When Janne invited me to join her on a mini cruise trip to Newcastle, I immediately agreed, even though I knew little about this Northern England town (except that it's where Newcastle United is from - the reason why Mitchell felt a genuine twinge of jealousy upon hearing my plans). We would spent two nights on a small cruise ship, and one day in the city of Newcastle. It turned out that not much more time is needed: Newcastle is rather small, and perfect for a one-day city trip abroad.
We left our own tiny country in the late afternoon, to arrive over 15 hours later at our destined location. On board there were plenty of (rather expensive) restaurants and bars, where live music and a game of bingo was there to amuse us during the trip. But for the largest amount of time, we slept in a nice cabin, enjoying a relatively quiet night as the sea and its waves had decided to stay put for the time we were sailing it.
In the morning we watched the sun rise, which was definitely worth waking up early and going into the icing cold outside. It was a marvelous experience, to see the sky go from orange to yellow to pink to blue and finally see the sun peek over the horizon.
Land ho! The morning was bright when we finally reached our destination. We got a first and nice view of English landscape as the ship slowly sailed alongside the quay and into the harbor. We were so lucky the day was perfectly dry and sunny!
From the harbor a shuttle service took us to Newcastle, dropping is off in the middle of Newcastle's old town, where we were surrounded by many old and brownish buildings that were nevertheless larger, more impressive and more romanized than I had imagined. A very pretty and lovely city indeed. First we took a stroll down the Christmas market, where we bought some food to go at one of the stalls. Then we quickly looked into the shopping district, which was more modern and less good-looking than the old town, so we soon moved away from there.
Grainger Market was our next destination: an indoor market with adorable little stores selling fruits or candy and shops selling frills and baubles and cheap clothing.
From the city center we walked down to the river, on cobblestone streets along antique-looking buildings, like a typical English pub packed with smiling old men enjoying their beer.
Close to the river we sat down at The Great British Cupcakery, where we had the sweetest and biggest milkshake ever. It was delicious, even though it did opposite from warming us up, make us shake from all the sugar and nauseous from the amount of food we had consumed in only a short time!
Next we spent some time at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Here a couple of small exhibitions could be viewed for free! More importantly: this museum has a free viewing deck as well, where you get a nice view over Newcastle and its many bridges. Those bridges can also be viewed from the quay alongside the river.
By the end of the day, when the sun was going down, we walked back through the adorable streets until we got to the bus that would take us back to the ship. And even though it was a short day, we felt quite satisfied: no more than a short day is needed to get a general impression of this beautiful city, and to see quite a bit of it.
Before I went there I had no true expectations, but I didn't think much of it as I knew relatively little of this town. Now I know that this city is absolutely worth a visit! One day is perfect, but if you're able to stay longer you could try out some of the fabulous and modern restaurants that are located in many of the old buildings here, or take a tour to Alnwick, the castle where many scenes at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies were shot.
Have you ever been to Newcastle? Let me know in the comment box!
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