No trip to a city called Newcastle will skip over a visit to the castle that gives the city its name. The city has been called Newcastle since the old wooden castle was replaced by the keep in the 13th century and Aarti and I spent almost an hour exploring the castle keep. There were excellent views of the river (including the bridges) and of the train station from the top and plenty of narrow corridors to explore. It’s a little unfortunate, but even though the city is called Newcastle, the castle keep itself was strategically useless after just a few centuries. This was mainly because a massive city wall was constructed.
By this time, I had also realized that Newcastle is not far from where George Stephenson was born, and the city claims the father of the steam railways as their own – Stephenson Rocket. There was a big statue of him near the train station. The station is truly massive. It’s also got a bend in it, which is much easier to spot from up above.
That evening we joined up with Luca and Morgane to go out and do what Newcastle is known for. We probably tried half a dozen clubs at the Gate.
It’s hard to describe what I saw, but it’s safe to say that I’ve been scarred for life. The girls, even the ones who looked way too young, were wearing the sluttiest clothes imaginable and way too much bright coloured make-up. There were a few near fights, among both genders, but I have no doubt that we’d have seen more than one had we stuck around. Also, plenty of crazy costumes for the stag and hen nights.
The club we spent the most time in was playing classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s. It was pretty cool that all of us were rocking out to YMCA. We also chilled out in a salsa bar in a failed effort to find dancing, but a successful effort to find mojitos.
The next morning we walked down to the riverside outdoor market for some breakfast and to check out some of the shops. About 30 minutes before we had to leave, the Millenium Gateshead Bridge began to open, and that is a very cool piece of engineering. Instead of opening in the middle, the bridge tilts up on its side. We managed to get a few photos of the whole process – it was very impressive.