The trains in England look nothing like MetroNorth or NJ Transit, not even Amtrak. They kind of resemble a mixture between a spaceship and an airplane. The seats are two by two and above them are digital signs that tell you whether or not the seat has been reserved and if it has for how long. It's a great concept, especially if you have a long ride and book your ticket early enough, then you know you'll have a seat for the entire ride.
We took the train to the next stop southwest, Darlington (about 16 minutes) and then walked to the bus stop on Tubwell Row (how adorable are these names?). Again, we made it just in time for the bus to Barnard Castle (the town where the museum is located). I didn't see much of Darlington, but I did manage to see the marketplace. Not as adorable as Durham's, if anything I would say it is more modernized.
It was my first time riding a bus in the UK so I had Barbara go first so I can see what to do. You don't need a bus ticket before getting on which is nice when you're running late, but you can only pay cash or purchase an unlimited bus ticket per year or semester (I'm debating if I want to get one). You then tell the driver where you are traveling to and they charge you accordingly. Since we both only had 10 pounds and no smaller change, Barbara bought our outbound tickets because buses also don't offer a lot of change. She also told me that in some cities you throw your money into a tin (kind of like old-school tollbooths where you throw in exact change) regardless if you have the exact or not. Of course, you have to pay over not under the ticket price.
The bus ride itself wasn't bad, it took about 30 minutes to reach Barnard Castle. I have to say, the north east really does have a billion sheep farms! It felt like every five minutes we passed a different farm with fields full of sheep. When we finally arrived in Barnard Castle we had to kind of guess it was our stop because the driver doesn't call out "last stop!". But you kind of figure it out since everyone else is getting off. The Bowes Museum was only 1/4 a mile away so we walked there. The sun was peaking through the clouds at this point but there were still a few occasional drops of rain.
|The Bowes Museum|
Barnard Castle, United Kingdom
|The Silver Swan|
After the museum we walked around Barnard Castle (from what I understand I think Barnard Castle is the village within the town of Teesdale). We stopped for a late lunch at a tea show. We had first tried a couple of pubs but it turns out they stop serving around 2pm and break until 7pm. Thankfully there was a little tea shop. Afterwards we walked around a little more (Barbara had been to the town before and knew of a nice vintage shop she wanted to check out), unfortunately everything closes at 5pm so we decided to hop back on the bus and head home. All in all I had a lot of fun. I'm hoping next weekend to travel to Edinburgh for Halloween/a pagan festival the Scots celebrate where they paint themselves blue.