Friday, June 02, 2006

Once gained never lost

We've done a lot of things since my sister has been here. The most dramatic was a visit to Hadrian's wall which is about a two hour drive from us. For those who don't remember their ancient history lessons, Hadrian was a Roman emperor who built his wall to define his territory. It was the furthest north the Romans ever conquered.

It was a rainy windy day and made worse by the fact that the wall itself is set on the highest ground around. At one point we literally had to get down because the wind would throw us off if we didn't. I had kind of hoped for the Great Wall of Britain, but it wasn't quite that big. In a lot of places the stone had been pillaged over the years (about two thousand to be exact) to build locals' houses so there were big stretches of just earthen mound. We toured two Roman forts, each still quite well-defined, and a small Roman temple to Mithras. We saw that the Romans had discovered underfloor heating and flush toilets (of a sort). Their floors were built over their hot water pipes and we found the evidence of a sewer system. They also had complex bathing facilities with all kinds of ways to get clean. I felt sorry for the Romans stationed there though. They came from hot sunny Italy and then had to live in miserable windy northern England.

Partner keeps promising me that it does in fact get quite hot in England in the summer and I just need to wait, but I've been here three summers so far and all of them have been rainy and cool. I'm beginning to lose faith.

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