October 8th was a Saturday like any other in Edinburgh. However, it is a day I chose to venture out of the Scottish capital. I did not left Edinburgh since my arrival in September, so when I received an email about an organized trip in the Lake District in the north-west of England, I thought it would be an excellent occasion to wander in the english countryside and discover a bit more of the UK. I convinced one of my friend, a french visiting student just like me, to come with me. That is how we ended up in a bus at 8 in the morning near Princes Street and embarked in 3 hours trip.
Once there, a man came to talk to us and explained how the cruises on the lake worked and how much we would have to pay for it. Even before getting off the bus, we were pretty disappointed. We thought it was an organized trip where we would spend the afternoon with the group and maybe see several lakes. Instead we were left by ourselves to take what this town had to offer. Not much if you are not willing to pay a large amount of money for cruises, unfortunately.
We walked around the crowded little seaside resort centre. Our disappointment only grew has the time passed. We did not want to deject and waste our afternoon so we looked for maps to see if we could walk around the lake and go out of the town centre. Same as before, everything we saw was pretty disappointing, it seemed that there was no real path to hike around the lake or anything remotely uncivilized. We still took one of them to go out of the city and see the lake. We were really lucky because this public footpath took us to the ferry, where we could go on the other side of the lake. We figured we had nothing better to do and apparently we could walk to Beatrix Potter house from there. We took the ferry without second thoughts and joked about doing a cruise for broke students. Which was actually perfect and was the first positive experience of the afternoon.
Once on the other side of the lake, we quickly found our smiles back. It was nothing like the crowded touristy place where our bus left us. It was a wild english landscape all around us.
We did not see any other maps so we had no idea if we went in the right direction for Beatrix Potter’s house but we did not really care. We started to walk along a public footpath which meandered around fields and people gardens. It was the most magical, english walk we could ever take. Even in my wildest dream I did not imagine such a cliché place actually existed in England.
At some point, we arrived in a little village and we saw Beatrix Potter’s house on our left! We had no idea we actually went in the right direction, it was such a great surprise. Unfortunately, the price to visit her home was quite expensive so we chose to not go in it.
We were in the middle of this little english village where there were not many things to do except visiting Beatrix Potter’s home. We asked to ourselves what we were going to do now and we figured that we were just going to take the path in the other direction to take a coffee in a little café we saw just after getting out of the ferry. It is at this moment that my friend saw a sign indicating a tearoom near by. We thought we would take a look, we had nothing better to do. It was our best decision of the day, probably. We ended up in a very english garden where little tables were willing everywhere. We sat and ordered scones, tea and coffee. The scones were a first for me! I found them absolutely delicious, a must try for everybody coming to the United Kingdom. And I was lucky because my friend, who is a scones enthusiast, told me they were the best she ever tasted.
We seriously considered renting a house in the village to come here everyday and write the next great novel of the decade. Never worry about anything again except patting the local cat and gaining weight because of our scone addiction.
But, life had to take its course again and we had to go back to the bus who brought us back in Edinburgh.
This absolutely delightful day was also a great experience for me. I learned to be more careful when signing up for organized trips, even if there was nothing falsely advertised, it was just not I was looking for. I also learned than even if something is not what you expected it to be, there are always solutions to make the most out of it if you go off the beaten track.