Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cities and Walls

I said goodbye to the lake last night as I read a little from The Amber Spyglass. That part of England is my England. We're in a city again, and I already miss the hills. Our hostel (which is nice but very basic) is on the same street as the Pizza Hut and Burger King. London will probably be more attractive since we're staying in a local college, but I still want to make that sidetrip to Wales if at all possible. The city I'll be visiting is on the Irish Sea and I think it will be a nice goodbye to this wonderful island. We'll see.

Today we went to class, ate our last meal in Ambleside at the classroom tables, and then got on a bus for Hadrian's Wall. The trip was uneventful but the views were spectacular. I can't quite do justice to what we saw, sitting in that bus with large windows, looking down and seeing that we were on the edge of a cliff that dove down into a rocky valley dotted with sheep. It was absolutely breathtaking. Some of the articles we read before we got here suggested that the England described in a lot of popular novels no longer exists. It does in the Lake District. It absolutely does.

We ended up at a Roman Military Museum. The Latin teacher in me came out immediately. It was a little cheesy and I definitely have been to better exhibits, but I still had fun looking at all the Roman artifacts and learning more about Hadrian's Wall itself.

Then we went to the wall and it was a great experience in a different way than I had planned. What was fun was being on there with my friends and taking silly photos and thinking about how imposing it used to be. Unfortunately, as is the case with most Roman ruins, there isn't much left but we had a great moment, sitting on the edge, looking out on the hills and thinking about the divide between the civilized world and the barbarian one. On a side note, there were some crazy sheep on the walk up. They kept making these death rattle noises. Very creepy.

Afterwards, we drove into Newcastle and got settled into our new digs. The hostel has free wi-fi....yay! However our room has two bunk beds and a fun house mirror (my legs have never been so tall!). And no more full English breakfasts. I'm back to peanut butter bread and apples. However, it will probably be a good thing for my heart because I've eaten a lot of hash browns these past two weeks.

Most of us went to an Irish pub tonight (well, a place that called itself an Irish pub) and had dinner. I went for something somewhat authentic--a chicken and mushroom crock pot dish that was super awesome. All my favorite things--chicken, mushrooms, mashed potatoes and cheese. Again, may need to improve the food intake soon.

Now we're relaxing and this old French man keeps trying to talk to us and we don't understand a thing he is saying. I think we got across that we're students studying literature, but I'm not sure. I will probably try to get some writing done tonight. I'm doing well with my critical class, but the creative juices are not flowing. We are traveling so much and have yet to find a place where we can be on a computer and snuggle down. Unfortunately I am not a handwritten manuscript kind of gal so the computer is a necessary tool in all extensive writing exercises. I even use it in class for our small exercises. I know London will provide regular library access and hopefully some comfy chairs and then all my problems will be solved. In the meantime, I'll try to get a page or two written tonight and maybe I'll feel like I've accomplished something.

The Girls on the Wall

1 comment:

Gina said...

Love this shot of the girls on the wall... and I can see how it might be a tad difficult to hunker down & write with all of the traveling you're doing (along with the lack of computer access time). As you say, hopefully when you get back to London that will change. LY! Mom