Day 3: Glasgow to Newcastle
I took a cab to the Queen Street station – the driver grumbled it was a five minute walk, and he lost his turn at the rank for a more lucrative ride. It was certainly more than a few minutes to the station, and certainly not an easy one with all my luggage. Yes, I travel heavy with all my photographic gear.
The train journey was just over two hours and a half including a change in Edinburgh, with enough time for a morning coffee during the break. I was greeted in my hotel by Tom Keating, a Blue Badge guide, to show me around town. He took me past the Newscastle Castle (yes, there is one – more on it later) to a weekly market along the river Tyne. I picked up a few wall signs and a big wall clock – regret not getting some homemade cakes packed too. The river is spanned by many bridges connecting Newcastle along the north bank, and Gateshead along the south. NewcastleGateshead is the brand name for joint promotion of culture, business and tourism in the two cities – offering all that a traveller could ask for. Art collections, weekly bazaars, shopping for all budgets and tastes, the finest of restaurants and cafes, events the year round – it all happens here.
A coffee break at Starbucks (bad decision when the country is dotted with lovely tea rooms) followed by a short bus ride brought us to Grey’s Monument in the centre of town – it comprises a statue of former Prime Minister of the UK, Earl Grey atop a 130 foot column. The honour was bestowed upon him for his reformist outlook – the world famous tea happened to be named after him. This is also the shopping district of town. Close by, we explored the indoor Grainger market – you will find one of the original Marks and Spencers Penny Bazaar still in business but you might not even get thoughts for a penny any more there. The walk continued past the stadium of the local football team, Newcastle United – an impressive structure despite the team itself going through a woeful time. We cut through China Town – nothing exceptional about it – to bring me back to my hotel. I figured Newcastle is not a big city. Dinner was booked for me at chic Café 21 – I would recommend everyone go there for its delectable fare.