Thursday, 4 June 2015

Bamburgh Castle and Berwick-upon-Tweed

Welcome back...

The journey begins...
Ever tried to restart something you’ve given up on? It’s a crushing feeling, most likely accompanied with dragging feet, trembling hands, and the sudden desire to retreat back to one’s comfort zone (e.g. bed) because fatigue has just arisen as a result of a sinking sensation of fear, probably of messing up again. That somewhat summarizes how I felt on commencing my blog for the third consecutive year in a row. Anxiety would be far too extreme, but a hefty dose of worry was undeniable.

I mean honestly, would anyone bother reading/ taking notice of a blog that’s had a year-long hiatus (NOT because of blogger's block)?

Train station brekkie

Bag of treats - best company for any train trip
They say that mood is in sync with weather. I think that’s rather subjective. For example, rain might be appreciated much more in a dry and arid environment than in a cold atmosphere that appears to receive this more than necessary throughout the year. So it’s difficult to say that the feelings associated with weather are universally identical. 

Passing Hogwarts (Durham)
However, no matter where I am when this occurs, the beaming sun always brings out the brighter side of myself. And with the exams and assignments officially finished, the seductive voice of travel sounded more than just alluring. Time to de-stress from a year of consecutive all-nighters and endless hours of biological and cultural anthropology revision. It was DEFINITELY time to start blogging and castle-hunting again, I thought. And with that, it was off to the train station for me shortly after that bold decision…

Admiring mother nature along the way...

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Bamburgh Castle

I’m not a huge fan of buses; I much prefer a long, sleepy train journey through valleys, caves etc. However, the journey to Bamburgh Castle was definitely delightful. The sunshine obviously helped but for me, the best part of it was being able to see the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (at least that’s what my understanding of geography told me) – a sight I’ve been longing to view personally for quite a while now. That being said, the scenery along the way was NOTHING in comparison with the castle itself. See below if you don’t believe me.

Bamburgh Castle
Yeah, I was flabbergasted. And I think the (pleasant) shock in my face amused the driver who said, rather casually, that he confronted this majestic and massive historical landmark on a daily basis.

Castle windmill
The Billiard Room
Looking into the King's Hall
Whilst you’re in the castle, you have a choice of frolicking through the greenery, exploring the state rooms which echo a fusion of Victorian and Medieval architectures, and admiring the Northumberland coast and beach. Here’s a tip: do it ALL. And take lots of pictures too, especially if there are interesting exhibits on (hence the photogenic owl). 

"Hoo" are YOU?/lame joke, ikr

If you visit the state room, be sure to get the audio tour - incredibly informative and interesting, I liked how you got to hear additional stories regarding the castle (particularly the ones about wandering ghosts...)

Castle kitchen
I didn’t get time for this but I think at a certain hour of the day, it the tides are low enough, it’s possible to walk over to the Farne Islands where you can admire the undeniably adorable puffins and other winged-wonders.

The Farne Islands
Oh and we can't forget about the sitting pigeons - so cute :)


Berwick Bridge
With every journey, an ending must occur at some point. Sometimes they can be quite simple, like walking out through the door to exit a museum. But in other cases, the finale is much less smooth. Which brings me onto what happened to myself after my castle visit. Obviously the learned traveler would automatically purchase a return (bus) ticket, knowing that the best way home was back the through the route they started with. However, despite my efforts, the mode of transport I was hoping to board failed to come to my rescue.

I felt like I was falling down into a bottomless pit, never expecting to catch even the faintest glimpse of daylight once again.

Nature at its best

You know the saying, keep calm and carry on? That becomes tremendously difficult when panic peaks. However, I believe that help will always find its way to you when times become desperate. And luckily for me, this was true. Through the assistance of several kind strangers who I met, I soon found myself driven back speedily to Berwick-upon-Tweed railway station, the place I had landed in prior to my journey to Bamburgh. Unfortunately though, time was not cooperating. I soon found out, to my annoyance, that the train I needed to catch was not due to about an hour later. Won’t anything go right today? I thought.

Journeying into the sunset

But then the sun descended down with a friendly gaze, and beckoned me to depart motionless and silent railway station. By following its gestures, I soon found myself next to the River Tweed, just below the magnificent Royal Border Bridge, next to the castle wall ruins. It was then that I realized that an hour’s wait for the train was not so bad, for I was transfixed by the breathtaking sight standing boldly just in front of me. It felt rather tearful when we had to say goodbye.

Farewell, Berwick
So, morals of the story:
  1. Always have plan B (if necessary, implement plans C, D, E, F.. you get the idea)
  2. Don’t panic (obvious point but seriously, it gets you nowhere)
  3. Never give up on your passion (I mightn’t be the best blogger in the world, but my love for writing is everlasting).
  4. Take time to immerse yourself in the wonders and culture of the local surroundings (the knowledge you gain from travelling is life-long, and definitely make good stories to tell your friends and family during dinnertime!)
This year’s slightly different – I’ll be busy with summer work. Nevertheless, expect frequent posts, words of wisdom, and daily rambles about travel, food, fashion and life from yours truly soon.

#Imback (finally)

Royal Border Bridge, Berwick-upon-Tweed

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