(Days 2, 3, 4)
It’s reunion time! Or, reunitation time, as I like to call it. This is the true reason that brought us to this trip—Anita studying Medicine in Newcastle Upon-Tyne. Today is the day that we took the train to finally meet up with her in her “hometown” where she’s lived the past year. Nik, Lin, and I, met her at the train station, and, after we got settled in, Anita took us for a walk to the Quay Side where we saw the bridge “tilt” and the famous New Castle building. I actually have no idea what the building is, but a local did laugh at me for asking if she could “take a photo of us in front of the Peanut”.
Later that evening, we went to “The Botanist” for cocktails. It was gorgeous; a tree with Mason Jar lanterns right in the middle of the bar, and a beautiful domed window ceiling lined with tiny white lights.
The next day, our first full day in NC, we went to Tynnemouth to see a castle and go to the beach. The castle was right on the cost of the North Sea, on a cliff. We all took a few minutes to sit and just drink in the sea air and beauty. You just can’t put words to the sea.
You also can’t put words to ice cream, especially when it’s farm-fresh, which we ate at the castle before embarking on our long trek down the coast for some of the worlds best fish ‘n chips. The walk was absolutely worth every step, right along the sea. And if the view wasn’t already enough, those fish ‘n chips made two hours of walking so quickly forgotten. It really was better than anything I could have imagined for fish ‘n chips, and we ate it as a seaside picnic, while contemplating how the fish we were devouring were swimming around those waters just that morning (that part was a little bit strange).
On our second, and final, full day in NC, I woke the girls up by stretching and exclaiming “Spreeeeeeeeeee”, because we were heading to the store Primark to shop. It didn’t end up being a huge spree, but I did get a nice dress, and a couple goodies for some special people back home (shout-out to Mom, Dad, Nix and Ryan!). We shopped a little while, met up with Anita after her morning class, and headed to the storybook town of Durham. I would describe Durham as a cross between Quebec City, and an old, authentic version of Mt. Tremblant; lots of winding, “hilly”, cobble-stone roads, line with beautiful architecture and cute little shops. We went into “Whittard’s”, the English tea shop, and a nice man with a great accent helped me select some tea to bring home to my parents, whom I described as “kind of boring” (Sorry, Mom and Dad;).
At the top of our winding road, storybook adventure, we came to beautiful Durham Cathedral. We couldn’t take photos inside the cathedral, but the grand architecture was stunning.
After our day in Durham, we took the train back to NC, where we prepared a surprise belated birthday dinner for Anita, since we were finally all together to celebrate! Lin did a next-level job of stalling Anita in her room while Nik and I James-Bond-style snuck into her apartment and used the kitchen on her floor to cook up gnocchi with spinach and mushroom in a rose sauce, and garlic bread. Sidenote, Neets, now that we’re out of the city, it’s probably a good time to mention that, not only did we steal a spoonful of your peanut butter to snack on while cooking, but I also got some peanut butter contaminate in your Nutella, cause, ya know, you can’t have one without the other. I noticed there was already some PB in the Nutella though, so I know you do it too. 😉 I digress. We had a delicious dinner and then had Tiramisu for dessert. It was a great way to spend our last evening all together as four, before the three of us move on to Liverpool tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Anita! We are so blessed to have been able to celebrate over ten years of birthdays with you. Thank you for hosting us!
On to the next leg of our journey…