Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Scotland + Northern England

Newcastle-on-Tyne

Tuesday September 9th

After breakfast, Jenny and Camilla and I set off from Heaton. We walked down Ouse Burn, through an area dominated by bridges, railway lines, and light industry - somewhat dilapidated but clearly in the process of being "done up".

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a Heaton street
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Newcastle bridges

We crossed the river and visited the Baltic Centre, a huge old flour mill refurbished as an Arts Centre. The central exhibition was Antony Gormley's Domain Field, consisting of a whole floor of sculptures created using real people as templates.

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Antony Gormley: Domain field
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Domain field

We had had a good view of the Millennium bridge from the top of the Baltic Centre; now (after a snack in the coffee shop) we crossed over it and waited on the other side to watch it opening.

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the Millennium bridge
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the Millennium bridge, rotated open

We met up with Thomas for lunch in the Bob Trollope, a vegetarian pub. This was my first real experience of the local dialect, with the four locals behind me speaking broad Geordie. I also had my first ever Yorkshire pudding.

Newcastle's claims to be a fashionable city were somewhat dimmed in my eyes when Jenny reckoned the best choice for coffee was a US chain -- something I wouldn't even consider an option in Sydney.

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no, it's not the Sydney Harbour Bridge: the Tyne bridge
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the stadium: Newcastle's modern place of worship

Camilla and I continued our tour, visiting the cathedral and the castle, then checking out the Life Centre (aimed at kids, this appeared to have nothing of substance). Unfortunately we left the Discovery Museum to last, and ended up having to leave because it was shutting. This has excellent displays on the history of Newcastle, focusing on modern social history. We watched most of a documentary which, curiously, had nothing about the university but showed the goals from what felt like every soccer cup final in which Newcastle United had featured! Apparently the "town and gown" divide is quite marked in Newcastle.

We went back to Jenny's and then back to the station to meet Haida, a friend of her's coming up from London for a conference, and then went out for dinner. We got to see some of the Newcastle girls out on display, dressed in micro-skirts and sleeveless tops -- which fashion they apparently sustain even in winter! (Camilla wouldn't let me take photos.)

We walked down to Millennium bridge after dinner, then caught a taxi back to Jenny's place and stayed up to 2am talking philosophy.

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