The temperatures are still distinctly wintery and the air was full of rain and delicate snow flurries on Sunday. But one of the places on our things-to-do list for Newcastle was a visit to the Baltic Mill Contemporary Art Centre. We also wanted a chance to see the architecture of the buildings and bridges along the Quayside since we had heard so many positive things about that area.
We drove to the closest Park-and-Ride area for the Metro and just sat and watched the stations go by as we travelled from one part of Newcastle into the heart of the city.
Emerging at the Gateshead Station, we took the escalators up the surface and braved a very cold and blustery walk past the lovely Tyne Bridge which looks like a miniature of the Sydney Harbour Bridge because it was built by English firm Dorman Long and Co Ltd, of Middlesbrough, the same contractors who built the many-times-larger bridge in Australia.
15 minutes of walking-against-the-wind later, we arrived at the The Sage Gateshead, a spectacularly funky and shiny and contemporary building that houses everything from concert halls to music studios to cafes and gift shops and more. The place was buzzing with activity on that cold winter day as people mixed and mingled, ate and drank, relaxed in the warmth. Just take a look at all of the upcoming events by clicking on the link above.
Walking through the building to the east facade entry, we saw the re-purposed historical building that houses the Baltic Mill Contemporary Art Centre. in the near distance and traversed the levels of stairs down toward the waterfront setting.
We had such high hopes — truly — but our favourite parts of this museum ended up being the cafe and the gift shop — and that’s a sad statement. We knew full well that this was a small museum and could not be compared to the many major urban museums we have seen all over Europe for the last 2-1/2 years. But we certainly had expected more and both left feeling quite disappointed by the visit. The exhibits currently on offer were simply bland and odd and, in several cases, quite dated — not in a good way. I wasn’t allowed to take any photos inside so I can’t let you judge for yourselves. For us, it was all too-little and too-uncritically-examined and we both had a sense of been-there-seen-that a long time ago. Ah well — at least the admission was free!
The best thing about the Baltic Mill for us was the viewing platform on the 5th level which has simply splendid look-outs over the Quayside area and the juxtaposition of old bridge, new bridge, old buildings, new buildings and all tied up with the pretty ribbon of the Tyne snaking its watery way through the middle.
Come back soon for more photos and articles about Newcastle including one on the small but elegant Laing Art Gallery.
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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