Sunday, May 13, 2018
Alnwick, England, United Kingdom
******Just gotta say this…it IS possible to have a worse wifi connection than we had in London.  The one here in Alnwick is so temperamental that I lost my entire blog before it got published.  So…gonna redo it the best I can!*****
We’ve had a great, but very brief stay here in Alnwick.  And we’ve learned a lot in the last 36 hours. The first thing I learned yesterday afternoon while looking for a bus in Morpeth, was that I’ve been pronouncing the name of this town ALL wrong.  It is properly pronounced Aaaaa-nick.   How did we find ourselves in a town called Morpeth (pronounced just like it’s spelled) when we had a train ticket to a town called Alnmouth, you ask?  Well, that’s what happens when:  a) you can’t understand people’s accents; b) the website tells you the Alnmouth is the next stop after Newcastle; and c) all you catch from the announcement of the stop is the ‘thhhhh’ at the end, and think ‘close enough’!  So off you jump, only to see the station sign as the train is pulling away.  And the lady says “In I doen nut have anither treen to Allan-mouth today”.  Hmmm, now isn’t this a sticky wicket???  (Even though there’s no L or W pronounced in Alnwick, there IS an L pronounced in Alnmouth...who knew?).
So off we go to the local bus station in Morpeth.  I ask the driver if there is a bus to ‘All-in-wick’.  To which he replies “Aaa-nick”.  I say, yeah “All-in-wick”.  We finally got on the same page, pronounciation-wise when he says “this is it”.  My response “But when is the NEXT bus cause my friends are in town.”  He says, and I quote “there’s one every hour.  There’s another one in 30 minutes.”  Even I can’t do that math!! Through the jigs and the reels, we finally make it to Alnwick.  An hour or 2 late, but all in one piece.
Our accommodations are upstairs in a tavern.  I made the booking a looong time ago, cause finding rooms with 3 twin beds is not always easy.  I communicated with the owner via email and made the booking on a third party provider.  Imagine my surprise when we checked in and were shown a room with a rather small double bed plus a single.  Yes, they do have a room with 3 singles in it, but it was booked a looong time ago.  I doubt it was as long ago as I made my booking, but we’ll never know.  After a little back and forth, and a name drop of the person I had emailed with, we were offered a second room with a single bed at no additional charge.  Not ideal, but better than trying to cram 2 into a small double.  Kudos to them for going the extra mile to make their customers happy.  I think I’ll be writing a letter...but a good one this time!
We had tickets to a local theatre production last night, which turned out to be a blessing.  Not much goes on in this one horse town on a Saturday night, so local theatre was the best game in town.  Today was spent enjoying the Alnwick Castle and Gardens which was the sole purpose for our stop here in this neck of the woods.  Why there?  Well, because of the tie in to both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.  Both were filmed at the Castle.  We enjoyed touring the inside and outside, however the much sought after Broomstick Training session was canceled due to inclement weather.  It wasn’t even raining, but apparently some ‘tool’ once broke his ankle on the wet grass when he fell off his broomstick, so all future sessions are canceled if it IS raining, or has rained recently.  
The Alnwick Gardens turned out to be our biggest surprise to date.  We had no idea just how much there was to see and do there.  We planned on visiting the Poison Garden, but quickly learned that was just 1 of many different areas worth visiting.  Everything from various flower gardens, orchards and water features were very deserving of a peek.  And to top the day off, we had reservations for a late lunch at The Treehouse.  This spot was designed to imitate the Weasley’s Burrow from Harry Potter.  A full functioning restaurant in a multi level tree house.  Amazing ambiance aside, the food was phenomenal.  Best meal thus far, hands down
It’s been a great visit to this little ‘off the beaten path’ town.  And tomorrow…back to big city life and Edinburgh.
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