Manors, the Cotswolds, and the Lakes!
We love, love, love to the 50th degree the most wonderful country of England!
Such a shocker for us as we had no interest in coming here when we left home and in a week it has become our favorite part of the entire trip. The only drawbacks we can find so far are the food and driving on the wrong side of the road, especially in the roundies. But otherwise it is a beautiful, rich, magical, colorful place. The people are incredibly polite, kind, imaginative, hilariously dry, and efficient.
We spent the first two nights outside of London in huge, beauiful manors which I booked for a steal and spent the days playing wizards in the woods and hide-and-seek in walled gardens.
Then we traveled through the cute-as-a-button villages of the Cotswolds and window shopped, walked the hills, and finished our day with the obligatory frothy ale with fish and chips by the crackling fire of a dark pub.
We couldn't imagine that it could get any better when we found the Western Lake District--we are in heaven. It's sort of like a mix between the Rockies and coastal Maine with mossy, creepy woods, dramatic grassy mountains (fells), and crystal lakes. We have hiked our hearts out and found lots of elves and fairies. There are public footpaths and bridleways in every direction and beautiful little cottages and stately homes around each mountain bend.
We did some high "fell-walking" with one crisp clear autumn day and one even more wonderful cool, rainy, misty day and returned to the hostel both nights for hot chocolate, board games, foosball, and reading Beatrix Potter stories by the hearth (she lived on this lake).
Tomorrow we head to Scotland!