I took the train an hour from Edinburgh to Alnmouth in the region of Northumberland in northern England to stay with Nikki, a girl I lived with when she was on exchange at UNBC. I am staying with her and her family in their summer home, which is near the ocean. I am getting lovely home cooked meals and have a room all to myself which is a wonderful change from sharing with several people in hostels.
I had been blessed with great weather for my entire trip but here it has been cold and rainy. I don’t usually have a problem with rain, but it feels so dreary; although this is a wonderful place, I think the rain would scare me away from living here. The countryside is filled with sheep, cute homes and villages, old walls and daffodils.
The first afternoon when I arrived, she and I went to a beach and walked through the sand with my shoes off, it felt so nice. We walked until we came across an old castle then we turned back and headed for a little shore side pub to duck out of the rain.
There are several old castles in the region since it is so near Scotland. One of which is Alnwick castle, which is the castle primarily used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies. We toured around inside, it is the largest inhabited castle in England, lived in by the Percy family which are the Dukes and Duchesses of Northumberland. We saw the area where the first flying lesson scene in the first Harry Potter movie was filmed and saw some sort of Harry Potter remake play. Amongst all the HP stuff was a war museum, a carriage, a haunted house, a royal library etc. The castle was gorgeous, despite the cold and the rain; it inspired me to watch at least one of the Harry Potter movies over again.
After this castle we drove around and checked out some other castles and walked on the beach. Everything is so cute and I am sure there is so much interesting history here. Tonight we are going to the local watering hole where Nikki works in the summer. Tomorrow we are driving down to Newcastle and Ill catch a train to London Kings Cross where Ill catch another train to the region of Kent where I will meet some distant relatives on my dad’s side.
I really don’t know much about these people but I’m sure it will be wonderful. One of them is my grandpa’s cousin. My grandpa’s mom moved to Canada from England when she was a little girl and left her three older sisters behind in England and never saw them again. The people I am visiting are those sisters’ children and grand children. My aunt visited them when she was my age and says that I should be prepared to drink a lot of tea, but I’ve already gotten lots of practice at that since I’ve been in the UK, so no problem.