This past Saturday we went the farthest North so far. We went to Carlisle which is a city on the border of Scotland and England, so we where in almost Scotland. I was really excited about this trip for several reasons. One we got to ride a train, which thrills me like I’m Sheldon Cooper or a small child! Secondly, we planned on going to Hadrian’s Wall. This was the former border between Scotland and England, plus it was built by Romans.
So, the day began with a walk to the train station to get our tickets. We were lucky because the next train to Carlisle was only a fifteen minute wait. Good deal! After our short wait the train arrived and we had to find the non first class cars aka the peasant cars. Now, I have expressed my love for trains, but trains do not love me back. First, for those who have forgotten or didn’t read my blog about my arrive to England, I fell in the train station while trying to run and catch our train. Then on Saturday as I was walking into the train car the door shut on me! And this was not a friendly door and I had to push it so I wouldn’t be crushed. I even have a bruise on my arm as evidence of this trains distaste for me. It is a sad day when you realize that trains do not love you like you love them. Anyways…Once we were safely seated it was a lovely train ride. We rode a Virgin Train which is way nicer than the train we rode up from Manchester. It was much fancier and the seats were really cozy. Plus the view from the window was spectacular. England has some of the prettiest countryside I’ve ever seen. We got to ride through the Lake District, so there was a lot of hills and rivers.
Once we departed the train station we headed into town to see what there was to do. Carlisle is much like the town I am living in, but it is a bit bigger with more shopping. Also there is an adorable carousel in the center of the main square. I would have ridden it, but it cost £2. We went to the tourist center to figure out how to get to Hadrian’s wall and to see what else there is to do in Carlisle. Now here is where the story gets a little sad. We couldn’t go to Hadrian’s Wall because the closest ruin is 16 miles outside of the city and you have to take two different buses and the times didn’t work to get out there and come back. This made me really mad because it all the research that I did about Carlisle they always talked about Hadrian’s Wall in the brochures and how the city is in Hadrian Wall county, but that is not the case at all! It is located in a totally different county. I wasn’t upset at the location of the wall I was upset that Carlisle advertised the wall when it is not even located near it. Grrrr! Sorry rant over now. Instead of getting to see Hadrian’s Wall I bought a postcard with a picture of it. The best part of visiting the tourist center was that a flashmob happened right outside. I’ve never seen a real flashmob in person, so that was a highlight of the trip. We then went exploring and did some shopping. Along the way we found a park and the Hadrian’s Wall National Path. We may not have seen the actual wall, but we did get to walk along where it once was and we saw the ruin of a bridge that was part of the wall. This park is located right next to the Carlisle Castle. In one section of the park there was a giant field which has been a football(soccer) field for over 500 years! After our walk we went to the castle, which was built in 1093 to protect England for invasion of the Scots. Mary Queen of Scots was actually held prisoner in the Castle for a few months in 1568. The castle was exchanged between Scotland and England multiple times through the years of fighting. The castle was besieged, captured and recaptured for hundreds of years. We didn’t actually enter the castle because it was a bit to pricey, but we did spend a lot of time in the gift shop.There was a bunch of stuff about the history of Scotland verse England. There was nifty gifts like mini catapults, mugs with all the kings and queens of England, fancy chocolate and even a book about dragons. I wanted to buy everything in the store! The best part had to be when one of the workers let us hold the swords. There were three replica swords a medieval sword, King Arthur’s sword and this fancy one with a ruby in the hilt(I can’t remember what kind of sword that was). for those who have never held a sword let me tell you those things are heavy! I had to hold it with two hands and there was no way I would be able to swing it around. And they are also really long. The men must have been so strong to have been able to fight in battle with a sword. I have a lot of respect for sword fighters.
After the castle gift shop we headed back into the city center to visit the Carlisle Cathedral. I love architecture and I specifically love visiting old cathedrals. They are always so giant and beautiful, it takes your breath away. Plus visiting cathedrals is normally free. The Carlisle Cathedral began construction in 1122 under the reign of King Henry I. It is a Church of England cathedral and probably the most beautiful cathedral I’ve been into at this point in my life. I can’t do the cathedral justice through worlds so here are some pictures.
The rest of the day was spent shopping and exploring the city streets before heading back to the train station. We had a nice train ride back, I even slept for a bit.
Until next time…