Destination: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England!

Wye aye, man! The Toon wasn't ready for me! Newcastle Upon Tyne is a far off place for me, the North East coast of England sounded like a plan. Promise this, I didn't want a typical Geordie Shore experience although I was looking for something extra! Take the time to say your prayers because I'm not apologising for nothing! Oh, hold that coach I'm on my way again Newcastle!

I don't know how you did it to me Newcastle, from the first moment I saw the Tyne Bridge I was captivated! Nothing good comes easy, so the six hour coach journey confirmed that I had made it to the Geordie Shore for all the right reasons! A certain Geordie pop icon was born in this city, can you guess who she is? No fog on the Tyne, it happened to be rather cloudy and cold! I was like hold up, I wasn't impressed by the signage on the bridge but I realised it was all in aid of the Great North Run. I had always had a burning desire to see Newcastle Upon Tyne, she's almost Scottish so the trip took some doing but it was worth it. From those first glances Newcastle presented itself as a former industrial powerhouse like her sisters, Sunderland and Middlesborough. Get into Newcastle! I've been to Sydney, Australia where I saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge but this Geordie prototype was taken to Sydney, Australia! Two bridge sisters! Getting it together, the Tyne Bridge looked mighty fine! Finally, I had made it to the Toon! Aye!

I can always sense when a place has a buzzing atmosphere, from the second I stepped off my Megabus on to North East soil I had a great vibe from the Toon! Life expects us to be strong but Newcastle Upon Tyne is a busy lady! You should be too? I wasn't on any Byker Grove hype, spreading my wings I took some time to embrace the waters of the Quayside because it told me a story about its strength and toil. Industry has been replaced by several alternative points of interest, the miners might have packed up but on the way through Sunderland I noticed some of the foundries had been transformed into museums. Newcastle looked just canny to me, I could mark off another amazing home city visited in England. The night was far off from that point so getting to know the daylight side of the Geordie Shore had to be done before things got crazy! If truth be told I did love eavesdropping on people's conversation as the Geordie talk had me instantly listening. I had just arrived, I didn't want to say 'Auf Wiedersehen, pet' yet! Howay, N! 

Grey's Monument took me to the heart of Newcastle Upon Tyne's city centre, definitely resembling Nelson's Column! Now, a Grade I listed monument, that pillar of strength had been built in 1838 to acclaim the 2nd Earl Grey, Charles. A contrast of a city Newcastle showed itself to be, nevertheless I adored that specific central part of the city centre. The stone buildings stood regal along the road leading to Grey's Monument, Newcastle just keep on serving up canny sights! Quitting was out of the question, my early morning departure seemed like a world away! Nevertheless, I was willing and ready to soldier on. Loving life must be an official Geordie sport? I thought that because the streets surrounding Newcastle's column showcased a maze of shops, restaurants and cafes. I wasn't feeling the 'Material Girl' vibe, I was on a severely tight budget so I saved my paper for the night. I would have a few pennies for my drinks! Fear not, Newcastle is a walk-able city, I never needed to use the Metro! Stress saved, I loved the city of Newcastle! 

I can sometimes adopt a fancy state of mind but I always travel basic, hotels are for haters! I had love for that Newcastle hostel! Newcastle Backpackers told me its winning formula. It was affordable and possessed a central location. Choosing my bed in the bunk, I felt comfortable at Newcastle Backpackers, I even got a cup of tea made for me on arrival! Westgate is the only way to experience Newcastle on a budget, don't judge because like most trips that I take I meet genuine people from the four corners of the world. I'm not saying this to make it sound good I'm just being real, leave your attitude at the door because this backpacking friendly hostel just wants you to enjoy England's North East! Back to the Toon, I must admit that Newcastle has a compact Chinatown that served up a budget meal with a big budget taste. Choose 'The Gate' for pre-drinks or the cinema? I watched the new 'Inbetweeners Movie'. Laying it down  on the line, Newcastle's calm feel during the day told me that people were going about their business fine. 

Get me to Gateshead! Leaving Newcastle's city centre, I took bus 21 from Eldon Square bus station towards the 'Angel of the North'. I had been so pumped to see this glamazon, she's just so statuesque! OK, I must admit that the pop icon in-question was Cheryl 'Fernandez-Versini' Cole. The nation's sweetheart hails from Newcastle Upon Tyne, so I always say that she's the true 'Angel of the North' but like every winner there's always stiff competition. Yes! This cast iron queen didn't have to sing a note because she stood strong, serving and protecting the Newcastle and Gateshead region. I first saw the 'Angel' on MTV's Geordie Shore, not taking the show too seriously I was intrigued by the cast iron queen! I just had to see her for myself. It's no secret that Newcastle has produced some famous faces, making themselves known by their many trades. I'll stay faithful to the true star of Girls Aloud. Cheryl's my true Angel of the North! I was feeling a little hungover but the icy winds in Gateshead helped me a lot, let's not drink again?

I'm a city boy at heart so being back in a bustling centre city filled with some craziness felt good. I was missing my former Birmingham city centre location, life post-university continues to be a challenge. MTV's Geordie Shore had influenced my motive to visit Newcastle, by no means was that my only reason for looking North East. I loved visiting Manchester in January 2014 and Liverpool several times so I have a close connection with the North of England. Things just have a feeling of chill about them, let's be real its difficult to find southerners willing to be helpful with directions or acknowledge when shoulders accidentally collide? I've just made the biggest sweeping generalisation of everyone who lives south of the Midlands but I know its true. The Angel of the North looks fierce but she means well, like her Northern population I understood why an angel was built to promote a feeling of cohesion and to uplift the region. It's no Billy Elliot story the drama of the miners strike shook the region, the Angel of the North does her bit.

Make no bones about this I just wanted a drama free night out, because sometimes those queens can be too much! Eazy Street showed up and saw right through me, I just had to see what was good! Like a rollercoaster I just enjoyed the high's of the night. Beauty Killer was the compare on Thursday night, girl I wanted a selfie with her! I was trying to understand what was going on, I was in Crazy Stupid Love! No, I really wasn't! Trading the predictable haunts like Tiger Tiger or Bijou I loved Eazy Street, it didn't ask questions or judged anyone for that fact! I made a new friend, not a Geordie but he was a gentleman. Friday night turned things up a notch, feisty and ready for the weekend I knew where I was going! I made a detour to Rusty's, let's just say that a fellow doppelganger was plain shady! Telling the DJ to take it high returning to Eazy Street to conclude my final night in Newcastle's Pink Triangle! Yes it had to be Cheryl, I requested 'Promise This!' Getting on with my Thursday night, it had been a long day. Night night, NCL! 

That hangover didn't have to apologise because I loved my nights out in Newcastle's Pink Triangle! Now, it figures why the city has such a chilled vibe during the day, everyone's sleeping soundly! Thank you kindly British rail for being so expensive! I got myself back to Bilston via Birmingham by National Express coach and Midland Metro, I was feeling rough and not up for any calamities! No! Newcastle Upon Tyne showed me North East realness, she didn't hold anything back but she endeavoured to be classy at the same time. Honestly, who really cares whilst we are having a great time? The way my crazy weekend unfolded, I wouldn't have changed one thing! My return journey home got crazy but six hours on a coach isn't good! From the original Tyne Bridge to the centre city of Grey's Monument I made the right decision to visit the Geordie Shore! Gateshead gave me the Angel of the North, keep on serving Geordie realness! Newcastle Upon Tyne, the birthplace of the nation's sweetheart, Cheryl Tweedy! A pure belter! 

Up The Toon!

Joseph Harrison


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