Today I headed over to Newcastle near the Eastern coast of the United Kingdom.
I didn’t really know anything about Newcastle other than their football club and their beer.
Other than that I had no idea what to do in the city.
It is, however, close to the Northumberland coast where you can find a handful of castles.
So, that was the plan.
Get to Newcastle and explore castles out of the city.
I changed my train time from 8am to 9:30 because, well, I wanted to sleep in.
Newcastle is less than two hours away so I was checking into my new hostel by noon.
Thankfully this hostel doesn’t make you wait until 2 or 3 to actually checkin and go to your room so I was able to drop my bag off and get settled in.
A girl, Rose, from Sicily had also just arrived and it was just the two of us in the room.
As soon as I arrived I was just as quickly off to catch a bus up to Northumberland.
The bus I wanted only ran every hour and I wanted to visit two castles today so I had the timing all planned out.
After an hour on a very bumpy ride I got off in Warkworth to see the Warkworth castle.
The bus stop is just down the hill from the castle but when I got off the streets were deserted.
Sweet, no tourists to get in my way.
After a 5 minute walk I was at the castle and I quickly found out why there were no people around.
The castle is closed in the winter and wasn’t reopening until March 25.
I was two weeks too early.
Actually, if I had to replan this trip I would have delayed coming to the UK by a good two weeks as I’ve found alot of tours and things aren’t fully active until the end of March.
But, hindsight is 20/20 and I’m here now so I just gotta go with it.
I couldn’t get in the castle gates but at least I could view it from the outside…
I had plenty of time to kill til the next bus would come so I decided to walk around a bit.
I came upon a pathway along a lake near the castle and thought I’d go for a nice little stroll.
There was an entrance to the pathway further down near the entrance to the castle but I decided to just go down to it through a patch of trees.
The ground wasn’t solid and I was soon slipping in the mud. As I grabbed branch after branch going down on my incline I finally found a branch that snapped and I was soon flat on my ass.
Pants full of mud. Jacket full of mud. Backpack full of mud.
I just kinda laughed it off cause what the hell else are you gonna do?
After a little walk I was back at the bus stop ready to board the bus on to the next castle – Alnwick castle.
This castle was only a half hour away so the bus ride was much better.
The town of Alnwick is bigger and as I walked up to the castle entrance I saw a bunch of cars in the car park outside the walls.
Turned the corner…
The only reason I came to Newcastle was to see the nearby castles and they were closed.
I have two more days in the city and I literally have no idea what I’m gonna do.
Well, that day was a bust.
I took the bus back into the city and I was back at the hostel by 7pm.
Rose had also returned from her day out and we started chatting.
Turns out she was in the same hostel as me in York at the same time but we never saw each other.
She also took the same walking tour in York as I did but did the early one when I decided to sleep in.
And she was going to go on the same train as me from York but took an earlier one because the one I was on was sold out.
So many missed connections! Crazy!
Anyway, we headed out for dinner together.
It was actually nice to sit down with someone for dinner as it’s been a few weeks since that’s happened.
I will say that both here in the UK and in Paris that I haven’t come across alot of fellow travelers.
In fact, here in the UK, I’ve come across alot of locals who are either visiting the city for a couple of days or actually live in the hostel.
Even rose was only up here for a week before she heads back home to Italy.
In past trips I had met so many fellow long term travelers but I guess it’s just a matter of where you’re travelling.
Anyway, I’ve gotten used to being on my own but it was nice to hang out with Rose for the night.
So, the day wasn’t a complete bust.
I’ve always said that the bad things that happen to you on a trip make for the best stories and having the castles be closed definitely makes for a better story.
As for the next two days here in Newcastle, I don’t know.
The city really isn’t a tourist city. There’s really nothing to do here and it’s just a big city.
I may just take the next couple of days to plan out and book things for the next couple of weeks in both Ireland and Scotland.
Anyway, day 42 is in the books… only 100 more or so to go…