8:09 PM

Hadrian's Wall & Newcastle United

Posted by Melody

I got up at am and went down to breakfast. I had a fried egg and full breakfast. We loaded up the bus for our the adventures of the day. We first made a stop at Chester's fort. Dr. Hogg walked us around and showed us the directional gates, the barracks, the centurion's house, and the baths with the latrine below it near the river. Thanks to going to the Roman Baths in Bath, I knew most of everything I was looking at without referring to the plaques on the site.

We left there and made a quick stop at some sort of (I forget what Dr. Hogg called it) little bitty (like maybe 20x10) temple ruins with altars in it. People today will still come by and leave an offering on the middle altarpiece (coins, peanuts (haha!), etc.). In the time it was used, only certain members could go to certain parts of the temple. We left and parked at the coach parking lot for lunch. I had the coronation chicken sandwich with bean and bacon soup made with a chicken broth.

Now for the exciting part of the trip, Hadrian's Wall! Dr. Hogg made it interesting for us by having the coach to drop us off about 3-4 miles away at Steel Rigg. The hike was harder than the one he had us do at Grasmere. This hike was consistently straight up a mountain, down a mountain, straight up, etc. We stopped off at a few scenic spots along the way to catch our breath and admire the view. It was absolutely gorgeous! (2/20/10 - I will come back and post pictures of it when I get my laptop fixed. The screen went out, so I cannot see what I am doing.)

We came to a spot near the last 1/4 of the hike that had 2 paths, one that continued the up and down pattern, or a more level one. Even though my heart was beating out of my chest and I had to go slow due to my shoes not being the most suitable for hiking in mud and on wet rocks, I chose the up and down one. I knew it would not kill me, so what does not kill me will make me stronger. I ended up being happy with my decision when Dr. Hogg showed us where we could walk on a section of Hadrian's Wall. Not everyone got to do it because Dr. Hogg was trailing in the back with us slow pokes. Haha! Slow and steady wins the race.

We get to the Housesteads Roman Fort set at Hadrian's Wall. I walk around with Dr. Hogg because I knew he would show me the coolest things about the fort and tell me about them. He showed me the area where they kept their grain dry, oven for baking, a peculiar area that he did not know what the function of it was for, the latrines (more on this in a second), the barracks, the centurion's house, and the north gate that had a hangup about it (it was built on a cliff-if you stepped out of it, you would fall).

Alright, so what is so interesting about a latrine? The Romans were pretty smart in building these. There was a deep U-shaped drain that went around the edge of the room. This was for the business to go in and drain out to the river. When these were in use, there was a wooden bench (decomposed and no longer showing now) with holes (no privacy) over the top of the U-shaped drain. There was a little U-shaped drain at floor level that water from the river flowed through. This little drain was for the people to take sponges (although Dr. Hogg disagreed with the sponge theory and offered up lamb's wool as a more probable material) and dip it in the water to clean themselves with. In the center of the room was two basins to, I guess, wash their hands in.

We all walk back to the bus and head off to the hotel to get ready for the Newcastle United vs. Coventry City football game. I desperately needed a shower after getting all muddy and sweaty. I tried to start my shower, but could not for the life of me get it to work. After 10 minutes of fooling around with it, I call reception.

Hello? "Hi, I know this might be a really dumb question, but I cannot seem to get my shower to turn on. I have tried everything I know to do with no luck." I will send maintenance up to look at it for you.

The maintenance men come in and they figure out that it was the turn knob that was the problem because it had no grip to it. The older man sends the less older one to get stuff. He comes back with a knob, they fit it, and voila. I take a shower and get on the bus with one minute to spare.

We head off to Newcastle to watch the football game. Andy's wife and coworkers joined us. We arrive at St. James' Park (Andy calls it The Temple) and John (one of Andy's buds) showed us where our turnstile was, then sent us off to find dinner (since stadium prices are so ridiculous). Amy and I go to a stand right outside the stadium. I get a burger and fries. We sit on the steps in front of some closed storage thing in the stadium and eat. After that, we visited the club shop. I bought a long-sleeved replica jersey on sale for 10 pounds. They were running a promotion for free printing on replica jerseys. I got my name and the number 9 printed on my jersey. The reason why I chose 9 was due to the fact that number was assigned to their best player, who retired. They have not given that number to any other player since.

I walk up to my seat, which was on the east corner of the stadium. I had a very good view from my seat, so kudos to Andy for knowing his "temple" so well. The next 90 minutes was full of action. The crowd was not as crazy as I thought they were going to be, but this was not a huge rival team anyway. Maybe that was a good thing? Newcastle United scored one last goal against Coventry City in the last minute making the score 4-1. Yay Newcastle! We head back to the bus and come back to the hotel.

New word of the day: howay the lads! = term of encouragement for a sports team

Cheerio poppets!


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