Halloween weekend = pretty good time.
So I got up early on Friday and caught an 11:30 train to Windermere (every time I say that name I feel like it's some mythical place). Since I didn't have to work that day I decided to go early so I could get a short hike in before sunset.
The train ride was not great. There were no seats until the first stop (an hour and a half into the trip) so I was on a little fold down seat for quite a while. Then I kept shuffling around between stops until I got to my transfer point.
When I got to Windermere I went to the tourist centre, walked around the town a bit then made my way to the trail head. This short hike brought me through the woods, past a couple farms and up a hill until I got to Orrest Head. From here there is a fantastic view of Lake Windermere and the surrounding hills. It was the perfect time to go there, the foliage was beautiful and from that summit you can see almost the entire length of the lake.
After the hike I checked into the backpacker's lodge and settled in before going for a walk around the town. Windermere is a pretty small town with not a lot to do on a Friday evening. I went there at the time that I did to do that hike before sunset but I should have stayed the day in London, got to Windermere just in time for bed and went on the hike early in the morning. Anyway I walked around Windermere, got some dinner then turned in early.
I got up early the next morning and made my way down to the lake and the town of Bowness-on-Windermere. Bowness is a much more happening town. I explored the town for a bit then walked to the piers and hopped on a boat.
Lake Windermere is beautiful and very similar to Lake George, although on a smaller scale. It's about 10.5 miles long, 1 mile at it's widest and 220 feet at the deepest. It has a few islands in the middle and is surrounded by very stunning mountains and hills covered in sheep.
It was raining off and on throughout the day so instead of getting off and the southern and northern ends of the lake I just road the boat up and down the lake. It was so beautiful and tranquil, a little slice of home. The Lake District is very similar to the Adirondacks except replace cows with sheep.
After the boat I went to the Beatrix Potter attraction. This was a cute little place. It starts with a video explaining all her different tales and how they link to the lake district. Then there is a museum like path you walk through that has figures of all her stories, a garden, which had jack-o-lanterns hiding in it and a gift shop and tea room. The whole place was very adorable although I think I would have appreciated it more if I knew more of her tales other than Peter Rabbit (she wrote over 20).
Then I wandered around Bowness, got some snacks then made my way back up the hill to Windermere and caught the next train to London.
When I got back I had a lovely surprise on my bed: delicious Halloween themed cupcakes courtesy of Mom and Pop. They are so adorable and delicious.
Halloween is not very big here. It is mainly for little kids. So when I made my way to St. James' Park on Sunday to go to the Halloween Suppliers Market I was disappointed. It was not nearly as big as the advertisements made it seem. There were two little tents with stuff for kids, some vendors selling food I can't afford and one farmer selling pumpkins. He was pretty cool though. He had a tepee set up under which he was carving little pumpkins and cooking pumpkin seeds and cider, which he gave to everyone who came by. So I got a few pumpkins from him and made my way back to the flat.
I then tackled making a pumpkin cake. Since yellow cake mix does not exist in this country I had to make the base layer from scratch and since there is no canned pumpkin, I had to gut, peel, cut and boil one of the pumpkins I bought. This wasn't too difficult, just time consuming. Pumpkins do not peel very easily. The pumpkin I bought was the perfect size, yielding the exact amount I needed for the recipe. While that was baking I carved the other two little pumpkins that I bought for myself and watch Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin.
Then I just spent the evening hanging out, wishing it seemed more like Halloween here. I've been slow with my blog and pictures from the weekend but I will be sure to catch up on them before I go on break starting this weekend.