Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scotland and Ireland Trip Day 2 - Alnwick Castle

The Husband and I woke up around 10 and went downstairs to the restaurant to get breakfast at the buffet. The food was good but the rest of the experience was not. There were waitresses wandering around the restaurant serving coffee, but they ignored us repeatedly in favor of other customers. It began to make us wonder if there was something wrong with us. We had showered, so it wasn't like we smelled, and we had gotten a good night sleep, so we weren't total zombies anymore.

I guess we'll never know.

**EDIT** After talking with a couple of friends who have traveled overseas, the theory is that we may have been snubbed because we were eating at a fancy restaurant inside a fancy hotel and we were probably not dressed appropriately.

We finished eating, found the car park, loaded up the car, and hit the road.

(Liverpool as seen from the passenger seat)

Originally, when we realized that we would be spending a night in England, we had planned to drive down to Stonehenge and then drive up to Scotland. What we realized the night before was that Stonehenge was about 4 hours South of Liverpool, so, we opted to visit Alnwick castle, the home of the first two Harry Potter movies. 

The Husband was still a bit nervous about driving, but he felt a bit better once we hit the motorway/highway. Aside from one incident - he didn't realize that what he thought was the slow lane was now the fast lane because everything was reversed - the drive from Liverpool up to Alnwick castle was pretty uneventful.

(Just outside of Newcastle)

(The Husband concentrating on driving)

(Me, enjoying being the passenger for once - I do a lot of the driving at home)

We reached Alnwick around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, found a place to park, and then walked over to the castle to get lunch and look around.

(The gate to the outer bailey)

(The gate to the inner bailey)

(The back of the Castle)

What we didn't realize was that the castle is actually the home of the Duke of Northumberland. When you visit, not only can see where Harry learned to fly in the Outer Bailey and visit an exhibition on the local Militia, but you can also see the State Rooms at the castle - which have some gorgeous paintings and furniture. I was very sad that we were not allowed to take pictures and that there weren't any books in the gift shop covering all the artwork that we saw. 

(Looking out from the parapets)

(The flying scene from Harry Potter took place around here) 
(A statue of Henry 'Hotspur' Percy)

(The Dragonquest yard was a activity area for kids)

We spent so much time wandering around and looking at stuff that we completely forgot to visit the cafe. By the time we remembered to, it was already closed, so we decided to walk back to the car. We figured we would be able to get something from the town to eat while on the road, but the Husband was anxious to get back on the highway, so that didn't happen. 

(Alnwick city center)

(This medieval gate was only big enough for one lane to go through at a time)

We ran into a problem while leaving Alnwick; our GPS was supposed to be updated with all the latest road blocks and detours, but it wasn't. While the exit ramp to go to Alnwick was open, the ramp to get back onto the highway was not - so we had to take a detour that took us about an hour out of our way through the English countryside.

(At least it was a pretty detour)

Eventually we made it back to the motorway - which was aptly named The North - but we stopped again at the England/Scotland border to stretch our legs and take pictures.

It was pretty cold out, so we didn't stay at the border too long. We quickly hopped back into the car, and after another hour our two we arrived at Castlecarry, Scotland. We checked in, took our luggage up to the hotel room, and then went down to the pub (which I think was the only pub in the area) for some dinner and a pint. 

1 comment:

  1. Alnwick Castle looks amazing from your pictures. Love the pint shots!