Day 10: Hadrian’s Wall and The Saga of the Stroller

Car Rental in Newcastle

Today we got up a little earlier than we wanted thanks to the sun coming up and through the curtains at 4:45 AM. Thankfully, we got the kids back to sleep until about 6:50.

As we packed up to leave, Shelley asked a question: where’s the stroller? We looked around and suddenly realized we had left it somewhere! After a few minutes of thinking, James remembered putting up above the seats in the train. In our rush to get off, we left it behind on the train!

Below is the church of St. Nicholas, right outside of our lodgings in Newcastle.

So we headed out to the get the rental car and we stopped by the train station on the way to see if the stroller had been turned in to lost and found.

Our “apart-tel” was on “Amen Corner” (see below), so I just had to take a picture of that.

So we walked to the train station, talked with management, and they said nothing had been turned in. However, they said that train headed off to a depot after it arrived at the end-of-the-line station in Newcastle and they occasionally send over lost items left on the trains. He called the depot, no one answered, and then left a message. We gave him our number and he said he’d call us in about an hour if anything turned up.

After leaving the train station without the stroller, we walked to the car rental agency and picked up the minivan. James was rather intimidated about driving on the left side of the road, but Erin helped him navigate downtown Newcastle’s confusing city roads and one-way streets.

We parked the car outside of our lodgings, brought the stuff down, and proceeded to put the carseats into place. Below is Erin trying to get the carseat down snug enough.

Finally we were all loaded in and ready to head out on our adventure!

Where Are We Going Today?

As you can see from the map below, we explored quite a bit of Hadrian’s Wall today. We started in Newcastle (star) and headed to Corbridge, Chester’s, and Housesteads. It was a full day!

Roman Corbridge Fort

Our first stop, Corbridge Roman Fort, had a lovely museum. Ancient Corbridge was not part of the wall, but it was a critical fortress and supply center for Roman operations in northern Britain. Below is the outside. It was a very pretty day.

Here’s a couple of shots from the museum.

Outside, the old Roman fortress had been partially excavated. Below you can see a picture of the massive granaries with raised floors for ventilation so that the corn wouldn’t mildew.

A good old selfie in front of the granaries.

The kids on a column pedestal outside the granary under what would have been the front portico.

Modern Corbridge Lunch

After looking through the museum and listening to the audio guide, it was lunch time, so we headed just a mile over to modern Corbridge. We had to park across the bridge from the town, which provided us some excellent views as we walked. Micah had fallen asleep on the short ride over.

Below is Aunt Shelley and Zeke crossing the bridge over the river Tyne.

We walked to the quant town’s center and enjoyed lunch from Grant’s Bakery, a local shop that made excellent sandwiches, pastries, and desserts. Below you can see a panorama of half of the city center where we ate on the steps of a small monument. We also found a grocer next door and bought some more fruit.

Zeke and Micah got a cupcake for dessert. It was good!

After lunch, we crossed back over the Tyne to our car and then headed out to our next stop along Hadrian’s Wall. There was no word about the stroller yet. The guy at the manager’s office should have called Erin back by now, but hand’t. James was still kicking himself mentally for leaving their precious stroller.

Chester’s Roman Fort at Hadrian’s Wall

Micah had taken a short nap earlier, so she stayed awake, but Zeke fell asleep on the 30 minute drive to Chester’s Roman Fort.

Below is an info panel about it.

After he woke up, Zeke was in fine spirits. Both Zeke and Micah loved seeing the sheep in the pastures as we explored the ruins.

Below is Micah with her harness flapping the wind, just like her daddy when he was very little in Europe.

 

Below is a picture of the ruins of the base commander’s quarters. Very lavish. You can see Zeke, Shelley, and Erin in the picture on the left.

And here is my favorite picture of the day:

Lugging two kids around was getting tiring. It sure would have been nice to have the stroller for at least parts of it, even though it wouldn’t have completely gone where we wanted it to go.

Housesteads Roman Fort at Hadrian’s Wall

Our next stop was Housesteads, which is one of the best preserved Roman forts and parts of Hadrian’s Wall. Below is an infographic from the site. Notice the path leading up to it. Housesteads is up on an escarpment that takes quite a hike to get up to!

And here’s the hike. Up that trail all the way to the top of the hill. It was about a half mile, up hill most of the way. Those white specks on right side of the hill? Sheep. Hopefully that gives you some perspective on how hard it was to carry two little children all the way up to Housesteads Fortress.

Here’s a picture from the top with Housesteads Fortress in the foreground and Hadrian’s Wall continuing onward. The north wall of Housesteads Fortress was also part of Hadrian’s Wall.

Here’s Zeke being silly on the wall.

I got to hike a small part of the wall. It was really nice. Erin snapped this shot of me.

By the time we got done hiking the wall, the kids were done. Actually, beyond done. See below:

So we carried the kids back down the hill to the parking lot and headed back to Newcastle Railway Station to see management again and hope that the depot had sent a shipment up to them that included our stroller. But it felt like we might be wasting our time because it would take 45 minutes to get to Newcastle and then an additional 2 hours from Newcastle to get to our lodgings for the night. Was it worth the trip back to Newcastle?

Journey Back to Newcastle

The kids settled down after eating dinner which Erin whipped up in the car. They were so tired they started acting silly. I’ll take silly over fussing. Micah eventually fell asleep.

  

So we parked in Newcastle and went inside the rail station and BEHOLD they had our stroller!

We couldn’t believe it! It was such a relief to see it because lugging our kids around all day today without it really taught us how important the thing truly is. Finally, we headed out of Newcastle to our lodgings in Harrogate.

A Hotel in Harrogate

We arrived at the Cairn Hotel very tired from a long day.

Erin and Shelley run the kids through their bedtime routine.

Zeke decided he wanted to get in the bed and under the covers. What a goober.

Once the kids were in bed, we turned in as well. It had been a VERY long day!

Day 9: Traveling to Newcastle

Today I let out class a little early and we began our extended free travel weekend! We are headed to Newcastle Upon Tyne. So we began our journey with a taxi to the railway station (because we have so much junk).

Inside the taxi, we headed out!

    

We got to the train station and waited for our train. Zeke was super excited about riding a train!

Once we got on board, we took a few pictures.

  

   

We saw some pretty countryside along the way. We also passed through Birmingham, York, and Durham.

Finally, after 4 1/2 hours, we arrived in Newcastle! The train station was really impressive.

We’re staying in an apart-tel (apartment+hotel). It’s right by St. Nicholas’ Cathedral. Yes, the bells do ring all…stinking…night. Our host even provided us with ear plugs!

And here’s Zeke looking up at the cathedral from our lodgings.

Here’s the inside of our swanky modern lodgings.

   

   

Zeke got all snuggled into Aunt Shelley’s bed like he was going to sleep there (spoiler: he wasn’t). We brought his small pop-up tent for him to sleep in.

Once we got the kids settled down, we showered and went to sleep.