Welcome to Newcastle, city of historic bridges!

I arrived in Newcastle on Saturday at about 11:30. Due to some type of a) food poisoning b) stomach flu or c) nerves, I had spent a good part of the morning throwing up… and trying to drag two ridiculously heavy suitcases through Heathrow. But I finally arrived and got a cab to my new “flat.”

After struggling to haul my suitcase up three flights of stairs (thankfully my very nice landlord carried one) I pretty much passed out for a couple of hours to recover from my strange disease. When I woke up (determined not to succumb to the treacherous jet lag) I went for a walk around the city to find out where I’d signed up to spend the next year of my life. The city is gorgeous. It’s very old and a whole lot bigger than I thought it was. I never got the impression from the descriptions that it had shopping at all, but there are two huge pedestrian streets of shops and three giant malls.

Today I did a sightseeing tour of the city. There was lots to see. Newcastle was built on the location of an old Roman fort, and has huge ties to Hadrian’s Wall. On top of that it’s been a city since medieval times. So there’s lots of old!

But what they seem to be proudest of is their bridges. There are six in total, going across the Tyne river from Newcastle to it’s neighbour, Gateshead.

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I took that picture standing on the Millenium Bridge, and you can see four other bridges! Crazy.

By far my favourite part was Castle Keep, the castle that gave Newcastle it’s name. It was built by William the Conqueror’s son. The society of antiquities has perserved it and you can actually just walk around and explore all the different rooms and levels. It’s quite good. I love visiting castles, but with a place like Edinburgh Castle or Blarney Castle, there’s so many people and everything’s so touristy that it’s hard to really enjoy it. Castle Keep might not be as large or impressive, but it’s definitely more fun to explore.

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7 Comments

  • By Eleni, September 7, 2009 @ 6:19 am

    Ooh, I threw up the night I landed in Honolulu! Not much, just a bit, but still. What is with that?

    The ex-civil engineering nerd in me wonders 1) Who designed those bridges and 2) When they were built. Not that I would be likely to recognize the engineers’ names or anything, just because it seems like the thing to wonder.

    Look at those worn steps. I love the photos. I can’t wait to see and hear more!

  • By Sebastian, September 7, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    You didn’t think it would have… ’shopping’? …

    Just about every town in the UK over 30-40k people has most chain stores. Newcastle is a CITY! 300,000 people!

    It might even have multiple libraries…!

  • By Hezabelle, September 7, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

    I think it DOES have multiple libraries. But everything I got from the university kept saying it was a “small town” so I kind of thought that it was like a small town here… with a few grocery stores and a McDonald’s! Haha.

    I even emailed some American girls who went to Newcastle University last year and when I asked they said “It’s okay, but not great. You can always go to Durham.” But there’s TWO H&Ms!

    Clearly, I was wrong. I think it must be almost as big as Ottawa.

  • By Sebastian, September 7, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

    Ottawa’s about 800k says Wiki, so not quite!

    Durham’s meant to be very nice, though I’ve never been. It’s tiny tho’ — 45-50k or so!

  • By Lisa, September 12, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

    Newcastle looks GORGEOUS! Before I leave the UK (whenever that may be!) I need to make a visit up north…so many other places to see!

  • By Hezabelle, September 13, 2009 @ 9:27 am

    Lisa, if you come up to the North you can stay with me! I’m working on getting a blow up mattress and there’s more than enough space here!

  • By Shaun, October 11, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

    Most proud of our bridges? LOL I dont know why that made me laugh but it did :P
    I dont know if I should be defending Newcastle or agreeing that Durham is better….choices choices

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