ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
[personal profile] ilanarama
We got off the train in Newcastle upon Tyne (to give it its full name) and were met by [personal profile] whatistigerbalm and her charming husband, who immediately hustled us off to see the sights. These included the...new castle! (Where new = built in 1172-1177. Because it replaced a Roman fort built on that site in the 2nd century or so. It's all relative!)

New Castle city wall detail, Newcastle

Newcastle is a city of bridges. Lots and lots of bridges.

Newcastle bridges

We walked down to the quayside to have dinner in a stupidly-crowded restaurant, mostly because it was right next to the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, which was scheduled to open that evening. This pedestrian bridge is anything but pedestrian - it's an offset suspension bridge which tilts to allow boats to pass underneath, and a real work of both art and engineering.

Gateshead Millenium Bridge The Millenium Bridge, lifted

Another notable feature of Newcastle, which I did not alas get photos of, is that it's a huge party town. It's apparently a big thing to hold your stag party or hen party (bachelor/ette party) here - which involves having all your friends dress in identical costumes (sparkly tutus, tiny red dresses), or on a theme, and wear sashes or tiaras or badges proclaiming e.g. LAURA'S GETTING MARRIED, and troop drunkenly from bar to bar on tottering high heels. Which I did not, alas, get photos of. But it was Friday night, and we must have seen a dozen hen parties and a few stag parties during our few hours out.

The next morning we visited Durham and its splendid cathedral. No interior pictures (because they were prohibited) but it's a gorgeous building that dates back to the 12th century, housing the tombs of the Venerable Bede and St. Cuthbert. Of course, since it's such a venerable building, it shows its age, especially on the exterior where weather has taken its toll. And it's had to have a few transplants of parts that have failed. But I hope I look as good when I'm 900 years old.

The castle, home to University College, was closed for a private function (bummer) but we wandered around the gorgeous old buildings anyway. I still can't get over how old so many structures are (I know, typical American reaction! I don't care!) - or at least, parts of them. I continue to be fascinated by the juxtaposition of old and new buildings, and of old and new components in a single building, and of nature pushing its way back into places humans have built and paved and redesigned to their own desires.

new and old columns poppies

After lunch, we went (ah, how nice it is to visit friends with a car, who don't mind driving you around, especially in a country where driving ourselves would be scary) to the Roman fort ruins and museum at Segedunum (Wallsend). This was the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall and although all that remains are essentially the excavated foundations of the fort and its buildings, it's quite interesting, and the museum, though slanted toward a younger audience, had some good displays. The coolest thing (to me) was the display of the Backworth Hoard, a collection of Roman-era gold and silver artifacts originally found nearby, on loan from its usual home at the British museum, as well as some other coins that were uncovered in the area. One, found in the river, was so well-preserved by the water that it looked better than some of the change in my pocket!

west end of Hadrian's Wall

Or just look at the 8 photos. (ETA: have also added three photos for the next bit of the trip to this set, so you'll get an advance peek!)

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

March 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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