Lots of bridges, Durham, Newcastle and a sport called FootGolf

It was time to leave Germany, my flight was later in the afternoon and I also found a picture of our previous Prime Minister upsidedown just as I was leaving the hostel.

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And as I was waiting for the train to the airport with a snack that I mistakenly thought was some kind of hot dog, I was excited to be back home again with a cup of tea and some more family time.

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I chilled in this little area of the airport, and got the second and last currywurst of the trip. I ended up talking to a lovely scottish couple from Edinburgh, they even offered me a pint as they went to the bar which was lovely. I politely declined but remained chatting to them until the flight.

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The flight was delayed, the captain however was apologetic and honest about the delay. I cannot remember exactly what it was but it was human error and some break up of communication that caused it. But we took off and in no time back in a cloudy Edinburgh.

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I love the bridges you can see from my window as we were approaching, three can be seen over the Firth of Fourth. The Fourth Bridge, Fourth Road Bridge and newly built Queensferry Crossing (furthest away in the shot below) can be seen in my shot. The one underneath is by a photographer I have linked at the bottom of the post. I have mentioned these bridges a couple of times in my blog as they were used in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. One of Rockstars HQ’s is in Edinburgh. More info on these impressive structures can be read here.

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And to a bridge a little closer to home. Newcastle has seven bridges over the River Tyne, linking Newcastle (left in shot below) to Gateshead (right). They have a great history of their own, the main bridge below- the Tyne Bridge- built by a local company that went on to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Interestingly I have just learned that the bridge was desinged by the same company as the Fourth Road Bridge. The white one behind it is the Gateshead Millenium Bridge, it tilts to let boats through. The Swing Bridge in front of the Tyne Bridge, you guessed it, swings 90 degrees to allow boats to pass. The bridge I was on is the High Level Bridge, a Grade I listed structure. I was on a train at the very top, below it is a road. The dual purpose bridge is an impressive size and length, opened in 1849.

This site linked here gives an insight to each and a ranking, in their opinion, of the best to worst. It would be great to know what your favourite is!

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The weekend after my trip was a great one spent at home with my mum. I also met with friends to play a game I have never played before.

Footgolf.

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Mixing football (soccer) and golf, it was pretty fun despite being a little windy. I haven’t played football in at least two years, and it was obvious.

I wasn’t the one to put the ball in the water however. Not in this shot at least.

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Using the lifebelt wasn’t a wise decision but it was a logical one. We kept hold of it and even if the rope cut, one of us would have taken one for the team.

It didn’t work, we put the lifebelt back and got another ball.

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Despite being fun and something different, I couldn’t help to notice the holes were very similar, apart from maybe a couple. I think incorporating a more mini-golf style would have added more fun to it and kept it from seeming a little repetitive.

Anyways I got back home, very briefly, and got some energy back by getting my mum to open the chocolates I bought for her in Berlin. They were good.

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And one thing I love about being home is the scenery around us. All rural and with the odd hot air-balloon over head. By cropping the house and lines out of the shot it reminded me just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.

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I could never do a balloon ride, as amazing as it must be. The thought of being so high up in nothing but a basket terrifies me.

And not long after this me and the lads went for a couple of drinks in Durham. We went into a pub with a ‘no phones and laptops zone’ which I guess was refreshing so no shots form there. And sadly I couldn’t stay too long as I agreed to meet some friends back in Newcastle that evening. But as it is only a ten minute train ride between the two cities I left the pub, took a quick drunken selfie underneath Durham Castle and Cathedral and boarded the train.

 

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Hogwarts scenes were filmed above me! Also a good distraction from my grey hairs coming through…

I arrived in Newcastle, and had to take the shot below for a friend in Melbourne. Tup Tup (a nightclub in the city’s Diamond Strip) was well known in Australia because of the show Geordie Shore. I’ll be honest I have had a couple of fun night’s in there, and used to check in one of the cast regularly as I worked in a hotel nearby.

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It is also right next to Newcastle Castle.

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We headed to a bar underneath the Tyne Bridge that wasn’t open when I left for Sydney back in 2017. By The River Brew Co. reminded me of Eat Street in Brisbane. Eat Street was a street-food festival using shipping containers as a venue. By The River Brew Co. does the same thing, with a micro brewery and a street food market next to it. We watched the sun set and I had a taste of what was on offer.

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I just love the Quayside. This section however was all empty before hand, a ship used to be docked here called the Tuxedo Princess, used as a nightclub with a revolving floor. It was nothing but weeds last time I walked by and now, a great venue.

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I would recommend it if in Newcastle, and I will visit again on another trip to the city.

But it was time for me to get the train to London, I don’t know if I have told you this, but I had a Skype interview for a hotel in Central London whilst I was in Melbourne, and as soon as I landed in London I was offered the job. I said my goodbyes and prepared for the three hour journey to the capital.

It wasn’t as emotional as it was moving to Sydney, as I am only three hours south. Trains can be expensive (as is London!) but I hope to make regular journeys back up north.

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‘Mind’. This segue’s into my next shot from Durham, as I was walking up the steps to Durham Station I noticed these were placed on the railings.

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It is a sad reminder that many lives are lost on railways, often suicide. Traumatic for those that witness it but even more tragic for those that feel they need to end their lives. Similar to cards placed on bridges, I feel these messages are important not just for those considering doing this, but for the rest of us that need reminding that it is a real issue that we need to address.

I waited for my train, I made the journey from Bishop Auckland to Darlington, Darlington to Kings Cross.

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My next post will be from London. And I already have lots of shots to share with you and so many places to see. I have a few ideas as to how I want to involve you in my travels and I am excited for this chapter.

Thank you for reading, I will see you soon from London!

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Firth of Fourth Bridge Photo by Zhanhui Li on Unsplash


 

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Hometowns

This is my current home. I have been fortunate to call four different places my home, I say fortunate because they were my personal choices to broaden my horizons. Some people have to move out of necessity, which isn’t as enjoyable but I am sure helps with personal development in different ways. I was reading this blog post by Alexandra Kirsch as was typing these words on the theme of ‘home’. Home means something else to everyone.

 

Some people hate the idea of making that move and changing postcode. For me, I need to. I need to have that ever changing perspective and complete change in daily habits. It isn’t easy, however neither is working out. If it was easy everyone would do it and make such an experience less unique. What helped with my motivation to travel was my birthplace, my parents moved to a very small village at the top of a hill just before I was born to be closer to my mothers parents. They lived about 40 minutes away from this house, moving down from Edinburgh for work. The village we moved to was a very close knit community, one of those villages where families have resided for generations. Almost all of my friends growing up had family there and had done for some time. I guess everywhere is like this to an extent, however when I ventured a little further out of the village walls and met people from the same village, they would always ask my family name. I told them it is a family that has only lived there since 1989. It was certainly a conversation killer, I wouldn’t register on the map they tried to find me on via a surname.

I feel this factor was one that didn’t keep me in that village. I never felt like I was settled there and did not find it that difficult to go on travels. My parents and sister felt the same. Although it was home it didn’t feel like home. That said some of my friends still live there and would be surprised if they left. To them it is home.

I have found much, much more opportunity leaving that hometown than I did living there. I got homesick on my first adventure, leaving family and friends was more of an ordeal than leaving the village. But like the struggle of pushups at 6am, benefits are seen as a result. I’ve met people that I wouldn’t have had I stayed. Tried foods I have never heard of and befriended motivational people that have helped me see my own potential.

This is my fourth hometown in three continents, one that I am really enjoying so far.

Remembering home

Your next destination has a reason to thank the place you currently call home and I love that. As contradictory as it probably seems, one of my biggest delights whilst travelling is to see something that reminds me of home. For me, it is new found pride. It is realising the world shrinks the further we travel and how often I am reminded of the place I was raised.

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No matter where you are, there will be some kind of influence from back home. In food, in entertainment, in sports or in language, I love knowing that when I start to get sick of the same four walls and travel somewhere new, I will regain pride in the place that I left. I do this all the time and have felt this everywhere I have been.

Some people feel that leaving a hometown is to lose love for that place. This could well be the reason, it may not. I have always wanted to leave my hometown and if anything, it makes going back so much more special. I look forward to driving by that welcome sign, probably more than the current residents that drive by this sign each day. Surely there is beauty in leaving a hometown behind if it helps to build new appreciation.

My family have always been this way. Whenever I tell people where I am from, the usual response is ‘Oh really? Whats your last name?’. Our identity is strongly associated by the last name in my hometown, boringly I have to tell people that my parents moved there months before I was born and that my family doesn’t date back generations in this one place. A conversation killer but again, a great excitement arises when I travel to visit my family far and wide.

Some aspects remind me why I left, for this travel has done me good. If we stick to one community, how open minded can we be? You could argue that the internet has helps us escape this from our living rooms, we can now grow up in one place with all the associated cultures and beliefs and read about a thousand others, speak to anyone anywhere and make new decisions. I very much doubt this will make anyone lose the desire to travel and neither should it. If anything it is a great advertisement to the complete shifts in opinion and understanding that can come from popping the bubble and stepping outside.