Newcastle (Ne'w' Astel)

Glasgow is in many ways identical to Newcastle. There is a river that splits the city into halves and there is a poorly designed motorway blasting its way through the city centre, diving over a bridge that looks impressive in some lights and in others a terrible mistake of engineering. Newcastle also has it's football, though rather than being splintered into to sworn enemies, Newcastle concerted it's efforts into one team, taking their rivalry a few miles east to the city of Sunderland.

I didn't realise that Newcastle was actually in my mind two cities. Newcastle and Gateshead, one of the north of the river Tyne and one on the South of the river Tyne, and that they are linked by road, rail and walkways. They are commonly known in the areas as the one destination of NewcastleGateshead (with the space missed out intentionally for branding purposes).

I was there to see a football match, do a little sight seeing and sample the local night life. It became aware that while we were in a different city, and technically a different country, I should have been expecting a different night out and a different city - but no. Almost identical to the way that Glasgow and Aberdeen are set out, Newcastle has all the mod cons of a major city in the UK.

There is a Revolution Bar. A La Tasca. There is a Wetherspoons, a Yates. There is Topshop, Marks and Spencer and an unmanageable bus and rail network that is totally bespoke and useless to anyone visiting. There a smattering of roads that have been pedestrianised but during the weekends are filled with hoards and hoards of children in hoodies and converse huddled in corners talking about the latest Youtube meme and the My Chemical Romance album. I should've felt at home.

Luckily though, there was enough quirks to make it seem different - the Quayside area, a new development of shops and hotels, is brilliant and is what the new Glasgow Harbour shite wants to become. The railway is impeded by the massive valley that the two cities are located in which large overarching railway viaducts built years ago. The bridges are stunning, with the Tyne looking majestic in the sunlight and the Millennium Bridge swinging like nothing I have seen.

So Newcastle was good fun. We got leathered on the Friday and suffered slightly on the Saturday. Newcastle were behind, drew level, went ahead and lost the lead in a highly entertaining match of football that included a stone wall wrong red card. We got lost in a car park and twice mistakenly thought the Quayside would provide us with a good meal and beer. What will be my next city? Not sure. Maybe London - or Houston.