Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Northumberland and Edinburgh: Part 1

Dan and I just got home from a fabulous weekend up north and I can't wait to share some of the pictures with you!   A few weeks ago on a whim we bought a Groupon for an overnight stay in a castle in England.  I mean, why not, right?  The castle was around two hours north of us near Newcastle.  After doing a little bit of research, we realized that Langley-upon-Tyne (where we'd be staying) is almost exactly halfway between us and Edinburgh.  So we decided to make a weekend out of it.  We stayed in the Langley castle on Thursday night and in Edinburgh Friday and Saturday nights.

We got up early on Thursday morning and drove the two hours to Langley.  The drive went pretty well with no major stick shift issues :)  Right away we started sight-seeing.  We went to the Roman Vindolanda museum that had the most incredible Roman artifacts I've ever seen.  Apparently hundreds of years of ruins were preserved in-tact because the soil is anaerobic (doesn't have oxygen).  Some of the artifacts from more than 2,000 years ago included perfectly preserved leather shoes, hair combs, colored buttons and letters.  It was amazing to see how the Romans lived every day life.

We also climbed part of Hadrian's Wall.  That was awesome.  The wall was built starting in AD 122 and stretches for 72 miles.  We caught some incredible views of the landscape and livestock.

Hadrian's Wall

Roman Ruins

We also checked out the town of Hexam, which had a beautiful abbey and a delicious milkshake shop :)

After a long day of exploring, we made it back to the castle in time for dinner.  The castle was pretty small, but gorgeous.  There were even peacocks roaming the grounds!   The staff were so friendly and enthusiastic and were happy to show us all around.  They even took us up to the roof!  And, as it turns out, the castle is owned by a pretty well-known M.I.T. professor who happens to be Jewish.  We found this out because there was a mezuzah on the door of the castle!  Dan says this guy wrote the bible for computer science, and that he still has one of his textbooks.  Small world!

Langley Castle

View From Langley Castle

After an amazing night in the castle, we drove off to our next destination: Bamburgh Castle.  We didn't originally intend on stopping here, but while in Hexam we saw a beautiful photo of a castle and asked which one it was.  When we were told that we would be passing it on our way to Edinburgh, we knew we had to stop and check it out.  I'm so glad we did!  It was gorgeous!  It was gigantic, and right on the beach so it looks even more imposing. 

Bamburgh Castle

After a nice pub lunch in the village, we continued on our way to Scotland.  Stay tuned for part 2!

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