Thursday, 5 September 2013

Gibside - Tyne and Wear

I was looking for a nice place to lunch

And seriously, who wouldn't be on a gloriously sunny but cool Saturday (31st Aug)? Needless to say the weather along with the amount of free time I had both encouraged my sense of adventure to soar. Usually I'd plan to go to a historical landmark or site a day or two ahead - seeing as transport is always an issue for me, planning ahead makes it easier for me to figure out my route, which bus or train to catch, when to leave to catch them etc. This time however, it was purely a spontaneous and sudden decision.

No need to say where I'm headed!

Simple, relaxing and pleasing

The three major verbs that floated around my mind when searching for the perfect place to go to. Roaming through the online pages of The National Trust website, I was attracted to the idea of having lunch and then a quick stroll in the woods or grassland before dusk hit in a place that was, as usual, easily accessible by public transport. Gibside, as the website suggested, seemed to be the answer to my search. The 200 hectare property was said to compose of a chapel, stables, a statue, old ruins, tea room, grassland and, perhaps the most important thing to my in my opinion, a forest. With a place goal in mind, I ran gracefully  straight to the train station behind my flat to catch the train up to Newcastle. Gibside was a quick bus ride (the 45 or 46) away from Newcastle AND was available every 15 minutes! What a relief!
Bridge to Terebithia Gibside
My secret hideaway in Gibside - a place where dreams can soar and are limitless
Getting there within a short amount of time also meant that I had just enough time to walk around the whole of Gibside; I got there at around 2:50pm and everything would close at around 5pm. I reckon one of the highlights of Gibside was the entrance. You'd have to walk across a bridge above a river an a stunning grassy picnic shot (see the first picture below) to get to the park's gate. Thereafter you have to pass through the ticket booth before crossing a long and curvy wooden bridge that would lead you up to the actual park; it felt like I was getting transported to a secret world!

Cute DCUK figurines in the Potting Shed Cafe!
Stunning dress inside the chapel
At the stables... O__o

The road not taken

Road to the Column to Liberty
A path so long and fine - who knows where it'll lead me...
The poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, essentially emulates my aim during my trip. For every path and every corner, every entrance and every exit - I would take the less friendly one (i.e. the darker ones). Why be like everyone else and walk the usual Gibside strolling path when I could have an adventure of my own in a new path instead? In my opinion, that was probably the best decision I made. I simply let my heart guide in the direction it felt like going in and I had a blast. I first entered the stunning walled garden that was filled with different sorts of colorful flowers and plants. Next I was led to the newly restored orangery - an old ruined building made up of columns and large windows - the centre piece of this open-air structure was a whole array of flowers and plants. What made it an overall architectural masterpiece was it's location - set up high on a hill, people that visit the orangery will witness an absolutely breathtaking view of Rowland's Gill and essentially the north east country side.

The Orangery and the stunning view of the north east countryside
The Banqueting Hall from afar
The Column to Liberty
If you do ever visit Gibside, don't forget to explore the other buildings including the chapel, stables and banqueting house - they're all just as lovely. The massive statue known as the "column to Liberty" that stands proudly on another hill directly on the other side of the chapel is likewise an architectural masterpiece. However, what really did it for me attracted me were the tall and robust tree trunks that were neatly tucked away behind a path leading from the orangery to the stables. Had I had more time, I would have loved to sit within that atmosphere to simply imagine and dream. For it was there that time ceased to exist and reality was hidden away on my presence. Stories and emotions of tranquility, happiness etc. filled my head - it was like I had found inner peace. Thus, my fellow readers, I conclude on this note: If you ever feel like you've had a really rough and tough day or simply feel like stepping away from the stress of life, consider going to a park (or Gibside if you're ever up north!). For it is there that you can be the writer of your own story, the hero of your own fantasy, and ultimately, the controller of your own experience with no strings attached.

Fun with shadows using the windows of the Orangery :)

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