Blog of Justin Cheuk, home to writing on London, Hong Kong, Studying Abroad, Trains and Travels.

On the Waters of Windermere

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Justin Cheuk: When HK Meets UK
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It’s pretty dire…

Lake District: perhaps the gem of the English national parks. I’ve long heard glowing reviews of the Lakes: it has been on the travel itinerary for well over a decade. Nevertheless, its distance from London and the (perceived) difficulty to travel around without a car had meant that a visit had long eluded me. That was until last Easter when I finally went with parents.

Time constraints meant that my brief visit was largely limited to Windermere, the largest and most famous of all the lakes in the District. Thanks to its transport links, it is definitely the most popular with international tourist too. Arriving on the shores of Windermere, I swear there were the largest swathes of Asian tourists (and they are always middle-aged peeps with like one teenager who looked utterly bored) I have ever seen in the UK, outside airports and maybe the British Museum. Not even Big Ben has that many. Trust me, I went last week.

A visit to a quintessentially British place has to be accompanied by the most quintessentially British thing: rain. Nothing major, but very persistent. Although when the dark clouds did for whatever reason move (theory: they were arguing with each other over whose holiday they ought to, erm, enrich) there was that amazing twenty minute of Sunshine which portray the lakes in its utmost glory and seems to vindicate everything you’re endured to get yourself here.

I suppose the rain did transform the trip into a most British experience.

(It’s the wrong side of the year, but once the rain began to pour this became the only song in my mind. S/O to Gabrielle Aplin!)

Windermere is a lake, so the standard touristic activity was, of course, a cruise. Considering I am an Asian tourist after all I also embarked on a cruise around the beautiful and peculiar shores. The wind and rain have roughed the waters and limited me on the window-clad lower deck. Yes, you’ve got a cup of warm coffee, but for obvious reasons the view of more.. distanced.

Windermere’s other claim to fame was probably Beatrix Potter, who had spent a sizeable chunk of her life on a village on the less populous side of Windermere. A series of mishaps (mostly related to the fact that I woke up late, sorry) meant that we found ourselves locked out of Beatrix Potter Gallery on a Sunday afternoon.

With no sights left to visit and rain seemingly in sight again (when did it not anyway), we decided to slowly tread back towards the more lively shore. Typing it into the sat-nav we drove, completely ignorant of the fact that the satellite has chosen this route for us:

The Sat-nav instructed us to use the ferry. Without us knowing, we were scheduled to cross Windermere. And a series of unlikely events were to elevate this whole trip onto entirely different heights.

We arrived at the jetty and just about made it onto the ferry. In fact, I believe the car behind us wasn’t as lucky and had to spend a good twenty minutes waiting in the rain.

And in the short span while we’re literally on Windermere, the sky opened and this happened. Wow.

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The weather wasn’t even that great, and the rain returned quickly. But it was there, right place at the right time.

It may have been a short moment in trip characterised by rain (it had dampened spirits although the sights were still very interesting), but those are the moments that you look for on holiday. Even if things aren’t going particularly great, there is perhaps that silver lining, however short and sometimes inconsequential, that vindicates it and christened it memories of treasure.

There is always that one thing 🙂

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