Newcastle… was an actual city.

 I really hadn’t done any research into my ferry’s destination, thinking of it as little more than my entry point to the UK. I’d pictured it as some small port city, with maybe a few historic sites in its center. Given that I had never heard of the place before, I think this was justified.

As it turns out, Newcastle is a proper city with a population over 800 thousand people and a very modern town center. The hostel I stayed in was squeezed between alternating 21st and 18th century buildings, looking out on a beautiful church that sits in the center of downtown. In this way Newcastle, and the rest of the UK, reminded me of the US—where modern development dominates, if not eliminates, anything historic.

The 22-23 winter seemed its coldest in the streets of Newcastle, not helped by the wind that never seemed to stop blowing. In an effort to escape, I spent my two free days largely indoors. The first at the Newcastle Discovery Museum which was dedicated to local history and particularly the history of engineering and shipbuilding for which the area is known.

The second day, I did explore the town a bit more, taking a walk in the morning for as long as I could stand the cold. I stumbled across this fascinating local covered market. It featured essentially every sort of stall imaginable. Vendors sold purses, repaired phone screens, peddled fresh bread and cuts of meat, and unfolded tables full of fresh produce. Mostly, however, the actions seemed focused on the street food. There were far too many to list, but I ended up going with Korean BBQ. It smelled tremendous and was one of the few stalls without a crazy long line. (The photos below were taken hastily and on my poor quality phone camera.)

Newcastle surprised me with how large of a city it is, and that sort of city-based whiplash would come to define the next couple weeks of my time in the UK, headed as I was to the comparatively little provincial capital of York, then to the mega-city that is Birmingham.



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