I keep forgetting what it feels like. The buzz of waking up early and embark on a journey to see something new; the fear and excitement of the unknown, of getting further and further away from your comfort zone and commodities...that feeling of being completely surrounded by nature, which is often when you realise how small and insignificant you are when looking at the bigger picture. This world we live in is truly special, and one cannot deny that there's something magical about nature. How the seasons change or even how life grows and transforms the world we live in. And it is true what they say; that once you've caught the 'travel bug', it's hard to go back.
This year, during the Easter holidays, I've decided to go on a small day trip to the Holy Island.
The Holy Island is a tidal island off the northeast coast of England, and where there's recorded history from the 6th century AD! The island was an important centre of Celtic Christianity, and it measures 3 miles from east to west and 1 ⁄ miles from north to south. The island of Lindisfarne is located along the northeast coast of England, close to the border with Scotland. It is accessible, most times, at low tide by crossing sand and mudflats which are covered with water at high tides.
What intrigued me the most about this place was exactly the fact that the high tides are what make it an island! In order to access the island, you need to cross a 3 mile road that disappears once the tide is high.
Driving to the Holy Island was a breeze. I left home at 6am and enjoyed the deserted Saturday morning roads. The sun was rising to my left, and as soon as I reached the Island, I was overwhelmed. Nothing but a long road with water on both sides, and lots of warning signs asking drivers to check tide times, before attempting to cross. As it turns out, driver becoming stranded on the Island seems to be a regular occurrence, and one I was definitely trying to avoid. But I went prepared! I printed off the safe crossing times for the day, just to be extra careful.
You couldn't hear a sound! I pulled over as soon as I started crossing, and since there was absolutely no traffic, it was safe for me to do so. I got my camera out the car and started taking photos. The sun was still rising, but already high up in the sky, which created magnificent metallic reflections on the pavement. It's hard to put into words the beauty of this place.
The crossing was super quick, not longer than 3 or 4 minutes. I didn't know much of what to expect, but I wanted to keep it that way so I could be blown away by the beauty of this place. Soon, I arrived and parked near St Mary's Church, that was closed for renovations.
I wanted to find a place to get a coffee and have breakfast, but most places didn't open before 9am. Since I had the time to kill, I started exploring. The first stop? The priory!
The monks first came to the island in the year 635 but fled after the violent Viking attack in AD 793. The ruins you see today are from the early 12th century, when the threat of further raids had receded. The arch is a remnant that has, remarkably, survived despite the central tower above it collapsing over 200 years ago.
The arch was super close to The Manor House Hotel, where I was hoping to get breakfast. Unfortunately, despite the signs by the door that literally read 'we serve food all day to both residents and non-residents, the staff refused to serve me breakfast because I wasn't staying at the hotel. Maybe the sign by the entrance needs to be changed...just saying...
Luckily, I had some snacks with me, and although I would kill for a coffee, I had to wait another hour for one of the few existing cafés on the Island to open. I continued exploring in the meantime.
Next, I walked over to Lindisfarne Castle. It was closed, but you could still see it from the outside. A former fort, converted into a holiday home, this castle is from the 16th century was made into a family home by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901.
This walk was beautiful. You could smell the sea, hear the birds, and the sun was shining. Next to the castle, there were three little 'Hobbit Holes', tiny houses made with a design based on the idea of what appeared to be upside-down boats. These sat just by the castle, with their tiny wooden doors, and I honestly wouldn't mind living in one of them!
The view from the castle was breathtaking. You could just about see the horizon, as the morning fog lifted.
One hour later I was still exploring, but decided to head back and look for a place to have breakfast! I knew my chances of finding a place that offered vegan options were slim, but I was still determined to try. So, I went down the steps back towards the car, and the hunt for breakfast began! Little did I know, it was easier than I thought!
The Holy Island Post Office saved the day! This was the first place I walked into, and I struck gold! I asked if they served any vegan English breakfast options for breakfast, and to my surprise was told yes! Not only that, but they also offered the choice of either coconut, almond or soya milk!
I ordered a latte with almond milk, and when the coffee arrived, the waitress came to my table and asked if I'd like to have some avocado with my breakfast, since I wasn't having bacon or any sausages. I kindly thanked her and said yes, of course!
I can be biased, but this was the best English breakfast I've had in a very long time! Plus, the avocado tasted like no avocado I'd ever tried. It was super, super tasty! I was impressed! My English breakfast was served with beans, tomatoes, hash brown, mushrooms, avocado and toast. They apologised for not having any vegan butter. The service was impeccable, and so was the food and coffee! The coffee was the tastiest I've drank in a while. I've been cutting down on coffee, but still could tell that this coffee was exceptional.
Breakfast finished, it was time to continue exploring.
I left the Island at 10:30am. I visited a few souvenir shops and decided to move on to my next destination: Berwick-upon-Tweed.
This town was incredible. I really enjoyed the vibe of this vibrant place. Five miles north of the Holy Island, this is the most northerly town in England and perhaps no other town in North East England has had a more eventful history than Berwick. This place had beauty all around it, including in the most hidden corners. So peaceful, yet so full of life and crowded in certain streets.
This town reminds me of both Gateshead and Durham. Gateshead, because of all the bridges, river and quayside, and Durham due to its narrow and picturesque roads. Walking through these streets, you can feel a sense of community from the locals, even as they gather outside the pubs for a morning chat. I felt so relaxed walking through this town.
I decided to head back home at around 4:00 pm. I absolutely loved this trip!
For the born traveller, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim's time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.