Nice way to end a working week spent up here in Newcastle. Here's a shot Pammy took a few minutes ago, around sunset. It's been one of those cloudy days where it never rained, but always looked like it was going to. We're looking out to the east here, and all those moisture-filled clouds which are drifting so far from shore are glowing pinky-red.
|Nice photo Pam, and of course it was even redder than|
that in real life, but that's sunset shots for you!
Anyway, Newcastle is a much-underrated place to stay, especially if you're a Sydneysider. Pam and I love this place and have stayed here regularly over the last 20 years, as we have family to visit up here. We've been eating well in the local restaurants (I told the people in the excellent Bocados restaurant in King Street, Newcastle that they have the best Spanish restaurant in Sydney, and they do).
Newcastle isn't a flash town, not an upmarket place like so many other coastal spots. It's a former steelworks town, a working class town whose steelworks has closed down. So life hasn't been easy for people in Newcastle for some time now.
I find much of the place charming, and the people feel more like country people than city folk. It's a city of more than 100,000 people yet it doesn't have skyscrapers – it retains its early 20th-century skyline. It also has a lot of lovely old Victorian and Edwardian architecture including rows of terraces and many fine sandstone public buildings. Some of these were damaged by the earthquake that hit hard back in 1989, another blow for a town already suffering from the loss of industries and jobs. Yet in the same way that they rebuilt and repaired the lovely old buildings, this town is rebuilding its future, slowly but surely.
It's true, the city centre itself feels a bit dead, but the rest of the place is not. The long foreshore walk along the edge of the Hunter River has been revitalised over the last 15 years with appealing park-like landscaping and the introduction of lots of riverside restaurants, which the locals flock to most nights. The eastern side of town where we're staying, a few minutes' walk from the centre of town yet just one minute from the beach, is a tranquil beachside zone on a small scale. I really could live here I like it so much.
So that's my free plug for Newcastle. Give it a try sometime.