Yesterday I went to Newcastle, all on my own! My main purpose for coming to Newcastle was to see an exhibition called Body Worlds at the Life Science Centre. I studied Gunther von Hagen’s work at college and my mum said she really wanted to see an exhibition of his work but it’s been a very long time since there was an exhibition in the UK, other than the animal one. So I decided to go and visit Newcastle solely for the exhibition, because I don’t know when I’ll have another opportunity to do so in my lifetime.
I currently live and study in Leeds so Newcastle was quite a way for me. On a train, it was about an hour and a half away from Leeds, but it wasn’t as far away as my home in Shropshire! One of the things I noticed as I was approaching the city was this bridge; I thought it looked minimalistic and really stood out, though it wasn’t captured as well on this photograph. This river is called the river Tyne, which is why the settlement I was headed to is called Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Luckily for me, the science centre was just a 2 minute walk from the train station. I’m a huge fan of Gunther von Hagen’s work; he uses plastination to preserve real bodies of people and animals. Last year I saw the Inside and Out exhibition about animals at the Natural History Museum in London; it was great! This time it was real life humans in the exhibition. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photographs of any of the bodies but all I can say is that it was amazing and extremely educational. There were many plastinated body parts, showing the differences between healthy organs and those with cancer and other common diseases/illnesses. If any of you are near Newcastle, it is really something you cannot miss! Unless perhaps if you are squeamish….
The rest of the centre was okay, it was a little too simple for me though. I did study advance level Physics though, and I am a huge astronomy nerd! This centre was designed mainly for children, after all. Anyway, there was a small theatre called the Planetarium which showed a movie on the ceiling of a dome, similar to the huge dome cinema at the Hong Kong Space Museum. I watched a short movie called “What’s up, Einstein?” which discussed Newton and Einstein’s theories about space and time. They talked a lot about the Big Bang, expanding universe and things certain astronomers/physicists noticed when others didn’t, which was all interesting. A lot of concepts were explained very simplistically, obviously for children or those who didn’t study physics. I was a little disappointed that the teenagers behind me fell asleep during the showing though; you can never be too bored learning about science!
After buying postcards and pens (the usual stuff) I decided to go shopping and a little sightseeing, seeing as Newcastle was rated as one of the top 10 places for student satisfaction. One thing I was very happy to see was that there were a lot of places to buy comic/sci-fi merch. There was even a geek cafe where people can socialise and play Magic with friends whilst eating! Unfortunately I went alone so I felt really out of place, and didn’t really want to make new friends in a city I won’t ever visit again. I’m always going to new places unfortunately; maybe if there was another exhibit I really wanted to see here again. I looked for somewhere to eat and decided to support a small local cafe. I ordered a hot chocolate and egg mayo sandwich/deli thing. It costed an eye-watering £5.70 for both! However, it was delicious and the decor inside the cafe was very welcoming. Unfortunately, as a student I think I’ll have to opt for McDonalds next time to save my wallet from becoming anorexic!
Newcastle was, although I don’t want to admit it, much more beautiful than Leeds. Most of the buildings were very old, possibly listed traditional buildings. I didn’t get to see many of the famous landmarks such as the St Mary’s Cathedral and Millenium bridge because I only had a couple of hours and by the time I finished shopping , I just sat at the train station for 2 hours because I could not walk anymore. I was absolutely knackered! A lot of my friends joked about bringing home a northern accent whilst I was there but I didn’t really speak to many locals there anyway haha.
Overall I had a very interesting day of shopping and exploring. Body Worlds was the main reason I spent the £30 train ticket to the north, and it was truly a fascinating exhibit. I really recommend this exhibition to anyone interested in science/anatomy. Body Worlds exhibits all around the world so it is worth checking the website every now and then to see if there’s a new exhibit near you. In the meantime I’m going to eagerly await a new exhibition which will coming to the UK, hopefully in the near future.