Castle Keep & the Coast

Ah… Another week passed by and I realized I was settling back to a routine, which meant a loss of interests to roam around when I get some free time at my hands (not that I perceive much of it). What can I say? It’s been a fast week, and I’d been fairly productive compared to the past few months… To say the least, I’ve finally turned one of my nutter episodes into a short story that no one gets, and I’ve more or less finished my mid-semester assignment for my linguistics class. Both were lots of fun to work with, once I got into them, but let’s not say they turned out all right just yet…

So I did my assignment on Friday and felt so proud at myself, like “hey, look at me, I finally did my homework once!” = = for the little kids out there, don’t listen to me. I can be a bad influence a lot = =

So, Saturday… I’d planned to go to the Keep and then to climbing. You know, re-vitalize my life style and all that. But it was so darn hard to get out of the bed?! I eventually managed to get out after lunch, and was rewarded for my “sacrifice”:

A note on those stairs: there are more than 99 in total. I think it’s 112 or 113. Counted it myself!

Oh lord, for love’s sake, this medieval graffiti was a craic! Also comforting to know that we aren’t the people who invented the whole “leaving your mark on your conquered land” thing. Also, “Cuthbert” reminded me of Time Flies By… I swear I need to watch Trumpton sometime!

The stairs weren’t particularly friendly, but they weren’t too bad either. For the most part I was just a bit afraid of mis-stepping – typical me. I discussed this with North (yup my favourite author, and even though I should now, I won’t call him by his name) and he said he’s okay with descents in the wilderness, but not tall buildings. Interesting… I suppose childhood experiences do play a part in what one’s comfortable with… I bet five galleons that North didn’t grow up in a 12-storey appartment building!

The view at the top is always the best, or so they say. For some reason I struggle to get a good picture of the River Tyne, but I’ll keep trying… And since the Keep is so close to the bank, the view is not exactly “the” best. I’ll see if I can go to a pub in the city centre one day and get a better view from the upstairs…

Looking down and across at the Great Hall… To be honest, after reading and watching HP, this is a bit disappointing. But hey, it’s not exactly a big castle, is it?

Now that’s get some feels… Proper castle feels, maybe? It’s just a sense of “there’s an important, enclosed space in there” and the sacredness of going in there would be a very special feat, I suppose. I’m not sure how to exactly articulate this, and the camera didn’t give me what I wanted either… Maybe some other day?

So by then it was closer to 4pm I think. It was too late to go climbing as I also wanted to try out a Korean restaurant (see what I did there? Absolutely excusing myself by explaining things away!), so I waited at Blakes. I wrote my nutter story there, and by the time I finished, it was time for dinner.

That Korean restaurant wasn’t any good though, so I’m not going to mention it. Just know that it’s a bit overpriced… The Indian I got today was much better for the money!

Sunday found myself repeating the same routine. I’d originally wanted to go for a walk in Tynemouth, and then climbing, and then grocery shopping. But by the time I finally got out of bed, it was almost noon and I was thinking about just going climbing and doing grocery. Then I pulled open my blinds (or I guess the curtains…? They’re cloth and they go vertically, so I’m not exactly sure what to call them anymore) and there it was, gorgeous, glorious, bright sunlight. Eff yeah, I’d better go for that walk!

It took an hour of bussing for me to get to Tynemouth, purely for economical purposes. Then I went for some fish & chips for my first meal, at a tiny little takeaway place near the beach. The fish wasn’t as good as I got in Cornwall (maybe it was the different kinds of fish), but the chips were good, and they gave me so much food that I only finished half of my chips! It was a hassle to find a recycle bin but eventually I was able to clean after myself properly and pack the leftover chips for a snack later.

I was quite chirpy and bouncing at the beginning of the walk, constantly switching between walking on the beach and walking on the road above it. But a few kilometres in, I realized that there was no “Coastal Trail”, and gave up looking for it. I stayed up on the road for speed and convenience, but in the meantime getting annoyed by all the cars and noise and exhaust gas. It wasn’t until I was approaching Whitley Bay did things get better, and I was that excited mad girl who’d rather walk in mud than following the actual path. It was full of fun, and much less people, so of course I sang. I learned many words of National Shite Day and Took Problem Chimp during my journey, and found myself surprisingly familiar with L’enfer c’est les autres!

When I saw this playground, I went “cool” just like what they’d do in an 80’s show. Those kids… They’re so energetic, courageous and awesome! Even briefly watching them show off their skills made me feel jealous…

Crossing the “river”, there was a village-like cluster of things, as if the city council tried to recreate a small-scale model of the English countryside right on the beach. It’s such a magical scenery. Simple, but magical.

As I was approaching St Mary’s Island, I joined the path that’s right on the edge of the beach, and looked back… To be honest I don’t even know where Tynemouth is lol

And now that’s St Mary’s Island – the lighthouse and all that. I’d reached my goal, and the walk proved to be a bit less than 2.5 hours – 9.5k up to this point. I was to figure out my way back to Whitley Bay, and hop on a Metro that would get me home…

It turned out it was another 3k from the Island to the metro station. Normally it would be all right, but it was twice as I expected, and my feet were hurting so I was also worried about blisters… The last 3k weren’t as pleasant as my way out, but with music, it turned out all right. The transportation back was a bit more complicated than I thought, but eventually I got home, and did not hesitate to collapse into my bed – my previous commitment on climbing forgotten 😉

That’s the weekend’s little excursions. The real prep walk is next week, and I look forward to finally seeing the Hadrian’s Wall!

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