When the pressures of London and the daily grind get to be too much, a weekend escape to the Lake District in northern England is a great way to recharge your batteries and rejuvenate the mind and spirit. We’ve managed to see quite a bit of the UK after living here for two years, but nothing prepared me for the beauty and serene atmosphere of the Lake District. I felt transported to a place well beyond the city limits of London. Even the people became friendlier and less concerned with keeping up with appearances, which was very refreshing. We left on a train out of Euston after work on Friday and arrived in Penrith three hours later. The scenic ride through the countryside melted away all thoughts of city life and work. When we finally settled into Howe Keld, our B&B in Keswick (a highly recommended accommodation on Rick Steves), we immediately went into relaxation mode with the earthy interior, organic products and fresh spring water. The bed was just as heavenly with down comforters, plush pillows and a soft pillow-top mattress. The next two days were spent taking nature hikes around the spectacular lakes and hills, soaking in the fresh air and enjoying the quaint town center and a local play. By the end, we felt prepared to battle the daily stresses of city life once again.
Although I enjoy the constant stimulation of a city like London, I wonder how much strain it puts on our health and mental state to endure the crowded tubes, long hours at work and alcohol-driven outings with friends to combat the stress of it all. Perhaps the key is to find a piece of Lake District in our own little pockets of London and realize that the simple pleasures in life don’t always involve spending a lot of money.