York to Edinburgh – Britain
DAY 2 – We stopped off in Durham to see its famous castle and the fine Romanesque cathedral. Durham city was built on Island Hill or ‘Dunholm’ in 995. The panoramic view of the Cathedral and Castle has been described as ‘one of the finest architectural experiences of Europe’ and together they are now designated a World Heritage Site.
The castle is a magnificent Norman fortress, built from 1072. In 1837, Durham Castle was handed over to Durham University, which today is a world-class university with 15,000 students. I must say the students of this university are so fortunate to have their education in such a fine place and with such steep history.
Construction of Durham Cathedral took place between 1093 – 1274 and was treated by architects as an experiment for geometric patterning. Within the cathedral you’ll see lozenge shape patterns from prehistoric carvings which are unusual for cathedrals, Chevron patterns on some piers in the nave, indicative of Moorish influence and ribbed vaults criss-crossing above the nave.
Next we travelled north to see Hadrian’s Wall, Britain’s most impressive Roman monument. Emperor Hadrian came to Britain in 120 AD to organize a more robust defence system. He ordered that the wall be erected across northern England to mark the northern limits and the northwest border of the Roman Empire. It was so amazing seeing this wall and everyone dashed off with excitement to take shots. Some went into the paddocks to get a better views, but were booby-trapped by sheep’s droppings. So beware!