Rafa's roadtrip around Newcastle


Rafa Benítez and his coaching staff made the most of a scheduled day off from training to explore the North East and learn more about what the region has to offer.

The Magpies manager has been made to feel at home ever since he arrived on Tyneside in March, and - together with fitness coach Francisco 'Paco' de Miguel Moreno and first team coaches Mikel Antia and Antonio Gomez Perez - he was keen to discover some of the landmarks of Newcastle and the surrounding areas.

His first stop on Tuesday morning, was the Castle Keep in Newcastle, where Rafa and Paco were met by a member of staff dressed in a full suit of armour.

They were shown around and told all about the history of the castle and the city, before going to the top of the castle to enjoy its panoramic views across the city, its bridges and St. James' Park.

"It is a wonderful, historic place at the very heart of the 'old' Newcastle which really gave me a feeling for this city and its history and the fact that the city name originated from this Castle in medieval times," said Rafa.

Next up was the Angel of the North in Gateshead - the first landmark of the city that Rafa first saw when he arrived on Tyneside earlier this year.

"It is a very impressive sight and up close it really is huge," he said, "my staff explained to me how it was constructed and told me it is a symbol showing that from the city's history, the Geordies have created a new future. I wanted to see close up this incredible symbol of the city."

Next, Rafa and his coaches paid a visit to Durham Castle and Cathedral. In the cathedral, they were shown around and given a fascinating insight into the magnificent building by the vice-dean of the cathedral, Canon David Kennedy. Rafa said: "Durham Cathedral is so beautiful. It was very nice to meet Canon Kennedy, who showed me and my staff around and told me about the building, it's history and its importance. It is spectacular. We also visited Durham Castle and the University which was also wonderful. Thanks to everyone we have met today, they were so helpful and so proud of their cities and their buildings, and I am also proud to live in such a fantastic place as this".

Rafa and his coaches recently made a trip out to the coast at Tynemouth, and plan on making another trip further north up the coast in the coming months.