when the wind picked up did we falter, but then we put two people on rowing duty, and screamed, “pull” so that we could coordinate the strokes. I could hardly contain my laughter as we made our way back to shore, which we did in very good time, if I do say so myself. Getting out of the boat, we found ourselves a bit wet from the splash of the ores and the waves, and it was only then that I realized that I had acquired a few blisters on my hands as souvenirs from our wonderful adventure.
As we walked back to the bus, I was sad that it the day was over. I know that I will be back again someday, to once again enjoy the true splendor that is the Lake District, a place that captured my heart from the moment I arrived and will pervade my memories for some time to come.