Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend trip to Newcastle

Strolling down Grey St. famous for its stunning Georgian architecture
Last month I took a solo trip to Newcastle, England. Three days, all to myself! I have not been alone since before my children were born. My oldest is now 8. That's a long time! Why Newcastle for my first solo trip? Well, I was in a particularly grumpy place about art and portraiture. I get that way sometimes, feeling completely misaligned with the world. I had missed seeing the BP portrait award exhibition while it was on display in London and it happened to be on display in Sunderland (near Newcastle). It was a show I really wanted to see. There was also a show by portrait artist Jonathan Yeo opening in Newcastle, just before the BP portrait award was about to close. So I decided I should go to this part of the world, while these two shows overlapped and hopefully bolster my mood and motivation.

I made sure there was food in the fridge, clothes were washed and left out, and everyone knew their movements for the three days that I would be away. I decided to fly into Edinburgh and take the train down to Newcastle, so that I could get a quick glimpse of another city that I would really like to visit. Once I hit Newcastle, I spent two glorious days walking around town, looking at art, people watching, enjoying the architecture and eating in cafes. At this time of year, in this particular latitude/longitude it was getting dark close to 4pm, so I would retire early to my hotel each night (a hotel room, all to myself!!!!) drink some wine and read.

The day I arrived I took the train to Sunderland, to see the BP portrait award. I was not disappointed. It was full of beautiful, skill- ful and inspiring portraits. Then I went back to Newcastle and checked out the Jonathan Yeo exhibit at the Laing Gallery. Again, I was happy, nourished and inspired. While at the Laing, I also saw a lovely and noteworthy installation called "Gone With the Wind" by Claire Morgan. Unfortunately, I was not allowed take a picture though, boo!

On day 2, I went to an amazing place called The Biscuit Factory. As the name suggests, the building is a repurposed biscuit factory. It is now an amazing venue that showcases high end craft and decorative arts. I was in heaven. So many beautiful things within reach (figuratively and literally) that I could potentially take home and decorate my days with. After the Biscuit Factory, I moved on to Seven Stories, the national center for children's books. Lots of illustration art inspiration to behold. The locale was also amazing and I took a lovely walk behind the building along a little river, where a fantastic "chitty-chitty-bang-bang" style boat was moored.

The little river behind Seven Stories, perfect for a post-lunch stroll.

The boat docked under the Seven Stories cafe window! Love.

After lunch I walked through Newcastle and along the river to the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, again housed in a repurposed building. This time an old flour mill. I filled myself up with ideas and beauty and then headed back to my hotel.

A stroll along the river en route to the Baltic.

The Baltic Center for Contemporary Art

The view from the viewing deck at the Baltic
The view in the other direction. Newcastle is a beautiful city for sure!

 The next morning, I left Newcastle for Edinburgh. I spent the afternoon roaming the amazing streets and doing a little shopping before my flight home (and I ate haggis for lunch and dinner!) It was a glorious 3 days. I feel recharged and am so excited to hopefully start taking regular solo trips to nourish my self and sensibilities.

No comments:

Post a Comment