Farewell Caledonia

Haste ye back

In the morning we got a good early start on oure journey back to Newcastle.  Instead of twisty turning hair-raising roads we had Freeway all the way from Falkirk to “The SOUTH”  (that’s what all the highway signs say… none, not one says “England”  – it’s always just “the SOUTH” but as you get closer to the Borderlands they drop the capitals. 

We followed the route of Hadrian’s Wall all the way to Newcastle. Hadrian’s Wall is a 73-mile long fortified wall built around AD 122 by the Roman Empire of Britania for protection  from the Picts, who were a warlike tribal confederation of Celtic people. The Picts were known by tattoos covering their entire bodies so the Romans called them Picts or “painted people. (it’s not known what the Picts called themselves.) The Picts are thought to be the descendants of the Caledonii peoples and other Celtic tribes . The Picts were fierce Celtic warriors that stopped the invasions of the Romans and the Angles in their lands north of the Rivers Forth and Clyde. The first that the Picts appear in writing are from the chronicles of the Romans who had invaded Briton in 43 AD and stayed until the tenth century. They were a dominant force in what is now Scotland for at least 600 years.

We made it to Enterprise rental in Newcastle with time to spare for our 12:00 return.   We saddled up and went to Macdonalds for a Latte and our prepacked picnic lunch (still using up the leftovers) which they allowed us to eat in the outside table area. 

We had no trouble getting to Hadrian’s Cycleway to the ferry.  We found a better safer way from the Enterprise car rental plan than last time. It was a beautiful ride – no rain! On the way we met two men who had walked the entire Hardian’s Wall… that’s definitely a “thing” for the Brits to do.  Hadrians Cycleway Only 13 miles to the ferry so we were there in plenty of time for the 5:00 sailing.  The check in, immigration, and admission to board was long and arduous. After securing our bikes in the designated spot we had to lug our paniers up to our cabin – but only 3 flights this time so not as hard as before. The first 4 levels are all vehicles and the 5th and 6th are mostly vehicles. We were seasoned sailors this time and knew how to get settled quickly and to get the comfy chairs at the front view lounge.  We enjoyed lightening our load by consuming the Scotch whisky in our favorite flask and some snacks we brought. In the morning we consumed the rest of our snacks instead of the full ship’s breakfast.  It was a very calm crossing, but pouring rain when we reached Holland. The cyclists leaving the ship was a very regimented process… no possibility of staying aboard until the rain let up. They took no pity on the few cyclists standing in the rain to clear immigration, allowing nearly all the motor vehicles through ahead of the cyclists. 

We waited in the ferry lounge for the rain to stop, and then had a wonderful 13 mile ride through the Kennemerland forest area with a lunch stop at the Stach in Overveen. Then on to our stay at Florapark 6 in the south part of Haarlem just across the street for the lovely Frederickspark (Haarlem’s answer to Central Park).  What a wonderful place… an apartment carved out of the lower floor (semibasement) of an elegant  mansion. I was a little leery going down the narrow 7 stone steps to what looked like a dungeon… but then there were a series of doors and the one Petra led us to turned out to be a bright apartment with a complete kitchen, a large bath and a huge king-sized bed.  It had a  wraparound set of windows with windowwells facing the Park.    

Three relaxing days in Haarlem – a much needed R&R stop.  Day 1 we rested up and bought enough food for the few days here. On day 2  we rode down to Hillegom to check out our stay with the family on the day we get off the barge boat on Sept 9.

Haste ye back

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