Newcastle Science Fest and Edinburgh

Newcastle Science Fest and Edinburgh

Andrew woke up bright and early this morning. About 3 a.m.! At around 6:30 he decided he would go on a nice morning walk to take some photos. I politely declined to go with him so I could sleep a little longer. When he came back he had some great photos of the bridges in Newcastle and the Tyne River. I posted some of those below.

After breakfast we walked North into the shopping district of town on our way to another Newcastle Science Fest Event called Body in Action. It was a fun science-based look at the body and how it performs during physical activity. There was lots of activities to try as well including a grip strength test, a sprinting test, and a lung capacity test. We were a little skeptical at first, but it turned out to be fun. They even had a state of the art system like the one used in Hollywood to map different joints and parts of the body to see how they move. Think Avatar. After that we popped into a quick cafe for lunch and moved on to a seminar on the science of sleep. It was quite informative and the speaker was great. Then we wandered over to a pub so we could get a Newcastle in Newcastle.

The final event of the day was The Alpha Project. I’m not quite sure where to start on this one, but I will say it was great fun in a strange scary kind of way. The Newcastle Science Fest Program describes it as “part theater, part psychological experiment, The Alpha Project is based on real events and explores psychic abilities, blurring the boundary between physical and extrasensory experience.” They tell you nothing else so we didn’t really know what to expect. You enter the first room which is really cold because it’s part of an old castle. You then fill out a brief survey and sign a scary waiver and are moved to another room where they make you change your shoes. We then split up, myself going up another flight of stairs and sitting at a table in a dark room with some white noise that progressively got louder. It was quite creepy because I had no idea what was going on or whether someone was going to jump out behind me (the table and chairs are in the middle of the room). After about 4 minutes Andrew joined me and proceeded to lead me in a bunch of “psychic” tests. There were cards, a crystal, and grainy black and white photographs that were likely of serial killers. I did okay in the psychic tests (guessing games) until it came to the hanging crystal which apparently I was supposed to make swing around with my mind. I was staring and staring and despite my best efforts absolutely nothing happened. I suppose I shouldn’t quit my day job eh? In between the tests there were lots of scary noises and loud talking. At times they shone a hot red light at me and other times it was a white one so bright that I could hardly see. At the end of it all they kind of just lead you out. No explanation or anything. Although this probably seems awful it was actually an interesting and worthwhile experiment. I enjoyed the fact that I was completely out of control and had no idea what was happening. Most of my life is spent in control of things (plans, work, etc.) and just experiencing something with no control was quite refreshing. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. Needless to say it provided lots of conversation on the train ride to Edinburgh.

Since we were already in Northern England, it was only an hour and a half train ride to Edinburgh, Scotland. The ride was lovely. We saw farms, lots of sheep (right up our alley!), some adorable small towns, and the tumultuous Northern Sea known for it’s past Viking escapades. When we arrived in town we could tell it was quite a bit colder than Newcastle or London. We walked to our hotel which was close to the train station and was an overall easy walk if you don’t count the 300+ stairs! Yikes! Drew insisted in carrying the backpack and the luggage so he climbed the stairs with about 60 lbs of extra weight on his back! After catching our breath and checking in we ventured out for dinner to a restaurant that was highly rated on Yelp called The Grain Store. It did not disappoint. We started with some ham hock and leek risotto which may have been the best risotto I have ever had. We then had a little whiskey (when in Rome right?) and moved onto our mains. Andrew had the Sea bass and I had a roasted pork loin with pork belly and vegetables. Both dishes were great. After that we walked back to the hotel and called it a night because we were all quite tired. Oh yea, did I mention it’s freezing here? Cheers, Chelsie and Andrew

The Sage Gateshead during Andrew's early morning walk.

Millenium and Newcastle Bridges

A grafitti robot who loves cheese. Me too!

More views of the Tyne River.

Having a Newcastle in Newcastle

Andrew with the Newcastle in Newcastle

Garth Castle where The Alpha Experiment took place.

Andrew's Sea Bass from The Grain Store.

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