So we got back from the Newcastle trip about.... 6 hours ago. It was another trip done through the International Office.
At first, Jake and I didn't really think they had that much going for them, and then I found out that in Tynemouth, they have this awesome castle on a cliff with a beach next door. So we decided that we would definately go there, as it was a 30 minute train ride, for 3.80 pounds roundtrip. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
We got dropped off in a spot that was different than where they had originally told us we'd be dropped off (they give us packets about the cities when we pay that tell us places we could go and where we'll be dropped off, etc.). So that changed the route we had planned on taking, but not by much.
We started off by going toward the wall. There's a wall that used to go around Newcastle as a defense. Part of it was still there, so we found it and walked along the length of it (it wasn't that big). Conveniently, the wall dead-ended at Chinatown. This Chinatown had an Imperial arch, just like the one in Liverpool, excepts this one was smaller. Then we turned around a bit to go to Blackfriars, which used to be a Friary full of Dominican monks (I think). They wore black robes and shoes. Crazy guys. Anyway, the wall had gotten built through their little village, and because their garden was on the other side of it, they got a key to be able to go through and take care of their vegetables. Of course, you can't build a wall around a garden. Psh.
Anyway, after that, we went in search of the Earl Grey monument. We got lost along the way, but then we found a handy dandy sign pointing behind us. The signs in Newcastle are awesome. Know how in movies/cartoons there'll be a stick with 384957893475 arrows pointing in different directions? That's what they had. It was awesome. Anyway, Earl Grey had some musicians down by the base of his pedestal. They were pretty awesome.
From there we got on the Metro, aka train to Tynemouth. It's pretty much exactally like MARTA in Atlanta, except the trains are probably older. Speaking of trains, the girl in charge of the bus we were on said that the first train was tested in Newcastle. Don't know if that's true or not. Anyway, we get to Tynemouth, get off the train, and realize we don't have a map (reoccuring theme I think). But- their train station is pretty cool- they have a local market there every weekend, and there was a guy playing an accordian. So we walk out of the trainstation, and they have a sign with arrows! One of which says, go this way to get to the castle. So we went that way, and ta-daa! Castle. It was AWESOME.
Seriously. AWESOME. In capitals. We probably spent like an hour wandering around it and taking pictures of it. It's mostly fallen down, but the little chapel was still together, so we could go in there, and then part of the main building (I guess...) was still together and you could go up two/three levels sort of. The kitchen was still in one piece! But yeah, it was cool.
Then we went to the beach that was right next door. Literally, it was just down a little hill. We wandered around and took pictures and almost got stranded on some rocks when the tide started coming in. Heh. But we escaped! Jake's toe got wet and I stuck a finger in the ocean. So we have been in the super North Atlantic. Yay for us. Then since it was Valentine's day, Jake found a stick and made a heart with Amanda + Jake in it. Awwww. Then we ran away from the ocean before it swallowed us whole and went back to the trainstation to go back to Newcastle.
Upon returning to Newcastle we went across the Millenium Bridge, and then across a red one, and then we got to a castle in Newcastle, which is all whole and in one piece (I assume). However, we got there at 4:45 and the last admission is at 4:15, so we didn't get to go in, just walked around. But we might go back to Newcastle at some point in the future. Then we just kind of worked our way back to where the bus dropped us off at.
Soo.. plans for the future:
We both have essays due soon, so we're going to use tomorrow (Sunday) and next weekend to work on those. Weekend after that we're going to York on our own to look around.
After that, there's a chance we might meet up with one of Jake's friends from high-school who is in Florence and go somewhere with him.
Other than that, we're currently working on plans for Easter/spring break, which is a month long.
Pictures will go up sometime this week, I'll try and make it before Friday, but Friday really is the easiest day for me to put them up. Maybe Tuesday. We'll see.