Last weekend, Mr Smith and I celebrated 11 years of marriage by having an overnight stay in Newcastle! Each year feels such a great milestone to reach together, whilst also making us feel pretty old in the process! Since our 10 year anniversary last October, we have been planning and then (following the lock down in Spring) holding out hope, to get our much wanted adventure and city break to Istanbul to celebrate a decade married! However, we soon realised with current affairs the way they were, it wasn’t going to be happening anytime soon (sob) and especially not this month for 11 years.
And so, we opted for an overnight stay in the North East of England – yes it was wetter and colder, but lovely nonetheless, because we were together!
Like every year since we were married, we choose to celebrate by going somewhere related to the traditional theme of that year – over buying each other gifts. We have felt from the very first year that time, experiences and memories made, would be much more valuable to our relationship and future than the stuff we could buy for each other! And so, year on year we look at the traditional symbol of that anniversary and find something to do together that links to it. Traditionally 11 years is Steel; steel is valued for its durability and its strength, which one would hope is representative of a marriage after 11 years. Steel is also a mixture of iron and carbon, which makes it virtually resistant to corrosion and damage (we hope). With this in mind, I decided that going to the Angel of the north (just outside of Newcastle) would be a fun way to celebrate as a symbol for our 11th year (being made of steel and all) and as it isn’t far, spend the night in Newcastle.
I haven’t been to Newcastle since I was young or mid teens and so I was more than excited to explore somewhere that felt new. And we loved it. We stayed at hotel Indigo which was modern, pretty nice and served a beaut of a breakfast! It was an ideal central location and very peaceful to be together (without kids for the first time in months).
On the Saturday we wandered around Newcastle and ended up spending most of our morning exploring the Castle. We both love history and this was both a really interesting and fun date together – wandering the narrow halls, learning all about how it had been used over the years, then making our way out to the top – it was magnificent to bask in the panoramic views over the city together and look for all the iconic sites! The ‘New Castle’ (which gave the town its name) was founded in 1080 by the eldest son of William the Conqueror, Robert Curthose and built using earth and timber – it is full of famous names and interesting stories, and definitly worth a visit! It was reasonably priced at £8.50 each (kids over 5 are £5) and I think it took us about an hour or so in total. There were so many interesting and fascinating stories encased within its walls and was a great use of our time.
We also really wanted to tour the Victoria tunnel and the minster, but sadly these weren’t open on a weekend. I was most gutted about the tunnel as it looks such an incredible experience and so many stories to hear!
Our next plan was to walk along the quayside but as the weather took a turn, this wasn’t as welcoming as we envisioned and so we took shelter in the grande indoor market (Grainger Market) which was actually a cool place to explore too if you are ever in Newcastle. It has traditional market stalls and shops as well as Greek, Italian and Indian street food places (which all smelt divine). I loved rummaging through the Marks and Spencers stall that held many bargs from M&S!
We ate lunch at Tortilla (in the shopping centre) which was a burrito and taco place and every morsel was delish (especially after weeks of not being able to stomach much)! There were absolutely so many amazing places to eat – Newcastle is rich in all the usual places as well as an array of cuisines and independent places too. But, when I saw Burrito’s, I couldn’t think of anything else!
After lunch, we grabbed the car from the hotel and then headed home via the Angel of the North, where we had a little walk, took some pics and reflected on married life. It is amazing to consider the things we’ve done together over the last 11 years, as well as all of the places we’ve been and how far we have come and overcome together. The last 11 years truly have strengthened our love, faith, relationship and selves. We love deeper than we did when we were younger and love our life together… it is fun, filled with love and laughter (mostly) and is a wonderful adventure with wonderful little humans we are blessed to accompany us along the way. Like all, we have had a lot of struggles over the years too, but there is no one else we would rather face the roller coaster of life with!
HAPPY 11 YEAR’s TO US – Here’s to many more years of love, adventure, blessings and lessons!