I've never spent so long away from Bilbo so it was an awful long time to go without a doggy fix. I recognized the signs of serious withdrawal symptoms when I caught myself in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam just pointing out the paintings with cute dogs in them to Dogdad.
Amsterdam seemed to be a very dog-friendly city with lots of well-behaved pooches hanging out around the city center.
The Netherlands get an extra gold star for having the sense to accept when a law doesn't work. They maintained a breed ban for 15 years but repealed it in 2008 in favor of owner responsibility laws after studies proved BSL to be ineffective. We didn't see many bullies in the capital although I did have to be prevented from throwing myself across the tram-tracks to meet a gorgeous American Bulldog.
While we did a bit of dog spotting in London and Amsterdam, it was while we were up north that I definitely missed the boys. Bilbo would have loved scrambling around the countryside along Hadrian's Wall though it would have been a bit steep for Buster at times.
Much as I love Chicago, I'll admit that more than once I toyed with the idea of returning only for as long as it took to throw Billy in a crate and hop on a plane back home. While having a dog in the city has it's own advantages I was incredibly envious of this pack loping around the countryside.
As Northumbria is one of the best kept secrets in the UK and I'd like to keep it that way I'll keep the scenery photos to a minimum but who recognizes this famous tree?
Sycamore Gap is a well-known landmark on Hadrian's Wall (the wall you can see along the ridge was built by the Romans) but Kevin Costner as Robin Hood somehow managed a detour there on his way to Nottingham from Dover. That's the tree he found the little boy hiding in.
Of course, we did have a bit of doggy company on one of our walks, a little closer to home. It takes about 3 minutes to get from my mam's house down to the clifftops so we fit in a few beachside rambles. After meeting up for coffee at Souter Lighthouse with about half the family, we stole Balto for a walk in the sunshine.
I'd seriously contemplate murder in exchange for a cheese scone fresh from the oven at the lighthouse cafe right now. That could be the jetlag talking.
It might look inviting but the North Sea is icy at any time of the year so only a brave few take a dip except on the two truly hot days a year that we get up north.
I'm hoping to get back for Christmas this year so I imagine our next clifftop walk is going to be an awful lot colder.