So on New Year’s day off I went to Newcastle with my two other travel buddies. It was my official holidays since the start of winter break. We were visiting my classmate from college. After having planned for this trip since last winter, it finally happened. We took a flight to Newcastle and it definitely was not the best weather to fly as it was a windy evening when we left. Couldn’t recall what the windspeed was..(sorry..but it is a really common conversation people here have about the weather).
This trip was all about meeting my fellow Malaysians and having great food that brings you slightly closer to home and discovering the cities in a slow pace. The day we arrived in Newcastle, my friend had cooked Malay style chicken with rice and vegetable. The next day she made nasi lemak for breakfast and the following day we had a mini Malaysian food festival where a few other Malaysians from Newcastle Uni came over for dinner .I ate like there was no tomorrow because when you are away from home, any food that is familiar shall not be rejected. However the nights were a torture because it was really cold at my friend’s place. This is when I was grateful that Surrey guarantees accommodation for international students on campus..which means I can stay comfortably in my warm room in and not worry about turning on the heater because it is going to cost more..
We had day trips to Edinburgh and Durham while we were there. I enjoyed both Edinburgh and Durham because they seem more like those traditional cities you see in the British movies with castles and beautiful cathedrals. I really enjoyed the architecture.. you have to be there to experience that I guess. If you do plan to visit Durham, you might want to go to the Castle which is actually used by the university as part of student accommodation. How cool would that be right to be living in a castle? Even when I was on the guided tour around the castle I felt like I was in a Harry Potter film..what if I actually lived there? Sadly only limited number of students are lucky enough to experience it..so don’t get your hopes too high and consider changing your university option now because of what I have just said. Talking about Harry Potter, one of the scenes from the movies was actually shot at the Durham Cathedral. As in for Edinburgh, my favourite part of the trip was the free night walking tour. I was a great experience and a fun way to learn the brief history of Edinburgh in less than two hours. It was freezing when we went on this tour but it was totally worth it. I enjoyed listening to the dark history of Edinburgh and how it developed to what it is now. Note that you got to pay full attention to what your guide because their accent is quite thick. I would definitely recommend anyone to visit these places but again it depends on your personality and what you actually like. It might get a bit boring if you stay too long.
To be honest we didn’t really plan our day trips, we just walked about and discovered the cities with the help of Google Map. We were lucky enough that throughout this trip, the weather was favourable to us. I don’t deny that it was cold but the sun still decided to shine. As what I was told, it is quite rare for Newcastle to have bright sunny days during the winter..I guessed we brought some sunshine from Guildford. 😉
We returned to the university on the 5th of January with a heavy heart but heavier bags. My friend actually bought an extra bag and filled it up with her “Life” chilie sauces, pandan leaves, curry leaves and her “Ayamas” sardine cans. I am sure you can get it from Oriental shops in Guildford or from ChinaTown in London but she just decided to get it there because it is not guaranteed you can always find these things. It was a short but sweet trip. Leaving my newly found Malaysian family from the North was sad.. but I was happy to be back …to my warm cosy room and to my beautiful campus where it is sunny even on most winter days. The only disappointment was that I travelled to the North with the hope of experiencing snow for the first time but no..it decided to only snow after we left. So here I am still eagerly waiting for the snow. Till the next time. Bye for now 🙂