After this busy term, I was definitely ready for a vacation. I do have homework to work on over the break, but I let myself take it a little easier for the first week to give my brain a bit of a recharge before I get back to work. As luck would have it, I was able to fit in a little mini adventure almost every day. All were local, and my flatmate Mo, who accompanied me on some of these adventures, kept saying, “We are such tourists!” Haha!
It was definitely true, and I really enjoyed being a local tourist. I got to visit a museum I’ve had on my list since day one, explored the most beautiful park I have EVER seen, revisited one of my favorite discoveries from last term (Roker Pier), and let some YSA friends take me on a tour of one of their favorite local historical sites. It was all great fun! I’ve always enjoyed the idea of the staycation (even if I find the term itself rather obnoxious), and Newcastle is a great city to put the concept into practice. There is certainly no shortage of things to explore, and with the weather warming up quite nicely, you can bet your boots I’ll be playing tourist a lot more often.
Jesmond Dene is an enormous park in the suburbs of Newcastle that I have been dying to see since I moved here. The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, so after church, a group of us got together to go for a walk. There is a river with multiple waterfalls, a petting zoo (which we didn’t visit because it was Sunday, but we could see some of the critters through the fence), the ruins of abandoned buildings, a picnic field, and miles upon miles of trails through the woods. I fell head over heels in love. I WILL go back and I WILL post a gazillion pictures and I WILL not be sorry about it. 😉
New Rugosa Rose buds are starting to show between last year’s dried hips on the bushes near my flat.
The YSA activity on Tuesday was a game called “Would I Lie To You?” (It’s based on this hilarious British comedy show.) This is Beth practicing her “I’m definitely telling the truth” face.
“Don’t look directly at the eclipse,” they said. “You’ll burn your retinas,” they said. Well, I sure showed them–the clouds that threatened to obscure Friday’s eclipse actually diffused the light and made it safe look at. In other news, I got six at the sun stare.
I feel like I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut with my daily commute lately, so I’m trying to branch out a little more and explore parts of the city I’ve never seen before. This week, I made it over to see Exhibition Park, a HUGE open space on the east side of the city. It was really peaceful despite the massive number of people out running, cycling, walking dogs, playing on playgrounds, and using the fitness trail. I’ll definitely be back to visit again.
I’ve never been a terribly huge fan of sheep. With the exception of Austen, the orphaned lamb I raised at Philmont, all the other sheep I’ve worked with have been… stupid. I mean, I know they’re not really stupid–sheep are actually supposedly really intelligent. They just do stupid things, like acting like the world is going to explode every time you look at them. But I’ll admit that the sight of these wooly goofs galloping over to the fence for food and petting filled my heart with joy, and made me feel a greater appreciation for their species as a whole. This was at Bede’s World, a museum about the Venerable Bede, his Benedictine Monk buddies, and their sheep.
I finally made it over to the Hancock Museum with Mo this week. One of the things I love most about Newcastle is the number of free museums the city has. The Hancock is a natural history museum, so there were exhibits about critters, dinos, and ancient and local history. It was a fun and educational afternoon.