Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 10th- Adventure to Lindisfarne!

Before Lisa and I had even planned this trip to Scotland we had decided that we wanted to go to Lindisfarne- which is in England, about 45min or so from the border.  It's also called Holy Island, and is known for being the first place in Britain that the Vikings attacked,  because of the Lindisfarne Priory.  Also- it's famous because of the Lindisfarne Gospels- currently in the British Library.  Saints Aiden and Cuthbert are the most well known monks on the island.

It was an adventure getting there since it's an island for half the day, and of course the day we went, the castle was closed and it was super windy and rainy!  But it was fun and well worth everything!

We left Edinburgh around 9am for the 40-45min train ride to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where we would catch a cab, since the bus that goes over the causeway to the island, seemed very sporadic, if it ran at all, during the winter.  We finally got a number from the tourist info woman, and began the 20ish minute drive to the island.  It was around £22 for the one way, but totally worth it since our cabbie also played tour guide and told us a little bit of the history of the area and little facts here and there.

He dropped is off at the Lindisfarne Center, where we went through a little 3-part exhibit (that the woman at the front desk had to go in and turn on for us) about the island itself, the vikings, and the Gospels.  It was pretty interesting, especially the short videos they had here and there about the Vikings mainly- as well as the history of the Gospels, which are around 1300 years old...pretty neat!

From there, we walked to the Priory ruins, run by  English Heritage (I got in free because I'm a member- hooray!)  We spent 30-40 minutes wandering around taking pictures and trying to shield ourselves from the very gusty wind.  After that we, of course since I was on the trip :), went to find a souvenir store.  This store was closing as we got there (well, closing in about 20 min) because they wanted to leave the island before it flooded.  We should have thought about that before we made our plans...     And of course , as we left the store it began to rain, hard, so we ran back to the Priory to ask for a place to eat, and we were given directions to the Crown and anchor pub.  Best Steak and Ale pie I think I have ever had!  It was absolutely delicious!   Lisa had the fish and chips, and I even had a bite of the fish, and I didn't hate it!  

Even the pigeons were cold

 While we were eating, the local old boy's club came in and started drinking and talking about various things.  From them, we learned that the Castle was closed (even though it had said open on the website...) so we made ourselves comfortable at our table that we would sit at until the tide went out again- about 6 hours later.   While we were there, more and more people trickled in- some because of the rain, others because there was a big rugby game on- England vs. Ireland I think?I didn't pay attention because I don't understand rugby, and watching it just made me even more confused.

So as the old boys club saw that we were in the pub for the long haul everyone began to get a little more chatty and friendly, and I found out that one of the men had actually spent a day in Chattanooga!  What are the odds that I would find someone who had been there on a tiny island off the coast of England?!

Well, we decided to brave the wind and rain after a couple of hours of being in the pub, to go up and at least look at the castle.  The bartender said he would watch our things, and we bundled up to head out into the weather.  I think this wind was the strongest I've ever walked in (minus the straight line winds and tornado winds we had on Signal a few years ago).  Thank god for Eddie Bauer!  Their raincoat cut the wind to nothing! And my upper body stayed dry, as did my legs from the calf down....everything else- soaked, which made sitting kind of uncomfortable later on.

We made it to the castle after going through a couple of fences (No locks or signs that said we couldn't!)  We passed a lot of sheep, and even saw Bamburgh Castle in the distance.  It was pretty cool!

From Lisa (I'm not that fat, many layers!)
When we got back to the pub the crowd inside had grown considerably so we made ourselves comfortable between the two bigger tables on the bench, making friends with the family beside us that had two small, and progressively hyper, children- Ben and Zoe.  Ben was the funniest, because he kept saying things about his mom and dad like, how his dad liked to go to the pub and drink 4 or  5 pins, and how his mum ruined her shoes because she had to wade through the water because they got stuck somewhere.  They were cute.
From Lisa (I'm not that fat! Just layers!

Apparently, the people on Holy Island don't stand in front of fires to dry off, because I was asked if that's what people do where I come from- stand and warm their bums in front of fireplaces... seems normal to me! He also said I did not sound American...

The game ended around 4ish and the most people were gone by 5-5:30, and we still had about 1.5 hours to wait as our cabbie wasn't picking us up until 7.  Longest afternoon ever, but it was so much fun!

We made friends and had some good memories, and hopefully I'll make it back this summer!

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