My husband and I decided to bite the very-expensive-Pound-bullet and head to the UK for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Our first game was the epic clash between the Springboks and the Scotts. This game was a decider as to whether or not we would still have any chances of making the quarter finals. And thankfully the Boks put on a show and played some classy rugby!
Host city Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England has never really been a place on my to-see list but that’s the fantastic thing about World Cup tournaments. Since you are following your team all over the host nation you are forced to experience the sights and sounds of wherever their games are scheduled. Places you wouldn’t ordinarily even think of visiting. And what a pleasant surprise Newcastle was!
My only real preconceived ideas of this student town were those conjured up by MTVs Geordie Shore. Let’s be honest… no reality show is particularly real. And to their detriment, this isn’t a very good overall representation of the city! There is so much more to Newcastle than the show portrays. It’s definitely not just about mini skirts, parties and difficult-to-decipher accents!
The city developed around the Roman settlement Pons Aelius and was named after the castle built in 1080 by Robert Curthose, William the Conqueror’s eldest son.
What a beautiful place jumbled with both historic buildings and modern architecture. One outstanding structure has to be the Newcastle Opera House situated right beside the River Tyne.
I really didn’t expect what we found. And on top of it, I have yet to come across such incredibly friendly people. Everyone we encountered was more than happy to help you. Especially the cabbies who had many suggestions of where to go out, what to do and what to avoid.
We stumbled upon the cutest little breakfast spot called the Scrumpy Willow and Singing Kettle. Cosy, friendly and welcoming! Just like the city of Newcastle. They had a great selection of healthy, Vegan and Vegetarian options.
Another great experience was obviously heading to St. James Park for the Rugby. And what fun the Scottish fans were! Even after losing the game, the Scotts were happy, cheerful and ready for a celebration. We sat behind a passionate supporter named Amanda who sang along with us, shared drinks and patted us on the back when we won. We’re even Facebook friends now ðŸ˜‰
I attended the game with my husband Neil, my business partner cum bestie, Sarah and her boyfriend David as well as a few other mates from London.What an experience! Memories that will last a lifetime were made and we honestly had the time of our lives.
This pretty much sums up how we felt during the entire game. But what a feeling when the final whistle blew!
A little added bonus to our weekend away was sharing the train home from Newcastle with the Springboks! When they walked into the train station the hundreds of Saffers catching the train back to London cheered and clapped and we all showed our appreciation to them for the win!
The guys really are phenomenal. Taking pictures with everyone who asked and chatting away to their fans and supporters. When I spotted Schalk I had to ask for a picture and me being me I piped up, “I’m also a Burger!” I mean, could I have been any more lame?! But he laughed and asked whether we were coming to watch them play the US, which we are.
Another gent I bumped into is Ron Rutland otherwise known as the Fat Kid on a Bike behind the campaign, Lettie’s Ride. He rode for 27 months and 43,000km through every country on mainland Africa, and Europe, to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London. All for his friend, Lettie. The Lettie Love Fund is dedicated and committed to assisting those fighting their personal battles against cancer. The other charity this ride is raising money for is the Laureus Foundation South Africa. You can read more and donate, here.
I really do recommend a trip up to Newcastle! I plan to go back and experience the city away from the Rugby World Cup but what a way to do it! Here are a few more snaps from our 2 days away. Enjoy!