I have been feeling rather nostalgic lately. Maybe because it’s ten years since my work & life experience in England. During that time I explored as much as I could of East Anglia which is where I lived. Ipswich was one of the first cities I visited. I went there by train for a day trip without a fixed plan of what to do and see. After this first day trip I visited Ipswich again to meet up with some new acquaintances but I haven’t really been to any museums or done any proper sightseeing. What I have done actually was to shop at Primark 🙂 I know, I know, there are a lot of people who belittle this brand but I still have a top I bought for only 2£ ten years ago.
Ipswich is the biggest town in East Anglia and it’s situated on the estuary of the river Orwell. The first thing I noticed on my day trip to Ipswich when compared to other smaller towns in Suffolk was the number of people in the streets and a greater feel of cosmopolitanism. I came across the Ancient House with its beautiful pargeting and the Town Hall. I liked the old houses on the high street and the choice of shops. I also saw Ipswich’s waterfront and the marina. It was a leisurely day trip for sure.
I’m sure that not many people have heard of Bury St Edmunds, a charming market town in Suffolk, England. It’s not well-known as nearby Newmarket of which you’ve probably heard of if you’re into horses. Somehow I have a feeling that even if you live in Britain you probably haven’t visited Bury St Edmunds. In 2008 I lived & worked for a couple of months in Suffolk. When I needed a bank, a post office or to do some shopping I went to Bury.
I’m a city girl and coming from a much bigger seaside town I found Bury to be small but delightfully old-fashioned with its shops with limited opening hours and medieval-looking houses. Moreover, to me it perfectly represented the English countryside town which I have seen only on TV until then. I have visited London before this work experience but London is quite another world. It didn’t prepare me for the delightful little surprise called Bury St Edmunds. Despite all the good and the bad that I’ve experienced during my brief time in England I still have a fond memory of Bury St Edmunds. The last time I visited Bury was in 2010. I toyed with the idea of visiting it again last year on my 11th trip to London but ….it just didn’t happen.
I loved walking around the Abbey gardens and taking photos of cute, friendly squirrels. I admired the wobbly old houses around the town. I had an excellent afternoon tea at Harriet’s Tearoom. I had drinks at quaint little pubs and delicious meals at lovely restaurants. In general, I loved the look and the feel of this perfectly English small town. While I was working in England I explored a bit East Anglia and visited places such as Cambridge, Ely, Norwich etc. It’s definitely one of the prettiest regions in England 🙂 (my very biased opinion).
A lot has changed in BSE since my time there. There’s a Christmas fayre now in Bury every year. Furthermore, a wolf trail was launched around the town which has been inspired by similar art trails around England such as the Chester Rhinos. Why a wolf? Because according to a legend a wolf guarded King Edmund’s head after he was slain by the Danes who invaded England in the 9th century. There’s an excellent live music venue now too, the Apex. But I’m sure that some things haven’t changed and that the town still smells of sugar from the local sugar factory.
What can you see in Bury St Edmunds?
The Abbey Gate-the symbol of BSE
Abbey gardens-beautiful gardens with very friendly squirrels
It’s been a month of travel for me: a short weekend break to Stockholm, Sweden with my husband followed by a trip to London on my own and then another business trip to the South of France last week. It sounds great but honestly I just feel exhausted now. Not because of all the travelling I did but because of all the work that I’ve been doing lately. And I still haven’t written much about my travels (especially about Stockholm). So, when I saw the new topic for June’s Travel Link Up I didn’t really know whether I’ll have the time or the energy to write anything but since I really like the topic I decided to give it a try.
What makes a place unexpected? Our expectations, scenery, people or something else; it’s hard to say really. I rarely go somewhere without the exhaustive preparations which include hours spent online (and offline:guidebooks) reading about the sights/landmarks/interesting things to do and to see in a city/country. But sometimes I don’t have enough time to do my usual travel preparations or I just book something almost on a whim and decide not to explore the place too much before the actual trip which usually results in being pleasantly surprised by such a place.
So what places have surprised me lately?The most recent city that I’ve found to be extraordinarily beautiful is Stockholm. My husband and I arrived on a Friday evening (in April) and left on a Monday morning so in reality we only had 48 h to see Stockholm. That’s why I didn’t want to over-plan our stay and I’ve decided to focus mostly on the Old Town (Gamla Stan) and to visit a few museums. Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised by Stockholm since I really didn’t expect to like it so much.
Easter eggs and Easter chocolate bunnies and spring and cakes and family gatherings are a part of my Easter memories. But I have also travelled during Easter weekend in the past years and have experienced slightly different Easter celebrations.I still fondly remember Easter I spent in England in April 2010. I had Easter lunch in one of the most picturesque English village-Lavenham. Before the lunch we walked around the tiny but very medieval looking village and took photos of quaint half-timbered wobbly houses. Then we had our superb Easter lunch at the Swan and enjoyed the piano music. The whole experience was so lovely and so British!:)
Squirrels, sheep, green parks, fields, tea,cute cottages, state homes, changeable weather, beautiful countryside towns, London, pubs, salt&vinegar crisps, cider, toffee, great shopping, friends, love, sadness, change…..
These are some of my English bitter-sweet memories. I’ll probably blog about all the different towns that I’ve visited in England but for the time being here are some of my photos: