24 September 2011

We Explore Roman Vindolanda

New Zealand is a very young country. Our {European} history barely stretches back 180 years, so to come to a place where people have lived and loved for thousands of years... it kind of blows our little Colonial minds.

The plan for Friday was to catch the train and meet up with Mr G in Haltwhistle, where he ended his walk along Hadrian's Wall. We made it to the train on time. On board Miss Fab grabbed the camera and snapped some pics. Scrag posed obligingly.

We joyfully reunited with daddy, and enjoyed a lovely lunch with Aunty Margaret at Haltwhistle. She filled us in on Mr G's adventures on Hadrian's Wall. He walked 25 kilometres in the pouring rain, falling twice. He walked with a bunch of American tourists for most of the way, and finally limped into the wrong pub for his rendezvous with Uncle Cliffy. Somehow they found him and took him home, where he finished off his day by dripping all over Aunty Margaret's kitchen floor and falling asleep in his dinner...

With Aunty Margaret & Uncle Cliffy

Mr G had a great adventure alright, and Hadrians Wall had worked its magic on him. Now he wanted to share it with us, show us where he'd been and what he'd seen and learnt about the Romans who built and manned the wall nearly two thousand years ago.

The Wall was built by the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, to keep the barbarian Scots out of England and to establish the edge of the Roman Empire. The Wall stretches for 80miles across the north of England {along what used to be the Scottish border}. It was patrolled by soldiers who lived in forts and villages nearby for over 300 years, until the decline of the Roman Empire. Much of the Wall still remains standing nearly two thousand years after it was built.

Daddy took us to Vindolanda, an excavated Roman village and fort on the Wall, so we could understand his excitement and learn a bit about history.

Of course Vindolanda is all mostly ruins. Foundations, piles of rubble.
But there's something kind of eerie about the place. A wide open windswept moor in the shadow of the hills, rather bleak.

You walk along paths, stand in places where people once lived so very long ago. For them, this was home. Or exile from home. How would it have been to be sent to this edge of the Empire, far from everything. In this little huddle of rocks and walls they built a corner of comfort from the cold English winters and wet autumns.

That's what I imagine as I walk through these old old places. Stand in front of glass cabinets displaying discarded shoes someone once walked in; admire lost earrings someone once wore. Real people, vanished forever, once lived here. I love old things for this reason. People fascinate me.

So it may be just a pile of old rocks to some, but to this Colonial tourist, its intriguing.

My children laughing and running where vanished children once laughed and ran.

My son walking the stones of a Roman road, where other women's sons once walked.

This is a milestone. An actual Mile Stone - the Romans set them up along their roads to let travelers know how far they had come. They were clever, those Romans. They even had flush toilets. Did you know that?

So glad Mr G took us to Vindolanda.
A trip back in time.
Thanks Daddy!!

Now back to the present...
we are about to sit down and watch the All Blacks whip France. I hope.
And then off to St James Park this arvo to watch Newcastle.

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Sammy said...

Go the All Blacks! 19 to nil currently. C'mon Black! Smash those (loved by God, of course) Frenchies!

Sophie said...

Love Sammie's comment :) Sounds like you're having a whale of a time Simoney and the kids are growing up so fast!

Clare Hubbard said...

Yay, such a magical experience (including the All Black's win hehe) I can see you are having an amazing time Simoney - you deserve it!

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