I had an amazing weekend recently. The plan had been to go away but we were unable to book what we wanted. We decided to take that money and spend it in Newcastle for a ‘home holiday’. It’s something my family did a couple of times when I was a child and it was always the best fun. I’ve always felt grateful for our city.
I’ll share for other locals our grown up version of a ‘home holiday’…
We started at the Biscuit factory for a look at purchasable art and breakfast with coffee and fresh orange juice. Over the road is the Holy Biscuit which currently has a Newcastle exhibition. One piece asked visitors to put a different coloured dot on a map to represent different places, for example where you have felt happiest, saddest, inspired etc. I did this with a family member and it was insightful and made us both really think and come together in memories.
We went from there to the Laing gallery and explored older art, and bought gifts from the shop. We walked round the different shops and laughed in changing rooms. A massage in Fenwicks beauty salon followed by afternoon tea in Cafe 21 with cakes and plenty of coffee and gossip. More shops then bumping into old friends I hadn’t seen since school and spending time chatting with wine in the Bacchus. Our evening ended at the Gentleman where the gorgeous Daniel makes the best cocktails in the North East and just for good measure serves amazing food (sweet potato fries people!!).
The next day we wandered along the fabulous quayside market, eating bratwurst sandwiches with mustard and served by lovely people, buying handcarved wooden bowls, chunky necklaces and debating if we can carry plants. A wander over the Millennium bridge and a look around the Baltic before ending our celebrations with Sunday dinner at the Mal Maison which is worth a visit for the starters alone. Amazing food with a view of the quayside and an amazing bunch of eclectic people, we even saw Sophie, hi Sophie!
Monday was a freebie family day with a visit to Newburn park, flying down slides and enjoying coffee in the cafe.
You can walk down a street or through a city and see it in very different ways.
Newcastle can seem full of chavs and geordie shore types. You can pass stale smelling bars, a homeless man, be jostled by football hooligans and stand in dog muck. This may be how you remember your visit, how you remember your day and go home feeling depressed by your surroundings, taking the gloom in your front door.
Or you can walk down the same street, through the same city, laugh with young people having fun, stop and smell the coffee in the artisan cafe, high five a football fan and watch as someone shares a chat with a homeless man. You go home cheered by the generosity and friendliness of the people around you.
My weekend enjoying this city reminded me that sometimes we should try to be a tourist in our own life because a change in perspective can change everything!
Love where you live.