Welcome to the third part of my UK trip series! This time, we’re moving to the north, starting from Newcastle! This leg of the trip was more geared towards relaxing and meeting new friends since we’ve been travelling and sightseeing at a very quick pace for weeks!
As always, you can skip to specific parts of the post using these links:
Day 14: Arriving in Newcastle, meeting Pauline
Going up north wasn’t part of the plan. But Tita (Aunt) Gagah, my mom’s friend, insisted that we had to go visit her, so why not? She and my mom haven’t seen each other in over 30 years, and this was the perfect time for them to catch up! I also took this opportunity to meet up with Pauline!
We took a bus from London Victoria station the night before and arrived in Newcastle at around 5 AM, and were welcomed by Tita Gagah and her son Karl. The first thing I noticed about Newcastle was that it was F R E E Z I N G. I’ve been told so many times that the north is so much colder than the south, but still, I don’t think I wore enough layers for our arrival!
It was so nice seeing my mom and her friend catch up after so many years. They were chatting all the way from the bus station to the house, and they were so full of energy! #friendshipgoals Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sleep very well in the bus so I napped for a few hours before getting ready to meet Pauline for lunch.
I initially planned on vlogging or taking photos of the whole meetup moment, only to completely freak out at the sight of Pauline! The moment we see each other, we immediately hugged and were just screaming – it felt like we’ve known each other in real life for YEARS! Oh and she brought Matt along too, who turned out to be such a sweetheart!
Pauline and I talked about sooo many things during lunch – it was amazing how we felt so comfortable with each other, and I also loved how the whole thing felt more like a catch-up than an actual getting-to-know-you-IRL meeting. I’m proud to say that Pauline is as positive and fun offline as she is online!
We were supposed to go our separate ways after lunch since my mom had plans with her friend as well. Tita Gagah said I would be okay since she thought that Pauline and Matt lived in Newcastle too, but when I told her that it’s also their first time in the city, she offered to let us tag along with them so we could see the city’s best views! *cries* Tita thank you for being so nice T_T
Okay, so Newcastle is situated near River Tyne along with its neighboring city of Gateshead. The presence of a river = presence of bridges… and Newcastle has several lovely bridges that form the characteristic tour of the city. We all went on a little walking tour around the river to see the bridges from different perspectives.
We’ve had to go up a few flights of stairs to reach the last viewing point. It was quite tiring so we rested for a bit… and FINALLY vlogged! I’ve been telling Pauline about my insecurities on video, and she assured me that vlogging really helps to overcome that. She also told me to surround myself with supportive people who don’t mind me vlogging and recording life as it happens… LIKE HER. LOL. So finally, I started my first “speaking” vlog with her, and I made her speak Tagalog because I told her that I was tired of speaking English XD
As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and before I knew it Pauline and Matt had to leave. I felt so bad having to say goodbye – I sure wanted to spend more time with them! But they had already booked a train so they really had to go. But before they left, of course we had to take a picture!
Day 15: Alnwick and South Shields
For our second day, Tita Gagah brought us to Alnwick Castle, where the Harry Potter flying lessons scene was shot. It was an extremely cold day (2 degrees), and it felt even colder with the wind and all. But we didn’t want to waste a day holed up at home, being the troopers that we were. So off to Alnwick we went!
We arrived in Alnwick Castle and were greeted by light rain. We thought it would be better to explore the castle’s interior first while waiting for the rain to stop, but unfortunately the rain and wind showed no signs of stopping. And to make matters worse, my travel camera suddenly stopped working so I had to rely on my phone for the rest of the trip.
Oh well. I think the photos we got were nice enough!
We hopped on a bus back to Newcastle around late afternoon, and at this point it was already super windy that we were already thinking of cancelling our South Shields ferry ride. But we were already there, so we just went on with it!
Day 16: Angel of the North, Penshaw Monument, shopping at Durham
I got to sleep in for the first time during this trip, since we weren’t due to leave until late afternoon. We weren’t planning on doing much but Karl and Mexie, Tita Gagah’s kids, offered to drive us around the surrounding areas and give us a glimpse of some of the landmarks there. The places we went to were all so nice, it was a bad time to have no decent camera with me (hence the lack of photos)!
We first went to Angel of the North, a large sculpture commemorating the coal miners that worked in that very site and a symbol of the transition from the industrial to the information age.
We also got to see Penshaw Monument, and we had to hike up the stairs for a bit to really reach the top, but it was all worth it!
After taking in the view and taking lots of photos, we drove to Seaham, where I saw this incredible view:
The rest of the day was spent shopping at Durham. We were supposed to go sightseeing around Durham as well, but we had too much fun shopping because there was a huge sale in one of the outlet stores we went to. XD
Day 17: Edinburgh and some entertaining cookin’
Karl and Mexie took a day off and took us on a little sightseeing tour of Edinburgh for our last day in the UK. It was several hours away from Newcastle by car, so we had to wake up extra early so we could explore more of Edinburgh. I’m not a morning person so I was honestly too sleepy to go anywhere that time.
The cold wind and the rain at the Scottish Borders marker woke me up though! Looking back, I’m glad I woke up the way I did – I was already full of energy by the time we got to Edinburgh!
We drove back to Newcastle from Edinburgh at around late afternoon, and arrived just in time for dinner. We went to this nice teriyaki restaurant called Hanahana, where Karl’s father-in-law works as a chef. The food was great, but that’s not why it was memorable!
It was a memorable dinner because this has got to be one of the most entertaining dinners I’ve ever been to! He was literally performing exhibitions and tricks while cooking our dinner, and also allowed his guests to perform the tricks with him! I especially loved the part where he’d throw a piece of omelette to you, and you’d have to catch it with your mouth! That was so entertaining!
(See the last part of the vlog below for one of the exhibitions I got to do with him!)
It was a great way to spend our last night in the UK, and it felt bittersweet. I made so many great memories in this country and met new friends too! I haven’t even left yet, but I already wanted to make plans for my next visit!
That’s it for my UK travels! As I was writing this series of posts, I realized how crazy and tiring the trip was, but it’s definitely one of my favorite trips ever! I loved it so much that I even created a short vlog compilation of the places I’ve been to and the things I’ve experienced! I really can’t wait to come back!