“I’d better not talk while we’re out or I’ll get smacked in the face.”
A very bold statement made by a friend from Kent who, in a rash moment of bravery, had heroically crossed England’s north-south border to spend the weekend with me in Newcastle.
“Why’s that?” I asked, already fully aware of what her answer was going to be.
“Well, because of my accent and they’re all pretty rough up here aren’t they? Always looking for a fight?”
“But I don’t have a Geordie accent. I’m from Liverpool and I’ve never had any trouble,” I replied.
“Yes but you’re from, well you know, up north.”
I sighed and told her not to worry as we headed into Newcastle, more affectionately known as Toon, for our night out.
As we walked out of the grand 19th century, listed building that houses Newcastle Central
Station, took a walk down the gentle curve of Grey Street – home to the most Grade II listed buildings outside London – and down towards the beautifully bustling Quayside, which offers unparalleled views of the River Tyne and its iconic bridges, I smirked to myself as my friend’s jaw fell to the floor.
“I didn’t realise it was so beautiful,” she said as I stifled a smug “told you so”.
By the end of the night, Newcastle had cast the same hypnotic spell on her that it had me when I visited 12 years ago.
I still haven’t left.
Not only had she fallen in love with the thriving cosmopolitan city and its incredible architecture, splattering of unique boutiques, bars and range of restaurants that take you across the globe, it was the people that surprised her the most.
They say there’s nothing like Geordie hospitality and they – whoever they might be – are right. The warm nature was the drug that really got me hooked when I first landed in Newcastle. People have time for you, they stop and say hello, help you out if you’re in need and have a wicked sense of humour – or good craic as they say up here.
So with the spotlight thrust on London for the summer’s Olympics, I’m determined to do my best to attract as many visitors as I can to the place I now call my adopted home.
Using my only weapon – words – I wrote an article for travel website BootsnAll, and if it manages to get one person interested in my adopted home then I’m happy.
Take a look at the feature here: http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/12-06/escape-london-during-the-olympics-and-explore-the-north-east.html