Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trivial Pursuit

I woke up this morning to a half-dozen comments on my last post, so I thought I'd go ahead and put up the next bit :)  We continued our drive from Knaresborough and saw this outside Newcastle:

This is the Angel of the North, a steel sculpture built in the '90s with National Lottery money.  We didn't stop, Lee took this photo from the van in what our tour guide calls a "drive-by shooting" (heh) so it looks black in this picture but it's really more reddish brown (you can see more pics if you click the link to Wikipedia).  I don't really have any trivia for the Angel of the North, but here's a bit for Newcastle...if you've ever heard the phrase "carry coals to Newcastle", it comes from this town.  Newcastle has huge coal deposits all around it, so if you carry coals to Newcastle you are engaged in a time-wasting endeavor, like importing snow to Alaska ;)

Our next stop was Hadrian's Wall.

Dunno why that picture showed up so much bigger than the other ones, but anyway, when I was a teenager I played a game of Trivial Pursuit with my dad and won the game that was something like, "What Roman emperor had a wall built in northern England that may have served as a defense against the Scots?"  The answer is, of course, Hadrian (although there is another wall a bit further north called the Antonine Wall, different emperor), and Dad accused me of cheating because what 15-year-old American chick knows anything about Hadrian's Wall?  Answer:  the one that reads constantly ;)

Where we stopped at the wall is the Roman fort called Housesteads, which you'll see in a minute.  To get to the wall, which runs along the top of the hills, you have to go through the gate to the sheep field (there are sheep *everywhere* in Scotland) and walk up the hill to the ticket office.

This one kind of reminds me of Vader, not sure why.

And there's me!  You can see a bit of a water spot a little above and to the right of my noggin in this picture; we got sprinkled on a bit on our way up the hill and you can see how cloudy it was.  Luckily our tour guide issued us all waterproof pants and jackets before we left...I kinda want my own set now.

Here we both are, and don't those clouds look ominous :)  It's amazing to me that this wall is over eighteen hundred years old.  I told Lee if we see the Berlin Wall, then we will have hit the three most famous walls in the world...the Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall and the Berlin Wall.  I suppose you could argue there's other famous walls but ehh.

Here's a bit of the fort ruins; most of it was just foundations and didn't come up above knee-level or so.

This is the granary.  Lee guessed that the stones in the middle supported the floor so that the grain would be up off the ground and not get wet, and when we read the sign it turns out he was right (a thousand points to Lee!)  We also walked past some barracks and the stables, but then it started to rain and we pelted back down the hill and past the sheep to get to the shop.

And here's what I looked like afterwards, I call this hairdo the "Hadrian Special".  I would have liked more time to look around the wall, but a.) we were at the mercy of our tour guide's timetable, and b.) we had no desire to get even more soaked.  So I bought a book and Lee and I are talking about going back sometime.  Our tour guide did say she's never done a trip to Hadrian's Wall when it *didn't* rain, so maybe I really should get some waterproof gear before we do our own trip.

A cool shot Lee got from the van once we continued our way into Scotland :)

And another one, just for good measure.  You can tell we're moving since all the vegetation is blurry, heh.

And here we are on the van, right behind where the driver sat so we bantered back and forth with him and Lee occasionally stepped on his seat belt by accident, which is probably not so fun if it's been over two hours since the last potty break.

And here is the *really* awesome shot Lee took a little later in the day near Ballachulish (I remembered the signs for Tigh a'Phuirt because I was wondering how on earth you say that...) 

We stopped for the night in Spean Bridge, bot up the next morning and did some shopping at a shop next to our hotel and then hit the road again and this was our first stop.  I think this was a Roman bridge but I could be making that up since I didn't write about it in my little trip notebook.

And it sprinkled on us again at this stop, which became the pattern for the trip...the weather would look all nice while we were in the van, but as soon as we stopped and got out, it would start raining. Click on the picture to see the whole thing, I don't know why a few of the photos came through all weird but I'm not going to take the time to redo this post and try to fix it.

Got some fun castle pictures for next time, so stay tuned!


Amber Hight said...

Ms. Christy, explain to me how one gets "more soaked" after you're already wet? :p

These pictures are awesome and now you have me *completely* jealous. Scotland is the one place I would dearly love to visit!!! The pictures are amazing! Lee's shot with the sun coming through the clouds onto the lake is breath-taking! Just amazing pics:)

Also, I love the Hadrian special, looks fab on you;) Miss you honey!

Christy Lynn said...

Well Amber, there's damp, wet, dripping, soaked, and drenched. So really we were only on the second step of the water scale, could have gotten loads worse! Mostly it was my hair that got wet thanks to the waterproof gear. Took a while for Lee's jeans to dry out but that was his own fault...he coulda put on his waterproof pants when I put on mine!

Amber Hight said...

LOL, touche! Leave it to YOU to actually have an answer to that, lol! Dude. I miss you:)

Giffysk8s said...

Yes, because you had an answer for the degrees of wetness one can be, it comes as no surprise that you knew the answer about Hadrian's Wall. :)

I actually like all three of the ginormous pics. You look super cute in yours even though the Hadrian 'do hadn't yet happened. I always look for and like the "peace sign" photos because I know you always take them when you travel! The one of Lee is too funny because of your comment to Amber about his wet jeans! You can see that in the pic! Ha ha! And, of course, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo Lee took with the sun and clouds and water. So beautiful!

Perhaps that sheep was channeling Vader with an "I love you, Mommy" look. Or maybe it was an "I am bored in this kennel and don't have anything good to chew" look. :) Or maybe it was thinking, "Hey, that dude shoulda worn his waterproof pants!" LOL

Christy Lynn said...

I forgot the last step on the water scale...if you get wetter after drenched, you're underwater ;)

I think the sheep reminded me of Vay because he was much more interested in eating than anything else, lol! But they both have sweet faces :)

CCsMom said...

wow, these pictures are great. And yes, Lee should've opted to wear those waterproof pants. Were they too short for you, Lee? Good thing you aren't in tornado country or you might have had a right to kind of worry about the state of the sky. Ha! Looks so neat, though. Love you!

CCsMom said...

Oh, and your hair is getting pretty long there, Christy!