Fahrt nach Newcastle
Day 1 – Arrival
The first day of our trip started in the Netherlands, when we left the coach and saw the huge ferry we were going to board to get to England. We had to wait half an hour before the check-in started. Meanwhile, we took a lot of pictures, including a photo of the whole group, all wearing the hoodie we had designed ourselves before.
After boarding we all had to find our cabins. There was little space inside the cabins, but it was fine to sleep in there. Next we began to discover the options for entertainment on the ferry. There were a casino, a pub, a cinema, some very expensive restaurants and a shop onboard. On the top deck there was the “Mermaid Bar” - you had a fantastic view of the sunset from up there. There we also met our teachers and we drank some “apple-juice” with them. Lots of fun!
We finally arrived in Newcastle next morning. One student had some trouble with her passport, but fortunately things could be sorted out. After that we had to catch a double-decker bus to the railway station in Newcastle. From there we walked the long but beautiful way to our hostel.
Day 2 – Newcastle City Rallye
After leaving our suitcases in the hostel, we had lunch at a very special Chinese restaurant. Every table had a hot pot, full of boiling water and added flavours. We were able to choose the food to be put into the pan from an open fridge. We didn't really know what we were eating – let’s call it "an experience" ;-) !
After that we went to our daily meeting point, Grey's monument, in the city centre. We formed groups of four, got our questionnaires for the city rallye and started exploring it. We had six hours’ time, so we had also plenty of free time, which we could use for shopping or drinking a cup of coffee.
We met all sorts of different people on our way. Sometimes we had to ask people in the street to get the right answers, but it wasn't easy to understand them because of their dialect.
When we got back to the hostel, we had some time off and met in the backyard of the hostel to enjoy the evening...
Day 3 - National Glass Centre/Sunderland & coastal walk to South Shields
Our trip to Sunderland and the National Glass Centre started at 9 am at Monument metro station. We took the train to Sunderland – without realizing that we were still wearing our “Newcastle” sweaters… that’s almost like going to Cologne with a Fortuna jersey! Anyways, we survived, and after a fifteen minute walk along the River Wear, we arrived at the National Glass Centre. First we were split into two groups with one guide for each of them. The staff introduced us to the history of glass and various works of art made of glass. After that we walked up to the roof of the National Glass Centre, where everybody was very excited about the height of the glass roof and the view. Afterwards we visited a live show where we could watch the procedure of glass blowing, which was very impressive. To finish off our visit in the Centre, we experienced something very British: tea time – with delicious scones, jam and coffee or tea.
Without knowing what to expect, we started off to the “Grotto”, located at Marsden Rock. At first we enjoyed the beautiful view of the harbour in Sunderland. We walked and walked and walked… until we had the chance to have a break at a supermarket. Mr Hanigk had promised a 2-hour walk that would lead us to an extraordinary place. At the end, those two hours turned out to be four… but it wasn’t over still. We had a short break at Marsden Rock, but only to get ready for the last part of the tour: The walk to the next Metro station. Many signs kept indicating that the station was not too far away, but reaching it seemed impossible. One and a half hours later we were on our way back to Newcastle - everyone was tired and hungry, and the Indian restaurant that had been booked for dinner was beyond imagination – it was a buffet style restaurant with an incredible choice of Indian food: starters, main courses and desserts. It was delicious and much of it was spicy or hot! We enjoyed our meals very much and then went back to the hostel, still tired and done but at least not hungry anymore.
Day 4 - Durham
On the fourth day of our class trip, we were supposed to meet at 10 o'clock at Grey's Monument as usual. Unfortunately, some of us didn’t manage to get there in time, and our train to Durham was leaving at 10:23, seats reserved... Eventually, the rest of the party made it to the station as well.
After a 10-minute ride on the train, we arrived in Durham and went to the Cathedral straight away. There an old man was waiting for us to give us a guided tour of the Cathedral. After that, we had time off and most of us spent it shopping and eating. At four o'clock we took the train back to Newcastle.
We had the choice of either going back to the hostel or spending some time in the city centre. We had planned to go to the cinema in the evening - one group for the movie 'The Visit', the other one for 'Solace'. Most of us wanted to watch 'The Visit', so we met at 7:30pm in front of the Empire Cinema. If you have not seen 'Solace' yet, go and see it – highly recommended!
Day 5 - Edinburgh
We met at the railway station in Newcastle early in the morning. The train ride took one and half hours this time, but it didn't seem that long because most of us were so tired that we fell asleep.
Right after our arrival, we first went up to Calton Hill, to get a first impression of Edinburgh. We took some pictures and after that we walked to Edinburgh Castle together. Mr Hanigk gave us our tickets and the vouchers for the audio guides. We explored the Castle on our own and got all the important information from the audio guide. After that we had about 4 hours of free time to explore the city, get something to eat or spend the rest of our money at the shops on Princes Street.
On the way back, the train stopped in the middle of nowhere for about an hour because of signal problems. We managed to get back to Newcastle somehow and some of us went to a pub with Ms Kerkhoff and Mr Hanigk and the other students enjoyed the last day elsewhere in the city centre of Newcastle.
Day 6 - Farewell!
We spent our last day in the city centre. We went shopping for the last time and bought a lot of food to survive the long journey back home. After that we enjoyed the nice weather in front of Grey Monument and listened to an Irish street musician, who was playing the guitar.
In the afternoon the whole group met at the hostel to get ready for departure. Time to say goodbye! When on the ferry, we played hide & seek with the others. We spent the whole evening outside - listening to music, dancing and singing. As the moon was shining very brightly that night, we took lots of photos.
On the coach back home, things were very quiet indeed - everyone was tired...
Looking back, it was a great trip (although our feet are still hurting from the 16 mile walk along the coast...) and it will stay in our memories for a long time – the sights we saw, the people we met and the experiences we had.