After working my ass off the last month, I really decided that I needed to find the time to take a full day off and trip somewhere.
The program has been incredibly intense, and basically I guess I haven't had much time at all to explore Edinburgh or Scotland. I studied 3 Friday nights in a row! It requires that much work/studying. Which is also one of the reasons I haven't been updating my blog. I've been working my ass off and haven't had as much stuff to write about because I just haven't had time to do anything worthy of writing about (except food, which I have more coming, when I get time...)So anyways, I had to force myself to take a day off, clear my head, and go somewhere to take my mind off all the work I need to do.
I decided to go to Newcastle. It was only a 1.5 hour train ride south, over the border with England. I made the journey solo, basically because I've been spending all my time with classmates in and out of class, so I just wanted to be able to walk around at my own pace, see what things I wanted to see, and share the experience with just myself and my Ipod (how selfish!). It was very refreshing.
I got up bright and early as it was just going to be a day trip, and took a 9am direct train. I looked up a few things the night before, but otherwise, I didn't know what I was going to see.
Luckily, the weather held up. It was maybe 35-45 degrees, but at least sunny for most of the day. The city has about 10 bridges in a really fairly small area. Some are old, and some are new, but all of them are very interesting architecturally. They are all different styles and so I walked over all the ones I could. It helps also that one of my classes, the lecture each week the teacher talks about bridges and buildings, so I had myself thinking about how the loads were being distributed in these bridges (dang I guess I am actually learning something!).
There were about 3 pretty old cathedral's I went in, as well as of course Newcastle, which is the castle that gave the city it's name. It was first built in the 1000s, out of wood. Then in the 1200s, it was rebuilt in stone. There are lots of influences in the style of the arches and the decorations from the Normans, who were there for a short period of time. But of course the castle is stragetically placed at a high point in the city, so you can see everything from the roof (kind of like the castle in Edinburgh).
There was a nice Sunday market going on down by the river, so for lunch, I had a pork roast sandwich with stuffing (apple flavored), grilled onions, and brown sauce. Damn, it was goooooooooooooooooooooood. I topped it off with a nice brownie from a stall selling home baked goods, and that completed the lunch food coma.
The city also had a few really nice areas with pedestrian only walkways. Lots of shopping, of course. I stopped in a pub looking for a Newcastle, but it turned out to be a microbrewery, so I enjoyed one of their beers and watched the Newcastle Arsenal soccer game that just happened to be going on
The milennium arch (it's a pedestrian only walkway) (actually, it looks really cool because =it only supports human weight, therefore they can make crazy looking designs...if cars went over it, it might be different...it was probably made by an architect not an engineer because all they wanted to do was make something that looked cool... end stuff I've learned in my 'Philosophy of Structures' class, haha)
A cool performing arts/cultural center:
Some of the bridges over the Tyne River:
So good it's called 'Tasty Fried Chicken'
Norman style decorations on an arch at at castle Newcastle:
View of the city from the castle roof (St Nicholas Cathedral in front)
Best Pork sandwich I think I've ever had. I even went back to compliment the lady from the stall that cooked it:
That's about it! Scotland vs. New Zealand rugby game on Saturday. Been looking forward to this for over a month!!