United Kingdom
Newcastle upon Tyne

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    • Day 14

      Alston & Newcastle

      May 21, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Der heutige, letzte Tag stand im Zeichen einer schönen Überlandfahrt aus Alston in Richtung Newcastle. Immer schön kleine Straßen und bloß nicht hetzen.
      Alston gilt als der abgelegenste englische Ort. In jede Richtung sind es zur nächsten ernsthaften Ortschaft mindestens 30 km.
      Das Dörfchen wirkt jedoch keineswegs, als läge es kurz hinter dem Mond.
      Der findige Bürgermeister hat bereits vor Jahren dafür gesorgt, dass der Ort mit schnellem Internet ausgestattet wird. Das hatte zur Folge, dass hier viele kleine Internet Unternehmen sitzen und glücklich über die Ruhe und das schnelle Netz sind. Ohne diese Maßnahme, wäre Alston wahrscheinlich ausgestorben.
      Sehr nett ist auch die kleine Bahnverbindung nach Slaggyford. Früher wichtig für die ortsansässige Bleibergbaumine.
      Heute Touristenattraktion und Beschäftigung für Eisenbahnfreunde. Die Lokomotive stammt von 1937. Wir sind aber nicht mitgefahren, weil wir noch Newcastle einen Besuch abstatten wollten.
      Auf der Reise dorthin haben wir doch noch die seltenen „Belted Galloways“ gesehen, die nur wenig gehalten werden. Weltweit gibt es nur 1500 Kühe. Das Fleisch ist hervorragend und die Tiere sind anspruchslos. Trotzdem stehen sie auf der Liste der gefährdeten Hausrassen. Wer also eine Karriere als Landwirt anstrebt, hier gibt es Potential.

      Ganz im Gegensatz zu Glasgow ist Newcastle ein kleines, lebendiges und buntes Städchen. Die Innenstadt ist in großen Teilen autofrei und es gibt reichlich Bars und Restaurants.
      Hat uns deutlich besser gefallen, als Glasgow. An Edinburgh kommen beide nicht ran. Echt cool. Hier laufen noch richtige Punks rum. Selbst im Supermarkt läuft hier gute Musik.
      Wir haben einen kleinen Mittagstisch in einer Weinbar eingenommen, sind unkompliziert auf der Fähre eingecheckt und gehen jetzt an die Bar.
      Das Wetter für die Überfahrt ist ruhig angesagt. Sehr schön.
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    • Day 19

      The Steep End

      September 14, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      I woke up hungry to walk up and down Newcastle's slalom alleys and lanes, so we walked across the High Level Bridge and back across the Tyne Bridge. We were hoping for some hipster coffee but didn't succeed today. So we went for the other extreme: some really British coffee from Queen's Cafe just across the road from our flat. I heard a Geordie businessman in a great business suit order a bacon roll with brown sauce, and once I had googled brown sauce, I took a creepshot of him because he looked so good.

      After paying off some sleep debt later that morning, we went to Newcastle Castle via Dog Leap Steps (a dead seagull in a plastic bag on the top step, and a homeless person sleeping just next to the castle) and decided to do the full experience from the Castle Garth and Keep to the Tower with its narrow winding stairs, hidden rooms, and giddy heights. This was inspiring and very engaging, although I did feel fear at a few points - especially when walking past an oubliette called "The Heron Pit" and when visiting a tiny cell through a narrow hall where prisoners were kept until the assizes. Chilling.

      We went for a beer at Ask Italian and met a cute gay waiter who we learned was not a Geordie (from Newcastle) but a Mackem (from Seaham). And after that I went for a haircut and beard trim at The Hoi Polloi where my barber Jack Porter gave me a classy trim while being charming with a thick Geordie Accent. Mint!

      Dinner was Italian by the Quayside at Sambuca, and a walk along the banks of the Tyne looking at the reflection of the Tyne Bridge and Sage Gateshead.

      A sweet day.
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    • Day 42

      Reunions in the Toon

      July 1, 2023 in England ⋅ 🌬 18 °C

      Today I woke up and got ready to head into Newcastle. THE SUN WAS OUT!!! I walked to Manors which is right near Northumbria University where I did my masters. I met up with Rach, Ori, Jess and Mollie at a coffee shop there. It was so nice to see all of them again. We caught up on everything and especially what had gone on in basketball world. I then hung out longer with Rach, we drove into town and walked around the high street looking for a pub that was playing the English women's football game. We found one but the game started later so we headed to 5 swans which was our drinking place for 2 years while I lived there. It hadn't changed and the beers are so cheap. We chatted and caught up about everything, then Kate and Brooklan arrived from their morning of shopping and visiting the coast.
      It was then time to go and watch the match, we met with Rachs girlfriend Beth and Mollie came back to watch the game too. The game was average but fun to be in the pub watching together.
      We then caught the train back and grabbed frozen pizzas for dinner. We got ready to go to Zoe's house party. We arrived and Zoe was so stoked to see me which was so lovely. We got a tour of her house which was massive and met her roommates and a few partygoers. There was also just dogs walking around and on couches which was the best. Then Ed arrived! He hadn't changed one bit. Kate, Brooklan, Ed and I sat inside and chatted all night, the sun literally hasn't been setting up here until like 10:30pm which is crazy too. We then caught the train back and ordered McDonald's before heading to bed. It was such a great day seeing everyone again and I really do like Newcastle more than I remembered!
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    • Day 43

      Friend times = fun times

      July 2, 2023 in England ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

      Today I woke up and got ready to head into town. We were meeting Zoe and Ed in town to do a Newcastle walking tour. In town, there was a 10k running which had blocked off major sections of the streets. We literally waited at a crossing junction for 15 minutes as the security guard was letting noone through. He was also a 'twat' making sexist jokes. The walking tour group literally were watching us and waiting for us to get there which was very awkward. Eventually we got over there and we started the tour. It was 90 minutes and it was very interesting. Bless the tour guide, she was reading off little handwritten note cards and clearly has been a Geordie her whole life. We learnt about the monument to Earl Grey and how it's head was hit by lightning and fell off. We learnt about Charles Dickens walking from Sunderland to Newcastle (google it) and so many other facts.
      Zoe, Ed and I then headed to Magic Hat. It's a cafe Zoe volunteers at which utilises food waste to construct a menu. Then you pay what you feel for the food. It was a beautiful little cafe and Zoe actually helped contribute to its construction. She sponsored a toilet, which is now named in her honour. I had a delicious Iranian lime stew and the others had banana pancakes. I also took a piece of cake to go. We headed to a pub called the Old George which is the oldest pub in Newcastle to watch the formula one. It was a cosy little venue with massive screens. Ed and Zoe aren't fans so Kate was explaining the rules and all the drama. We then met a few more of Zoe's friends briefly which was nice.
      We then decided to head back and rest for a bit, then Ed, Kate, Brooklan and I headed to mini golf. It was like Holey Moley but a bit better, we had a cocktail and played some funny holes. We headed to the pub intending to have a Sunday roast, however the pub was closed. We headed home, got takeaway and watched Tallegeda Nights instead.
      It was a really busy, really fun day with lots of friends!
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    • Day 44

      I've found Erin

      July 3, 2023 in England ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

      Today I woke up and walked to the train station and headed to the airport. I got in and Erin's flight had just landed. After a hold up on the luggage belt, Erin emerged looking fresh after a long flight. It was so great to see her and finally have her on the journey. We caught an uber back to the Airbnb where Kate and Brooklan were getting ready to head off. We ended up going with them to Grainger market which is a bunch of shops with food stalls, butchers, grocers and more. We grabbed a coffee and a delicious bagel then said goodbye to Kate and Brooklan. I'm glad that I got to catch up with them both, very happy they are moving their new life.
      Next I took Erin to the 5 swans to show her the favourite pub. We sat and caught up on everything from the last 6 weeks in the sun which was the best. I gave her a tour of the university grounds, the main street, the cathedral, the Lit and Phil library and the castle. We then walked down to the river to see the 7 bridges and visit the Wetherspoons by the quayside. After another few drinks, we headed to a pub with pies for an early dinner. Ed came and met us as well which was nice that Erin got to meet him! The pies were delicious and so filling.
      Erin slowly was fading so we walked home and said goodbye to Ed. We watched some Mamma Mia before Erin headed to sleep. I'm just chilling before the hectic Euro schedule really begins!
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    • Day 21


      September 16, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      It's our last morning in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne as I type this from our posh renovated flat in Akenside House. This place was built as offices over a century ago with a granite lower storey (now Akenside Traders Tavern) and three floors of sandstone. Our flat at the top has sandstone lions standing aflank the windows. The view looks down on Akenside Square, the Tyne Bridge, the Tyne River, and over a clutter of Victorian rooftops. For all my love of hotels and the way they keep throwing clean towels at you, it's hard not to appreciate that no hotel would ever have given us this location at this price.

      Yesterday was a slower day, and I needed a slower day. In fact I still need more slow days so I can work. I tried to do an illustration yesterday and couldn't get anywhere in the 1 hour I had. It's all starting to feel like life back home: persistently out of this weird mystical tripartite substance I call TimeFocusEnergy.

      Stuart was feeling brave and volunteered to get our Sherman Tank out of its tiny mousehole carpark and drive us to Hadrian's Wall. This was easier driving than York or Harrogate: it takes a second to get outside the city limits of Newcastle, and once you're out, things are wide and fine. We plugged "Hadrian's Wall" into Google Maps on my phone and just let the algorithm decide where we should go. After all, Hadrian's Wall slices Great Britain left to right, and people walk the whole length. Theoretically we could visit the wall at many points.

      Google decided we should go to Birdoswald, a very intact garrison with a cafe, toilets, informative posters, and yes, a souvenir shop. Google knows us so well. This was a great choice.

      The very first thing the attendant Maura did was to try and sell us an $80 ticket to all the English Heritage sites - just to save us money, you understand - and preceded to ask us how long we were staying and where were we going? Who the hell did Maura think she was? Google?

      My face morphed into some menacing artifact while Maura plied her sales techniques on us. Stuart stayed blithe and informed her that our next stops would be Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. Maura recoiled at the mention of those places and ceased all sales efforts. Those are in Scotland, and this heritage is English heritage only. Maura was herself Scottish, by the way. She claimed she only wanted to save us money because she was a Scot haha, which is a joke that would've landed if I hadn't been so unimpressed with supersizing, bundling, upgrades, and add-ons. But anyway, when we invoked those Scottish places on the Southern side of the wall, we were given tickets and sent away, encouraged to enjoy the archaeological site.

      I enjoyed the morning well enough. The exhibition itself had some anti-colonial and anti-racist flavours in it that I especially appreciated. There was a cartoon of an Indigenous person flinching underneath Roman speers saying to the viewer "How would you like it if your home was invaded?" This was the same sentiment I saw curated as part of the Jorvik Viking Museum: this honesty about colonialism.

      And it also underscored something about the English that I've never really appreciated before: the English believe that invasion and colonisation is an inevitable part of reality because they've been invaded and colonised multiple times. Little wonder that they should feel justified in colonising more of the world than anyone else: they believe it's either settle or be settled.

      We had cold bright weather standing there at the very limits of the Roman Empire. I was really haunted by the spectre of what happened in the 5th century with the Romans leaving. I don't understand why Empires withdraw and relinquish, but I need to understand it. Because my history education has this massive gap between the Julio-Claudians and Martin Luther (which is partly my fault, since studying history in my time was like taking an empty tray to a a cafeteria and filling it with only the morsels that look most appetising), I had always just assumed that the Romans basically... I don't know... assimilated.

      I was partly right. When the garrison at Banna (Birdoswald) was decommissioned, many of the people who lived there stayed there, and kept working there. And I'm sure they were governed - as Bob Dylan says, "You're gonna have to serve somebody" - but I don't know who by.

      Hadrian's Wall was a pleasure. There weren't many other tourists, and not much other traffic. The gift shop was anticlimactic, which is just bizarre to me because I arrived here with plenty of tourist dollars and a lifetime of dreaming. But a 60 pound jumper with a bland screen print of Hadrian's face on it? No. A cheap Chinese notebook with a wrapping paper pattern of no clear meaning on the front for 10 pounds? No. A 30 pound tee shirt that will fade within 5 washes? No. And as to the ten pieces of meretricious jewellery that one could find at a Boots Pharmacy? No, no, no. I bought a plastic cylinder of freckles (called "Jazzies" here in Cumbria) and left happily.

      That afternoon we walked down to Quayside for a beer (for him) and coffee (for me) and found a ridiculously pretty Art Nouveau building called "Baltic Chambers" across the river from the famous Baltic Flour Mill. The centre part had been turned into a cafe called "CatPawCino" and the corner had been turned into a "funky wee bar" called "The Hooch," which we entered. Stuart ordered a pint of Estrella (which the waitress mispronounced, making us adore her), and I had a Fentiman's Testosterone-Busting Rose Lemonade.

      But after that, I had reached my limit of TimeFocusEnergy. We went home and relaxed for the rest of the night, eating a Waitrose Quiche, listening to jazz, and doodling. This morning we move on to Edinburgh! But it's impossible that we should have better accommodation than this. Newcastle has been very kind to us; it is in fact a very kind place - cultured and honest too.

      I will come back here.
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    • Day 10

      Newcastle upon Tyne

      September 5, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Newcastle liegt am Tyne, der mitten durch die Stadt führt. Es gibt einige mehr oder wenige interessante Brücken, die die Stadtteile miteinander verbinden. Einige interessante Gebäude gibt es ebenfalls zu sehen, aber mehr eigentlich nicht. Der Hafen am Anlageplatz verspricht mehr,als er halten kann. Da muss ich nicht wieder hin.Read more

    • Day 4


      September 27, 2022 in England ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

      I had a pretty busy day today. The only thing that I had left to do in Newcastle was visit the Hancock museum. The Hancock museum had also figured prominently in the on line course that I had taken. It was good to go and check out some of the items that they had discussed. These items can be broken down into items made of stone-think temple stones, grave markers or markers to celebrate Roman individuals or small items that were lost. It has been almost a thousand years since Roman times so what would you expect. It is interesting how much information can be extrapolated from such materials. They also had some bronze age stuff- think bog People and some Angle Saxon stuff which I took in. The rest of the museum was a Natural Science museum which I had sworn off this summer after visiting the Natural Science museum in Ottawa this summer. I did get sucked into looking at the stuff.

      I didn't dally too long at the museum as I had to go back to the hotel get my luggage and catch the 1:30 train to Carlisle. I wanted to use the English Heritage pass to get free entrance into the Carlisle castle. The train ride was very pleasant once we got away from Industrial Newcastle.

      The Carlisle castle keep looked very much like our legislature in Alberta as it was covered in Plastic wrap for renovations. I have a theory about visiting castles. They look alot better from the outside as from the inside. I wandered around a little on the inside and on the battlements but there wasn't a whole lot to see.

      Carlisle is a pretty provincial town with many of the buildings made with Red stone. I have been having phone problems. I bought a Sim card off of Amazon from a third party. The card said 5G but was truly only 2G. I could get data but not voice which I will need to call a taxi today. I stopped at a phone shop. It took the woman in the shop 15 minutes but she finally figured out the Sim card was data only. She sold me another card and I am all good to go.

      Supper last night was Thai. I asked for spicy and was it ever spicy.

      I experienced the energy shortage at my B and B in Carlisle. They didn't turn the heat on but fortunately I had a very heavy Duvet and blanket.
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    • Day 3

      Newcastle; across the city to Quayside

      October 23, 2022 in England ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

      Newcastle is a city and metropolitan borough in Tyne and Wear and located on the River Tyne's northern bank.  Originally dependent on its port and, in particular, its status as one of the world's largest ship building and repair centres, the city today is much more diverse. 

      The first recorded settlement was Pons Aelius ("Hadrian's bridge"), a Roman fort and bridge across the River Tyne; it then became part of the powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.  Newcastel is named after its castle; originally a wooden castle in the Norman times, it was replaced by a stone castle and then rebuilt again in 1172 during the reign of Henry II.

      We start the walk across the city at the West Walls section of the Newcastle town wall, which was built during the 13th and 14th centuries to help protect the town from attack and occupation during times of conflict.  We then walk up towards St James' Park, the home of Newcastle United FC; this is close to Chinatown, one of five in the UK, and we walk through this and pass the Catholic Cathedral Church of St Mary.  We reach Newcastle Central Railway Station; outside of this is the Stephenson Monument, a memorial to George Stephenson who developed the 'Rocket', an early locomotive, with his son Robert and pioneered rail transport and the development of the first passenger railways.  There is a good view of the Newcastle Castle Keep from the station car park.

      As we carry on east we pass the Rutherford Memorial Fountain - a distinctive red sandstone drinking fountain is located at the top of the Bigg Market - and enjoy another view of the Castle from the road here before reaching Newcastle Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas.  We pass the historic Black Gate, originally the castle’s fortified gatehouse or barbican; this is close to the Moot Hall which was commissioned as a courthouse to replace the facilities at the Castle. 

      We now descend to walk along Quayside and see the magnificent and iconic bridges that cross the River Tyne from Newcastle to Gateshead on the other side (see photo captions); these are beautiful both by day and night.

      A brief visit to Newcastle, but "I'll be back".
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    • Day 18

      Driving to Newcastle via Harrogate

      September 13, 2022 in England ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      We had every intention of going to Durham, honestly. I had heard that Durham Cathedral was incomparable, and that other people had laid down happy memories there. I was going off scant mythologies and second-hand memories in this part of the world.

      But by the time we had packed up the car and executed the diamond-heist-difficulty check out procedure (which involved a complicated and precise series of key turns, fob swipes, code types, and corridor walks), I was ready for a coffee before we had even left York.

      I saw the name Harrogate and on pure instinct asked if we could go there. And on pure instinct, Stuart said yes, never mind the fact that English people drive dangerously and were nearly causing a collision every minute. It's not good enough, Britain, to tailgate, change lanes without leaving a crash avoidance space, speed into oncoming traffic, enter intersections without checking them... I can say with the pompous certitude of a learner driver that English drivers do not drive to an Australian motoring standard.

      Driving into Harrogate was unexpectedly congested. We soon found out why: the place is amazing, and perfect for tourism. It felt like a different kind of tourism to Nottingham's Robin Hoodery or York's Renaissance Fun-fayre. This was more like the Blue Mountains back home: a traditional spa resort with maximalist luxury architecture, still luring in a certain older and parochial traveller looking for a nice and pretty place that sells expensive things. To call it picturesque is an understatement: its neat beauty and extravagant proportions were everything.

      My foot was bung so I was limping around a bit, but I couldn't stop. There was just too much to see: around every corner, more cobblestones, more columns, more fancy windows, more hanging flower baskets. We took our time walking around, photographing Dahlias, buildings, and ourselves.

      The drive into Newcastle was unexpected. Everything was so agrarian until it wasn't. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne doesn't sprawl the way Newcastle-Ever-Mine does. And once we had passed the city threshold, suddenly all the buildings were crammed into a tight perimeter, reaching up high. The buildings are all large, but they are squished together on steep ravines. In fact, this is the most vertical city I've ever seen. (I haven't been to Santiago or Hong Kong, but I've been to Dunedin and San Francisco). It's practically Gotham City with its art deco, its caricatured proportions, its achingly nostalgic vistas.

      And with that architectural verticality, that other kind of verticality: massive class differences between the rich and poor. There are beggars here smoking underneath castle archways, and people in Prada suits walking past them with Waitrose bags full of organic provender. It makes the place hard to read. I am so excited I can't even deal with it - I want to walk everywhere around here, as long as my foot will let me.

      I saw an albatross, an eagle, a grey squirrel, and a cranky dachshund today. The dachshund was barking at a busker performing Asturias in Harrogate. I wasn't sure if they were a double act, you know, good cop/bad cop that sort of thing. I thought about it as I walked out of Waitrose with my bag of organic provender.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Newcastle upon Tyne, نيوكاسل أبون تاين, Newcastle, Nyukasl apon Tayn, Горад Ньюкасл-апан-Тайн, Нюкасъл ъпон Тайн, নিউক্যাসল আপন ট্যাইন, نیوکاسڵ, Νιούκασλ, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, نیوکاسل, An Caisteal Nuadh, ניוקאסל, NCL, ニューカッスル・アポン・タイン, ნიუკასლ-აპონ-ტაინი, 뉴캐슬어폰타인, Novum Castellum, Niukaslas prie Taino, Ņūkāsla pie Tainas, न्यूकॅसल अपॉन टाईन, Neuchâté, Ньюкасл-апон-Тайн, Њукасл на Тајну, นิวคาสเซิลอะพอนไทน์, Newcastle trên sông Tyne, ניוקאסטל, 泰恩河畔纽卡斯尔

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