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A Flying Visit to Carlisle

A Streetlight in Carlisle


I visited Carlisle on Saturday. Even though it was a flying visit, I’m glad it has finally taken place, as I wanted to visit this ancient Roman city for a while. One thing even a casual visitor will notice is perfectly straight streets – a trademark of Roman city planning. 
I didn’t have a chance to visit any historic places, apart from Carlisle Market: a lovely Victorian trading hall, complete with lacy blue decor of steel stalls, located in the 1854 premises. I successfully overcame a temptation to buy some green wool, as a matter of fact. Carlisle is located a stone-throw away from the Scottish border, and it is not uncommon to meet people from Scotland or even Ireland dropping for a visit.
Most importantly, in personal sense, is the fact that this was the first time I visited Cumbria since 2006. One of my colleagues recently remarked that my training as an historian certainly impacts the way I talk about things. “Every time you speak about something, you always seem to be giving a precise date, like, “Um, I watched this movie on the 17 of November 2005 at 6 o’clock in the evening””, he said. 
Admittedly, I rarely give a precise time, but sometimes my memory registers minute details of season or year. In 2006 I was in Windermere, it was a rainy cold January day, and there were four people in a car. It was one of those “family trips”. There was even a lunch in a restaurant with the view of the lake from the window. 
Since then I’ve not been anywhere near Cumbria, and since 2002 I’ve never visited the county in summer. Luckily for all travelling, it was a hot sunny day, and for a good one and half hours we were driving past the green and yellow fields, windmills, cows and sheep, and magnificent mountains. 
Although I’d love to come back to Carlisle and spend a day or two exploring it, I feel this is a good omen overall. I’ve not been to Scotland yet, and a short conversation with a lady from Dumfries was a huge inspiration. So, before I go anywhere outside the UK, I’ll have to travel across the northern border to either Glasgow or Edinburgh. 
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