Spring Break Part II – Birmingham
Good Friday and Easter Monday are Bank Holidays here in England, so most people clear out of town. Kate and Richard decided to head up to the Midlands to visit his mum, and invited me along for the trip. We left Friday afternoon and after a sadly unsuccessful attempt to find some white eggs for dying, we made it to Birmingham. I had my first good fish and chips ever, and it was pretty fantastic. Saturday the three of us set out – with the assistance of a very posh-sounding TomTom guide – to visit Ironbridge. Ironbridge is a World Heritage site, and is apparently where the industrial revolution in England began. It was pretty cool town, actually, and one I’d visit again. It almost reminded me of an Italian village, the way the homes were built into the hills. We visited the Gorge museum, but there are nine others one can see, and I’d imagine they’re all pretty interesting. The bridge itself – the first built from cast iron in the world – is quite a site.
That evening we saw Clash of the Titans. In 3-D. It’s entertaining. And kind of a fun reminder both of boring Saturday afternoons when nothing else was on TV as well as my 10th grade mythology section.
Easter Sunday we took the Kraken (aka Holly, the most beautiful German Shepherd EVER) to the Lickey Hills. That’s right, England has some hills. These ones are gorgeous. After regrouping back at the house Richard’s mum joined us for a visit to Aston Hall, a lovely old manor house built during the Jacobean era. The owner, Mr. Holte, was a Royalist, but somehow the house was not burnt to the ground by the parliamentarians. There is, however, still a scar in one of the staircases from cannon fire. The only bummer is that it is right next door to the football club that shall not be named. Fellow Blue Noses must hold their lunches down to make the drive in, but once inside the estate it is easy to forget about the Villains. Of course, they are easy to forget anyway!
Yesterday before heading back to London we stopped by to see the Staffordshire Horde. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it either. But it is amazing. A local man who likes to use a metal detector to find old coins and such discovered it in July last year, and it is one of the only finds of its kind. It’s by definition a treasure, so it technically belongs to the Crown, but Birmingham was able to raise the funds (over £3 million) to keep it in the Midlands. Right now there is just a temporary display of some of the items from 700 CE, but they are an absolute sight to see. Such intricate detailing. One of the staff members said it will take about ten years to go through it all, clean it, attempt to identify it, and work it into a display.