May 30, 2012
Nov 07, 2012
. Pretty posh for budget accomodation! We go out the door of the hostel, down a little stone road, through a stone arch tunnel, and we come out right at the Berwick Old Stone Bridge! In case you didn't catch that, there is a lot of stone in Berwick, which makes it so beautiful. The Old Stone Bridge was built in 1634 to cross the River Tweed. Berwick-upon-Tweed is built right where the River Tweed empties into the sea. Beautiful location to go with the beautiful buildings. Past the Old Bridge is the Royal Border Railway Viaduct. Sounds so cool, looks cool too. Built in 1850, it was the longest and tallest stone arch bridge in it's time. It was quite overdesigned at the time, so as the train loads increased over the years, no additional reinforcing was required. Hey, sometimes those cautious engineers get it right! Past the viaduct was Berwick's ruined castle. Not much left of the castle, but the ruins were still pretty cool.
We spent an afternoon walking around Berwick, along the town walls and near the shore. The morning we left, Berwick had their annual Heritage Open Days. Once a year, important old sights around Berwick open their doors to the public for the day. We went to a couple before we had to go catch our bus. But that's getting ahead ourselves, the next few blogs are of our day trips from Berwick, so pretend it isn't the morning of our leaving.
Berwick-upon-Tweed is our first stop in England. It is really close to the border of Scotland, so there is a blend of Scottish and English accents. That messed with my head a little bit because a couple of times I thought we were still in Scotland, and I referred to Berwick as "our last stop in Scotland." Good thing I was talking to a lady from New Zealand, and not an Englishman. Once I figured out what country we were in, we headed down to our hostel, which used to be an old granery. It was converted into a hostel a couple of years ago after some debate in the town. A lot of people wanted to destroy the building and make it a parking lot. They said that having a youth hostel would attract some shady characters and cause problems in the neighborhood. Turns out, the youth hostel has done nothing but boost Berwick's economy and keep a historic building at the same time. The building itself is really cool, stone walls with big metal wideflange (I-shaped) columns throughout. On the top fifth floor, there is a huge self serve kitchen and lounge with a tv, and the whole second floor was turned into an art gallery