A friend of mine from college came to visit over the weekend.
This is the first American friend I've seen in nine months, and during the course of her stay I was very acutely aware that I was an American in another county. Not that it's a bad thing to be American, but at some point in the past two years I had forgotten that people could automatically tell I wasn't from around here as soon as I open my mouth.
Our first stop was of course a Roman Fort.
This is Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields, which was built to guard the North Sea and is not along Hadrian's wall. It was a huge fort, and at one point a military supply base.
Besides the ruins they had a reconstruction of what the commanding officer's house would look like. I believe the reconstructed house was built on the roman foundations.
The wall paper, by the way was all hand-drawn.
I wish I had taken a picture of the dining room. I hadn't actually remembered that they all lounged about and didn't actually sit down for dinner.
There was also a small museum, which had the best preserved remains of Roman chain-mail and a stone memorial alter of "Regina", and ex-slave. The alter depicted her spinning!
On Saturday we went to York. It was just as lovely the second time visiting.
A ruined abbey that was in the middle of a park.
Parts of the abbey used as the wall for a bed of flowers.
My favorite sign this weekend. You might not be able to make it out, but in the lower right corner it says "Ben".
We also visited the York Castle Museum, which we didn't get to go to last time. It turned out to be a huge (looked small from the outside) and interesting museum. One of the most fascinating things in the museum was a map of York. It looked as if it could be a normal functional map, the hospitals and landmarks clearly labeled in English. The map's legend however and all of the text surrounding the center of the map was in German. The hospital and military facilities had been carefully outlined with a ruler in red.
It's easy for me to forget, as I have only heard for the past two years very few brief references to the bombings. But this map was a shocking reminder how very real the bombings were.