Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Food on the Tyne

Today we went to Newcastle. We were intending to go to Scarborough, but it was rather foggy this morning, and since the weather forecast reckoned the fog would linger on the coast, we decided to go elsewhere.
Despite making two visits to Newcastle in the space of a week back in January (see this and this), I haven’t been up since, and have never been down onto Quayside – the “happening” area of the city. The transformation this area has seen in the past 5 years is amazing. What used to be a huge selection of rundown warehouses is now one of Britian’s classiest places to live, with high rise flats going like hot cakes at top dollar prices.
The quayside itself is now home to some very contemporary bars, on the lines of Pitcher & Piano, Casa and the like (similar, I suppose, to the City Screen area in York), and even has a Malmaison hotel with its Paris Metropolitan-style cast iron at the front. And, of course, there’s the millennium bridge linking it with Gateshead, which we walked across to take a look at the Baltic.
For those that don’t know, the Baltic used to be a flour mill, but has now been converted into an art gallery, with free admission. The art is… interesting, to say the least. The top floor has Meccano models of some of the world’s great bridges, including the Tyne Bridge – the model had been lined up so that it was at the same angle as the real one, which gives an interesting effect. Another gallery consists of a series of gongs that you can hit with soft mallets (provided), giving a very eerie effect.
There’s also plenty of art outside along the quays – you can see more at art-on-the-riverside.co.uk. We had lunch at a Spanish tapas bar called La Tasca – they have restaurants all over the country though this is the first one we’d come across. The food was excellent, and since by now the fog had cleared and the sun had come out, we were able to eat outside. Even the staff were spanish – in fact they spoke spanish to each other. Overall, we were very impressed – if you see one of these you may like to consider visiting.
We then headed back up to Grainger Town, the main shopping area of Newcastle, to pick up some bed linen for me (since Bradford don’t provide it) and a few other things. While we were in Bainbridges (part of the John Lewis chain), we had a look at the computer section, and I was surprised to see just how much space they were now devoting to Apple Macs. In the past they’ve maybe had 3 machines at the most, but now they’re taking up similar amounts of space to IBM compatibles – most of which were laptops, actually. They seem to stock the full range – iMacs (both old and new), eMacs, iBooks, PowerMac G4s; even the iPod. They also sold extra keyboards and mice for them too.
Though in retrospect, it’s probably not quite so surprising since about 15 minutes walk away is Northumbria University, where Jonathon Ive, the guy who designed most of Apple’s range, was a student.
Anyway, it was a very enjoyable day, and an interesting one too.

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