10 January 2011

Edinburghs Hogmanay [Part I] Kiwi Comrades

ROAD TRIP! 1,300 kms, 6 days, 4 awesome kiwi comrades, 1 tiny car, and 1 HUGE party. New years; its on!

First up, lets meet the crew. Lindy - our fearless leader. Elisse - a ruthless navigator. Prue - resident DJ. And your humble narrator. All packed into a Ford Ka; Possibly the smallest automobile ever made.

We set off bright and early on a Tuesday morning. Destination: Newcastle. The journey went by quite well, taking in some of the beautiful English countryside. We arrived in Newcastle at around 5pm and found our hotel. It was tidy, cosy and close to town. Perfect.

Newcastle was actually a little dull. Maybe the fact that it was a Tuesday night, and Wednesday was the first work day back after Christmas. But the town was deserted! Even still, Newcastle had not spared any expense over the Christmas decorations - they were everywhere! We even found a brass band in the centre of town playing to almost no one. Later we stumbled upon an awesome pub with £1.50 jagerbombs, crazy locals and killer music. So Newcastle kinda redeemed itself there.

The following day we decided to check out the sights of the area - starting with the Angel of the North. This is a massive structure designed by Antony Gormley - standing 20 metres tall and with a wingspan of 54 metres. To put it bluntly, it is pretty freakin' impressive. I have a photo (below) of Lindy standing underneath it - really gives you an idea how big this thing is. As we got there the area was thick with fog. Not ideal, but quite cool at the same time - for the longest time we could not see the sculpture, then it suddenly appeared through the fog. The whole thing was quite eerie. Anyway, check out the pics.

Just down the road is the small town of Durham. It is a cute little place, complete with cobble-stone streets and old stone bridges. We visited the cathedral - also blanketed in thick fog - and the castle, which was unfortunately closed. After a quick bite to eat and the girls getting a bit of retail therapy, it was onward and upward - to Edinburgh!

The next couple of hours driving was through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. We travelled through tiny villages and pristine, snow covered fields, all while the sun was gently setting over the horizon. I took one of my favourite photos of the whole trip on this piece of road, and because I like it so much you get the large version.

We arrived in Edinburgh at about 5pm. On the way to dropping Prue and Elisse at their hostel we had a bit of a mishap - our tiny Ka went into a pothole the size of London. Some seriously bad noises came from both the car and Lindy... But both seemed to settle down a short while after. We successfully dropped the girls at their hostel, then made our way to Gem's house. Gem is the super-cali-freakin'-awesome friend who kindly allowed Lindy and myself to crash at her house. Go Gem!

After settling in we headed down to Grassmarket to meet up with the girls again and a whole bunch of their friends for drinks and eats. Later we went to the pub where Gem works for a quiz - which we were absolutely hopeless at, but thankfully did not come last. This is where our sixth comrade joined the crew - Nick, another awesome Kiwi. We stuck around for a few more hours, all drinking way too much. Gem's boss makes this insanely good toffee vodka which went down a little too well.

Later we headed back to Nick's mate's house. Things got a little crazy from that point on, and we ended up getting home at about 7am. Pretty good effort I say.

This seems like a good place to wrap things up. But never fear - I shall continue our epic tale of debauchery and destruction in the coming days.

Next Post - 'Edinburghs Hogmanay [Part II] Getting Loose Mother Goose'


  1. The pictures of the Angel of the North are so surreal -- especially the one where it is in full frame.

    Good luck on your voyage! I look forward to seeing more of your lovely photography. :)

  2. Your photos are lovely and that Angel of the North looks incredible! We rode through Newcastle by train on our way to Edinburgh last year and I thought it looked lovely. We hope to visit Newcastle later this year. Will visit Durham too which I last visited in 1980 or so!

  3. This looks like a really fun trip. And even though it's all snowy and shiz.. it doesn't look cold. Like it's probably colder here than there. So I could handle that. :)


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