Sunday, 10 November 2013

From the Mersey to the Tyne

Yesterday morning, I flew into Liverpool airport at the start of a week-long roadshow around the UK, starting in Newcastle-on-Tyne. The weather was perfect all day - too perfect in fact. I'd been hoping to catch more of that Bricktorian Britain atmosphere as my train took me from Liverpool Lime Street via Manchester, Leeds and York to a city noted for its fog. Instead - brilliant sunshine and cloud-free skies. More Italianate than Britannic.

Travelling across England from the north west to the north east, over the Pennines and up the East Coast, I was struck by a) just how incredibly industrious the Victorians (and indeed their Georgian forefathers) were and b) how much of their hard work remains, woven into fabric of the nation's infrastructure. In comparison, Poland, which spent the 19th Century under the dominion of Russian, Prussia and Austro-Hungary, is today a nation in fierce catch-up mode, having been bequeathed very little in terms of infrastructure by the ages.

Below: on final approach to Liverpool John Lennin International. The entrance of the Manchester Ship Canal is in the centre of the frame; a salmon-pink dawn approaches. To the left, the chemical industry of Runcorn; to the right, the River Mersey.

Below: the Tyne Bridges, Newcastle's signature landmarks. To the left, Newcastle, to the right, Gateshead. In this, the city reminds me of Oporto, where low- and high-level bridges link the city to Villa Nova de Gaia. And the weather was to match!

Newcastle, like all large British cities, has its fair share of stupendous Victorian engineering and architecture; I wish I had more time to spend wandering around with my camera.

This time last year:
Autumnal Gdańsk

This time two years ago:
What Independence Day means for Poles

This time three years ago:
Words fail me: what's the Polish for 'to fail'?

This time four years ago:
Autumn in Dobra

This time six years ago:
Autumn ploughing

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