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".
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.
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.
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
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.
no, it's not the Sydney Harbour Bridge: the Tyne bridge
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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