Football!!!…(soccer for the Americans)

It’s important that no matter where you go, you learn the culture you’re in. It’s a great way to learn a lot about the people who are around here, and usually allows you to have a lot of fun. Be sure to think before you speak about something you’re not quite  sure about. If you have any questions, the locals will usually be more than happy to answer them for you, but just be careful before making any sweeping statements.  Seeing that I am in England the one activity that brings a majority if people together is football ( or well, soccer for the Americans).

Sunderland fortunately has its own team right here in town. Sunderland might not be the best, or even good when it comes to the overall standings. That doesn’t stop the huge display of support from the locals. When there is a home game at the Stadium of Light, it becomes an event for the whole city. It feels like the city’s population doubles because you see so many people coming out. Just make sure that if you come to Sunderland, don’t come here supporting Newcastle. The Geordies (people from Newcastle) and the Mackems (Sunderland) have a huge rivalry, for any Americans reading this it’s like the Yankees and the Red Sox. That being said, I haven’t seen to any violence between the Mackems and Geordies since I’ve been here. All in all, football brings cities together not just in Sunderland but in the UK all together.

I have a quick question for any readers of this blog. What is another cultural activity that brings cities together like football in Sunderland?

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm  Comments (8)  

Places to see Around Town.

Once you have a sure footing on how to get around town, now it’s time to go find out what the town has to offer. Seeing how you just moved to a town you should have done a little research to see what the town is like; however, research still will not tell you everything. You should start by going online and going to any search engine and type in your town’s name and see what comes up. You should have a variety of options to choose from after entering this into the search engine. After looking online for a while, try to speak to a neighbour or two to see their opinion on what is nice in your town. Now that you have a decent understanding what your town has to offer, use the transportation that best suits you and you are well on your way to exploring your new town.

I followed this simple outline since I have been in Sunderland and it has work out so far. I did some quick research online, and then spoke to some local residents in my flat. The information I was given by the residents was actually much better then the information I received online. The overall majority said that the Winter Museum and Gardens were the best things to see in Sunderland. The Winter Museum and Gardens are an awarding winning attraction that offer an insight to Sunderland’s past and present. It has a number of different displays all throughout the museum. It has multiple stories and has a beautiful garden located at the end of the museum next to a cafe. Outside the museum there are vast gardens with statues located all throughout the park. There is a big area for children to play in, and if you do not have any children, there are romantic views at the top of a small hill at the end of the park. You can sit on the benches and see right to the ocean. If you ever come to Sunderland make sure you check on the Winter Museum and Gardens.

Check this website out for things to do in Sunderland. http://www.visitsunderland.com/home.asp

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 11:08 am  Comments (2)  

Transportation: Getting Around Town

So you have just landed and getting settled, it’s about time to see what your city has to offer. Being able to get where you want to without hassle could take some time to get a hang of. Before you leave your place of residence, make sure you know where you are going and how you are getting there. If you can, try and walk for the first few weeks to as many places as possible to try and familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Try talk to some locals and see if they have any advice because some areas might not be too safe for you to walk around. They might also be able tell you about some of the local hot spots. After you have familiarized yourself with your surroundings try and see what’s the best option to try and get around town. All cities usually offer a variety of transportation. You can usually take the metros, bus’s, and if you need to get anywhere in a hurry a taxi.

Sunderland, luckily, offers a variety of transportation if you do not like to walk. Sunderland has multiple bus lines, as well an efficient metro system that allows its riders to go from one side of Sunderland all the way to Newcastle Airport. However, walking is always an option. You can walk from a residential area through the heart of the city in about 3o minutes, which is not bad at all. All in all, walking has been the best option for me to familiarize myself with Sunderland so far. Sunderland also has a number of different taxi services that are either a phone call away or a short walk away.

Here is a useful link for Traveline that will make things a lot easier. This allows you to travel both in Sunderland and the rest of the Northeast.

http://www.travelinenortheast.info/jplanner/usp.nsf/pws/Traveline+North+East+and+Cumbria+-+Home+Page

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm  Comments (6)  

Flying In

After a plane ride the last thing anyone wants to do is move. Most people just want to find a bed somewhere and sleep. However, to avoid any stressful situation you should have a plan already mapped out on how to get to your destination. Whether it’s by taxi, bus, or metro you need to make sure you know where to go and have a rough estimate how much you should pay. Taxis are usually the easiest, quickest, and sadly the most expensive way to get to your final destination, but sometimes a little extra cash is needed to ensure a stress free ride. Taking the bus and metro are usually cheaper, but you have to deal with all your luggage in a reasonably small space. In my opinion, if you have flown half way around the world paying a little extra to have some peace of mind isn’t too bad.

When I arrived in Newcastle Airport on a late Sunday night I was lucky enough to have had a taxi waiting for me. The University of Sunderland has a pick up program for exchange students. Newcastle International, like other airports, has taxis and shuttles located outside the main lobby by the baggage claims. Newcastle, however, has a metro going from the airport all the way to Sunderland. If you decide you want to save some money and have the time and energy, the metro is not a bad choice. It costs about 3 pounds and 80 pence to go from the airport to the end of the metro line, where Sunderland is. The taxi ride took about 25 minutes, and the metro takes around 50 minutes to an hour. The problem with the metro is that after you get off you still need to get to your destination with all your baggage.

Whatever choice you make, make sure you get to your destination and get a good night’s rest.

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm  Comments (2)