And what seemed like paragliders were people on all kinds of crafts (skateboards, tricycle-like-cars) attached to kites moving along the flats rather quickly in the strong but butter like wind and bobbing up and down on the occasional gust. There were quite a few people indulging in the sport and we could all but look with our mouths agape at the beautiful spectacle. We checked out the equipment with curiosity but chickened out from the idea of trying as it seemed like all the 'pilots' were experienced in their crafts. This is where I lost my camera and even though we searched for a bit, it seemed even more foreboding than finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
We moved on to Kirktown in Kendall, with the girls feeling worse for my lost camera than I did. With Vaibhav doing an awesome job at navigating and driving, we kept chatting, eating all the fatty Indian snacks and chocolates we had taken in our picnic 'carton', and time flew. We milled around Kirktown for a bit, hoping to find a warm cup of coffee in the unrelenenting drizzle but with all shops closing down at 4, there was not much choice but to leave for our next destination (Windermere - in the heart of the Lake District). We got there, and in spite of the drizzle headed out for a boating expedition in what seemed on the map like the largest lake in the district. With our boat having as sexy a name as Naomi, it was a rude shock when we realized its top speed was a mere 5-6 mph. We all took turns at playing captain which provided quite the photo opportunity, docked back in an hour and aimed for some hot coffee, tea, hot dogs, and fries. Tired, and wet in what had become a steady downpour we headed back home to see the exciting ending to the match between Germany and Portugal with Germany trouncing their opponents 3 to 1. By the next day, my festering cold and cough had become a fever, and I chose to stay back and watch the much anticipated Federer Nadal matchup in the Wimbledon finals while the others went to the Chester national park which was quite exciting as well from the experiences that I had to live vicariously. We also saw Italy redeem their performance in world cup penalty shootouts and beat France 5 to 3, and Zidane commit what could be only termed as Hara Kiri in his farewell match in international football (that he came out as the hero is a separate issue). Come monday, we all pitched in tidying up the house, met up with Vaibhav at his office so that I could say bye to him and then the girls helped me find my way to the station so that I could take the bus back to London. Vaibhav, Kanu, and Pooja - thanks for the warm hospitality, the lovely time and the lipsmacking, fingerlicking food. You guys are all awesome and hopefully we can do this again sometime soon. Thanks. Oh yeah, and for the shoestring British traveller, travel on National Express coaches - they might be 10 quid more expensive and you might need to dress warm, but at least you will not suffocate.
We got up as early as one can on a Saturday, rented a car and headed out to the Lake District - what I believe is northwest of Manchester. With ambitions as tall as driving upto Scotland, we headed out with the intent to make the most of what was in the way. With the first stop being Marcombe (or something on similar lines!) we saw what we thought was the sea and paragliding activity on the beach. We immediately veered in the general direction only to realize that what seemed like the sea was the vast flats of what could have been a sea or lake bed a while back.