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Hadrian's Wall Washout

by Abby with a closing endnote by Ben

semi-overcast 15 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

This morning we drove off to Hadrian's Wall, which is a wall that was built to keep the Scottish Barbarians out of England. We had planned to walk alongside the wall for a while, checking out the museum that was along the way. But our plans changed a little when we realized that the forecast for warm sunny weather had been wrong. It was cold, windy and wet when we got in, but we decided to at least walk the 10 minutes to the museum, in hopes that once we were finished there the weather would have passed.

The museum was small, but informative, and it even had a short video presentation as well. We were all hoping to learn a little more about the wall though, but all we were able to discover were facts about the Roman soldiers, and what their life had been like in the fortresses and barracks.

More about the wall here, and here.

Walking on top of Hadrian's Wall

Walking on top of Hadrian's Wall

The weather had cleared a little when we finished our stop, so we gave the walk another go, and were even able to walk across the top of the wall for a stretch. But the rain came back again, and we all agreed that maybe the car was a better place for us to go, instead of onwards in to the sheep infested fields. My dad was disappointed, because he had looked forward to this walk for so long, but decided that it was for the better, and none of us would have enjoyed ourselves anyway, maybe not even him.

We chose to fill this extra time with driving to Durham, which is the city close to the inn we are staying in. When we got to the city the weather was much better, and there was sunshine and only a slight breeze. We stopped for a quick bite to eat at a small cafe, and walked around for a half hour. Then my mom and I opted to go see the third Iron Man movie together in the nearby theater, while Hannah and my dad walked around for a couple more hours.

For dinner we ate out at a a place similar to Noodle Box.. but it was loads better. Right now the other three are walking down by the ocean and I'm stuck here writing a blog.. but that's life I guess.

Walking Durham and an Evening Stroll by the Sea

by Ben

Rowboats on the River Wear

Rowboats on the River Wear

While Muriel and Abby were engaging in bit of Hollywood escapism, Hannah and I walked Durham. The town is home to a prestigious university (3rd oldest and the rival to an "Oxbridge" education) with an excellent rowing team, a stunning cathedral and a spiderweb of cobblestone streets all set along the picturesque Wear River. Hannah and I enjoyed the warm sunshine and walked the river that loops back on itself and takes you through the town and sprawling university. The final university term extends through to the end of June so the banks were teeming with students relaxing along the grassy banks of the river, rowing the river or making there way to the town to do some serious "clubbing." The dress code for the women consists of ultrahigh heels and and ultra high hemlines while all the guys are in shortsleeves and jeans. It appears mid to late afternoon is when it all starts.

While Abby chose to be dropped off at the Three Horseshoes Inn, the rest of us drove several miles further to get to the coast and a enjoy a stroll along the grass covered bluffs next to the ocean. The slanting evening rays of the sun gave the whole landscape a golden glow. Hadrian's wall may have been a wash but our afternoon and evening were warm compensation.

Posted by KZFamily 11:14 Archived in England Tagged rain england sheep walk durham hadrian's_wall Comments (1)

Emerald Green and Stormy Grey

By Hannah

overcast 7 °C
View Koning/Zemliak Family Europe 2012/2013 on KZFamily's travel map.

Today we spent the better part of six hours driving around the Dingle Peninsula, in a quest to explore and enjoy Ireland's countryside. We left Abby at home, as she wasn't feeling well (her immune system is a decidedly bad traveller), and set out to immerse ourselves in the rugged Irish terrain.

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

Our first stop was at a beach about halfway between Killarney and Dingle. As soon we emerged from the car, we were sandblasted. Nevertheless, we decided to chance a bit of a walk along the shore. The greyness was absolute. The slate coloured sand met the dirty grey of the ocean which faded up into the storm clouds covering the sky. All this was coated in a heavy layer of fog. It was a different kind of natural beauty. Eventually, we admitted defeat and headed back to the sanctuary of the car.

Dingle is a small harbour town about an hour or so west of Killarney. Mom and Dad giggled immaturely upon discovering its name. This is not the only town whose name sounds a little unusual to our Canadian ears. The villages of Sneem and Inch have the same odd yet slightly cute quality to them. However, the strangest of all Irish village titles has to be Muckanaghederdauhaulia. The longest place name in Ireland, it translates to "pig-shaped hill between two seas". We're happy not to be faced with asking for directions there.

We walked along the streets of Dingle and made our way to the seagull-ridden harbour. Most of the birds seemed to be having a great time riding the violent gusts of wind. The water and sky were still cloudy and grey, and it didn't look like the weather was going to shift anytime soon. Despite the dreary atmosphere, Dingle appeared to be a rather quaint and charming seaside town. My impression was only slightly altered when I nearly stepped into a pile of fish innards laying on the dock.

We had a picnic lunch in the warmth and safety of the car. The remainder of our day was a blur of wind, waves, cliffs, pastures, and sheep. We saw hundreds of sheep. Once in awhile we'd spot cattle or horses, but these sightings were far less frequent. Nearly all of the sheep we set eyes on had been partially coated in various colours of paint. Pink and blue seemed to be the favourites. We had one particularly close encounter with a ewe and a lamb who were taking a stroll along the side of the road. They trotted off rather quickly when we stopped to take pictures, though.

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

The pastures stretched up over the rolling hills like one enormous patchwork quilt. Decorating each patch were scatterings of black and white sheep and their lambs. Mom and Dad kept exclaiming how breathtakingly beautiful the landscape was and how if it was sunny it would be too amazing to behold. Every minute or so I'd hear a whispered "wow" or "incredible" from the front seats. Ireland really lives up to the moniker Emerald Isle. It was like we were driving through a never-ending sea of green.

Some of the twisting, narrow roads we drove took us along cliffs, where we saw massive, churning waves hurtling into their sides. We stopped again and again to take pictures, ignoring the gusts of wind tearing at our hair and clothes. It was difficult keeping the camera straight whilst trying not to get knocked over by the breeze.

When we returned, we found Abby curled up on the couch, looking a little worse for wear. She had progressed from bad to worse during the six or so hours we'd been out. Mom and Dad trooped off to bed for a nap, and she soon followed suit. I made chicken noodle soup for dinner, which was hearty and perfect after the rainy, blustery day the three of us had. Abby, on the other hand, had ten whole noodles and called it a meal.

Ireland is gorgeous. Fantastically so. I can't wait to see what we'll encounter as we head northeast to Kinvara tomorrow.

Posted by KZFamily 11:28 Archived in Ireland Tagged sheep ireland dingle killarney Comments (2)

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