We finally made it north. The internet found us an affordable car which had a USB port to connect the iPhone to the audio system and the steering wheel. Pretty cool! So navigation wasn’t an issue although we were adventurous using Apple’s maps und Spotify kept us entertained. Helpful as we ended up in traffic jam after traffic jam after traffic jam all Good Friday long on our way to Keswick. It was actually my first time on English roads in an English car so I loudly reminded myself again and again: drive left!
We stayed at a small B&B called Claremont House. The rooms were small but nice and clean, we slept very well in their beds and breakfast was absolutely ok so a recommendable place to stay. Our host Joy provided us a warm welcome and her husband Philip (who acted as the waiter in the morning) bombarded us with recommendations for walks including books and drawings to help us not getting lost. He can probably keep you entertained for a few weeks.
It’s about 20 minutes to the centre of Keswick where we had booked a table for dinner at A Different Taste. Well. Searching Yelp, Foursquare and Trip Advisor (which for restaurant recommendations is just really, really bad) this looked like one of the better choices but it was rather disappointing. Single ingredients like the Lion Cod or the shrimps were actually alright but the combinations were odd (nomen est omen …) and really, you shouldn’t serve flower shaped carrot bits with every dish on your menu. And it doesn’t help if the waitress looks & speaks like Benjamin Blümchen.
On our first day we wanted to drive around a little bit to see some of those lakes. Going south we stopped in Grasmere north of Lake Windermere to grab some of their famous Gingerbread (yes David, I’ll bring some tomorrow). It’s a cute little village full of cafés and outdoor shops (like all villages in the Lake District – Jack Wolfskin must make an amazing amount of revenue here). We popped in Baldry’s Tea Room and yes it was a nice place. In Grasmere there is also the house of the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, it’s the right area for a romantic wordsmith, absolutely.
We went further south on narrow little streets, got stuck one time (still roads closed because of ice!), took pictures of sheep and had almost reached Wast Water when one of the tyres made a disturbing sound and passed away he was. I must have touched a bit of a stone. I always changed tyres myself so it was almost a routine task and we continued a few minutes later. Still annoying. But have a look, wash’t this view worth it?
There was more beautiful landscape as we went back to Keswick where we – lacking a booking – tried to spontaneously find a place. We ended up at a place called Casa Bella – you can’t go too wrong with pizza can’t you? You can. I find it quite frankly disgusting watching other guests eating pizza with fries and ketchup and what we got was basically a massive plate of melted cheese with a little bit of dough below it. I like melted cheese but not just for the sake of having something rich and fatty competing with flavour enhancers of the tomato sauce.
Easter Sunday we spent around Keswick taking a little boat to cross Derwent Water and arrive at the foot of Cat Bells. We wanted to go up from the backside so started walking northwest which was a really nice walk which brought us loads of cute little Easter lambs which made it to not become a roast (yet). But it was freezing cold and we clever chaps already shipped all our winter clothes to Germany. So after three hours of walking we went back with a short rest at the Magnolia Cafe Bar warming up ourselves with a sip of 16 year old Lagavulin. Yummy.
And finally we also had a solid dinner at the Pheasant Inn, probably the best place to eat in this town. The gastropub had an open fireplace and authentic staff which consulted me well as I tasted a few local Ales. Not bad at all! Veggies were a bit overcooked but my lamb was excellent and the pate I had before as well. We should have come here for all three evenings.
So now we’re back and had to grab a bottle from the supermarket being not prepared at all. So no natural wine tonight. Standing a little desperate in front of Sainsbury’s shelves I followed a recommendation from The Independent and went with a Grande Reserve Bergerac Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2011. Which is actually not bad. A well composed spicy wine with the right smooth tannins, dark, strong, full but still clearly French. A little young. And it might become more interesting as the bottle gets a little warmer while it is breathing next to our fireplace.