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Hadrian’s Wall

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Corbridge in Northumberland

Hadrian’s wall was another vain attempt, in the long history of humans, to keep us away from them. The Romans could not take the north of Britain; it was too cold, full of blood thirsty midges, and hostile, blue face, skirt wearing Highlanders. So they built the wall. Part of this massive engineering marvel were many forts and towns along its lengthy expanse. We decided to take an 8 mile walk from Vindolanda, the rich site of archeological finds, and Housestead one of many intriguing Roman remains. What a beautiful countryside Northumberland is. Rolling hills covered in deep green grasses dusted with bright yellow buttercups. All of these wonderful sights were framed by the ever present gray, brown, and white straight lines of rocks stacked high by industrious Romans.

Scotland

The rolling, green, treeless, hills of Northumberland slowly fell away to the slightly more treed, rolling, green hills of Scotland. Our first stop in the bonny land of the Scots was Jedburgh, which is where Mary Queen of Scots spent some time liaising with her third husband to be the earl of Bothwell. Alas, after this it did not end well for her. She ended up losing her head to her second cousin, Queen Elizabeth the first, Regina, the mighty queen of England. We discovered another sacked and ruined Catholic Abby in Jedburgh. This was thanks to that insightful and universal church purging King Henry the eighth, who had no need for the catholic hypothesis. We bid Jedburgh farewell and continued our journey to the center of Scottish culture and thought: Edinburgh. Our first stop in this big old city of many burghs was the National Museum of Scotland. This is a well laid out museum and a fine place to visit. The natural history exhibit had the most unique catalogue system I’ve ever seen; well worth the time to see.

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