Research shows that staying too long in Bradford can significantly influence your mental health. It is recommended to get away from this place when opportunity is given, even if for a short while. My chance came up last week when I had a weekend off from work (yes, I do have weekends off every now and then). I have targeted lovely Durham, Tynemouth and South Shields. Aim was to get more than 5h of sleep per night, chill, not check emails from work, walk and breath fresh non-Bradford air.

To be completely honest, I was just after a very long week at work which was both the best and the worst week. Wise people always say that there are two sides to each story, guess that can apply to my work sometimes as well. I came back rested and happy, mainly cos I went to the coast and walked around beautiful areas. It was actually first time I liked England this much, I did not know that UK has such a beautiful coastline with sandy, long beaches, somehow I was under impression that UK only has dramatic cliffs and the only way of getting to the see is by committing suicide when jumping off them.

I already knew that Durham was nice, but this time we have also discovered coastline of Newcastle. Went to both sides of the Tyne river and was surprised that it is so narrow. Turns out there is an aquarium, 40min on metro from Newcastle to Cullercoats. Unfortunately, at the time of visiting the area with seals was closed down as it was cleaned, and also the tunnel was drained. We were informed about it on the entrance, and the tickets were cheaper. Even the otters were asleep (yes, very sad L). Still it was nice to watch underwater sea life and to take pictures. Seals to seemed to be happy and fat and the biggest surprise was to see chickens in aquarium, smart idea to get own eggs and feed animals.

If you continue strolling near beach, leave the aquarium behind you and head towards Tynemouth Castle. I was astonished by beautiful view and how nice and clean the whole area was. It made my day to breath fresh air and just continue walking, but also I am always very nostalgic at the sea, many great memories from my childhood when we spent each summer at Baltic Sea. I even touched the water and it was of course cold! Therefore I could not get why there is so many lifeguards and even a whole windsurfing school for kids. There were even people bathing! CRAZINESS.

Next day after Tynemouth we took a bus to South Shields, yes, it was a long bus trip, but it was worth it. Apparently South Shields have been recently developed and millions of pounds were spent on revitalising the place. The beach area was really well thought (aside of swimming pool 100m from the sea), there were pavements for walking, parking lots, skating area, a nice park near as well. It was a nice a walk near the sea and could definitely go back to finish it as it was going further on near cliffs and had nicely marked tracks.

Last but not least… Durham. Charming and painful to walk around all 17 colleges of Uni, but still has some amazing views and one awesome and surprisingly big botanical garden! I have passed it many times when visiting Eivind, but this time we finally went it, I had to pay 1,5£ but if you are student of local uni, you will get free entrance (lucky people!). We definitely did not expect 10 hectares of garden with plants from all over the world and even some pieces of art. Definitely impressed!

Now, back to Bradford for a week, full of work but also good byes to all of friends who left Bradford. Dorm became empty, so did the campus. Rest of friends in library or in some secret study, I am slowly becoming a workaholic, today I cooked a meal first time in almost 2 weeks, not a good sign. One major achievement is that I am back to gym and eating less, reading more books and been very happy with my new position at work, that brings me closer to understanding others and being less judgemental, learning new things every day and meeting new, inspiring people. Happy with marks I got, and actually proud of myself to manage working full time and still getting all grades with distinction (bragging time).  Next is to move away from my lovely Humbolt dorm and find a new place, that I will hopefully keep for the rest of my time in Bradford. Maybe, after all, Bradford is not that bad? (oh no wait… pregnant woman stabbed to death near my workplace… well then, maybe let’s not get over our heads with praising Bradford).