Newcastle’s Seven Bridges Spanning the River Tyne
Everywhere in England are signs directing World Cup viewers to come and “join us for the game!” It’s like the Superbowl, but in this case, it’s way, way more important–as if the big game didn’t come every January, but instead just every four years. There is definitely some handwringing over England’s early exit, but generally, it’s clear that by 7:30 Sunday night, few men will be walking the streets or anywhere not near a TV set.
I am excited about the game too…it will be fun to watch soccer in a place where the game is not only understood, but beloved. Many people here though, are cricket fanatics, but still, World Cup soccer trumps just about anything else in sports.
We took the train up to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and I got a room that overlooks this river. Seven bridges in a span of about a quarter mile cross this river. The Gateshead Millennial Bridge is a giant bow, that can be raised up with giant wires to let ships cross under it. The bridge itself is a footbridge and curved. Very cool. Our guide Jan told us that the city is now all about art and culture. Years ago, of course, this was a coal town. The old expression, ‘coal to Newcastle’ comes to mind, like a busman’s holiday.
But today, it’s biotechnology, art and a lot of culture that are the city’s meal tickets. Tonight I am hoping to meet up with Elise Rana, who traveled with me to Chile back in 2005, before she became the mother of two. I hope to get her to come out and have a pint and catch up on her life here in Newcastle.