In May 2012, my son Kris and I took a trip to the U.K. This is part 2 of that experience.
Took the train from Inverness to Edinburgh and then another train from Edinburgh to Newcastle. Being in first class is nice. Had a nice breakfast on the first train. Second train theoretically had high speed Internet service, but in practice, not so much. The countryside is beautiful, though, and I enjoyed watching it go by and just relaxing.
Newcastle is in northern England, not far from the Scotland/England border. It’s also the home of my friend Lynn Jackson, whom I met at a TechRepublic Live meetup and with whom I later became good friends on Facebook. Lynn and Ian graciously invited me and Kris to stay with them for a few days in Newcastle. It was great to get to spend time with them and a fantastic opportunity to see England from the viewpoint of people who live there, rather than just from a hotel room/tourist perspective.
They have a great home(which is really large for a U.K. row house) and Lynn is a fantastic cook. I think I gained 20 lbs. during the 4 days I was there. She plied me with all sorts of wonderful food such as fruit (sounds innocent, even healthy, huh?) drowned in Ambrosia custard and double cream (not so healthy but orders of magnitude more yummy). Oh, my. Mousakka with all this cheese on top. Greek salad with lots of cheese. Something I can’t spell made of Greek yogurt and cucumbers and other stuff that you spread on delicious soft bread. And that was just one meal. Every night it was something new and yummy.
We went to downtown Newcastle and saw the bridges and buildings. The juxtapositioning of the old buildings with new, ultra modern structures was fascinating. The pink double-decker buses caught my eye.
I loved the way these birds’ nests were lined up on the ledge of this building.
Shopping in the Grainger Market, a sort of indoor mall (but not like any mall I’ve seen in the U.S.), was a lot of fun.
Newcastle is all about bridges – seven of them, to be exact. And we saw them all and traveled across several of them.
Another day, we took a train to South Shields, which is on the shore of the North Sea. We walked around town, stopped and had the best (and biggest) fish and chips I’ve ever eaten, and shopped at an outdoor flea market type place.
The next day, we were off to see Hadrian’s Wall, which was built during Roman times. Parts of it and the buildings around it are still being excavated. It was fascinating to see such ancient structures.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Newcastle. It’s a nice medium sized city and has a very different feel from London – which was a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. If I were going to live in England, I think I’d much prefer Newcastle.