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Memories of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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Wherever we travel, places always etch themselves on our hearts, whether for good or bad. We take these little experiences with us forever. However, these places don’t have to be far from home. Often, the ones with the biggest impact are the ones closest to home.

I’d spent the best part of my life so far in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

I spent 4 years living, studying and working in my university city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 2007 to the summer of 2011. When I left, my heart was breaking as the train pulled out of the station. I knew I would be setting out on a fantastic adventure heading out to China to teach, but I’d spent the best part of my life so far in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and being unsure as to when I would return to my spiritual home made me feel more than a little downhearted.

Step in July 2012 when I find the time off work in China to return home, to visit family and friends and of course, reacquaint myself with Newcastle.

I remember the exact day vividly. I had strolled down to the Quayside area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which runs alongside the banks of the River Tyne, dotted with food outlets and bars and people enjoying themselves: the stunning Tyne Bridge a perfect backdrop.

It was 27th July 2012, almost a year to the day I left Newcastle-upon-Tyne and also the day of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony.

There was someone standing on the Quayside with an Olympic torch. One of the many that had done the long relay race around the UK in the run up to the Olympics; one that I had watched from thousands of miles away on poor Chinese internet. “Donate and have your picture taken!” The Geordie* tones came out of the friendly woman. How could I not, I thought.

Photo top of Bennett proudly holding an Olympic torch on Newcastle-upon-Tyne Quayside with the Tyne Bridge in the background

After my photo shoot, I headed over to the Gateshead side of the river. The cities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead are separated by the River Tyne and both have well maintained quaysides to stroll along. The Millennium Bridge is the newest bridge to cross the Tyne for cyclists and pedestrians. It’s a unique design, often called the “blinking eye” bridge because when it tilts to let ships pass, it looks like an eye.

By this time, the sun had come out. I was truly being spoilt; sun, in the north-east of England, in the summer?!

I sat on some steps to hear a beeping noise. I knew what would happen next; the Millennium Bridge was about to tilt.

The Millennium Bridge at full tilt in the glorious summer sun

The weather was perfect; my day was perfect. I’m not ashamed to say that seeing the bridge tilt in the gorgeous sunshine made my heart and my eyes overflow a little with the delight of being back in my favourite city. These pictures still bring back every awesome memory I’ve ever had in that city.

Have you ever felt overjoyed at being somewhere that you shed a little tear?

*Geordie is the accent and dialect of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area of the UK

Guest author, Bennett has spent over 21 months living and teaching in China and is ready for her next leap into the unknown in New Zealand. You can follow her at her blog: http://thefurtheradventuresofbennett.com

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Bennett - The Further Adventures of Bennett June 25, 2013 - 10:57 pm

Thanks for letting me write my love letter to Newcastle, Mary. Indeed, it was awesome to hold the torch!
Heather, the North East *is* such a special place. I’ll be headed there first as soon as I get back to the UK 🙂

Mary Chong June 26, 2013 - 9:23 am

My pleasure Bennett! Hope you write another article soon!

Heather Hepplewhite June 25, 2013 - 5:58 pm

Crazy! That’s where my family is from! How fitting, given our wedding on Sunday (see Mary’s comment). There is something special about coming back to a place that has some sort of ties to “home.” I always feel at home when I go and visit, and there truly is something special about the northeast of England. Thanks for sharing!

Mary Chong June 24, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Love that you got to hold the Olympic Torch. Totally Cool!

Also, I’ve never been to the UK and this is the first time I had heard about Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then this past weekend I was at a wedding and they sang the song “Waters of Tyne” (with an additional verse at the end).


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