My English memories: Norwich

Norwich Castle
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

I can’t believe that it’s been almost 10 years since I lived in England. Time flies! When I lived & worked in Suffolk I took several day trips by train, alone or with a friend. One of them was to Norwich, the capital of the neighbouring county of Norfolk.

It was a grey November day. The train ride was pleasant and short. After my friend and I took the map at the train station we proceeded over the bridge and past the canals down the Prince of Wales street which took us directly to the Norwich Castle. I thought that it looked rather unusual. Norwich Castle is actually one of the oldest castles in England. It was built by William II in 1094 and the part which remains today is the splendid box-like Norman keep. The castle is built on a small hill but there’s a modern elevator which takes you up to the entrance. There’s a Museum and an Art Gallery inside the castle. I loved the castle! There were all sorts of things from the Egyptian mummies to teapots and small cats figurines to armours and shields. We saw the part of the castle which once functioned as a prison and we also got to see the castle’s loo. There were also natural history dioramas. We spent quite a lot of time exploring the castle. To find out about the admission prices today click here.

Norwich Castle

After our visit of the castle we went down to the city center. Since I lived in a much smaller town in England I found Norwich to be very busy and crowded. Actually my visit coincided with the day of the Norwich Market hence the crowds. Before we reached the area of the Norwich Market we stumbled upon the beautiful Royal Arcade. It’s a rather grand shopping arcade full of independent shops and fancy eateries. This is where I saw the legendary Colman’s Mustard Shop. Colman’s is the famous English manufacturer of mustard and other sauces from Norfolk and it’s one of the oldest existing food brands.

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Who still sends postcards?

letter box in London

Who still sends postcards? When I was a child I used to go through my mum’s picture postcards box and daydream. Those postcards were my Pinterest and Instagram combined. The postcards my dad sent from his concert tours around Europe, the postcards from distant family members who moved half a world across, the blank postcards from family holidays. That box was my treasure trove. So when I started to travel I sent postcards to my mum and dad and sometimes to my friends too. But I’d also buy several postcards for myself and I’d bring them home. Wherever I went, I bought postcards to take home. They were my most precious souvenirs. It didn’t matter that I took a thousand photos of Paris or Rome or London. I had to buy a postcard too. I don’t remember when I sent my last postcard. It was before I got my first smartphone for sure. What’s the point of waiting for a week or more to get a postcard from someone when you can send a photo via Viber or upload it on Facebook  and everyone can see it immediately? But there’s no anticipation and romanticism in Facebook pictures. You can’t store them away in a box for your children to see one day.

I’ve got my own postcards box now. I’ve collected all the postcards I was sent to by my family and friends and the postcards I bought on my trips. My husband also has to bring me back a postcard from his skiing trips. Last year he went to Essen to attend the biggest board gaming event in Europe and of course I expected him to send me a postcard from Essen. He searched and searched but couldn’t find any. However, he met some German guy and left him our address and asked him to send a postcard when he finds one. And I got my postcard from Essen!:)

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I’m on Instagram!

instagram

I finally did it! 🙂 I’ve just opened Instagram account for my blog. I know, I’m entering a brave new world. I’m so confused and I hate my phone but hopefully I’ll manage to upload something on a daily basis. I’m still trying to find and follow all my favourite bloggers. You’re welcome to leave your Instagram details in the comments section below and I’ll have a look at your Instagram profile and I’ll probably follow you:)  I don’t usually take photos with my phone when I’m travelling so I don’t have that many good photos to upload but hopefully I’ll manage to transfer some of my rather nice travel photos from my PC to my phone:) Ok, that might be cheating but what can I do? I want to share all my travel photos with you!

So come along, follow me on Instagram! I know you want to 🙂 Thanks!

Xoxo

Tanja

You can also find me on Twitter / Facebook / Google+ / Bloglovin’

England

My English bucket list

Bath, England
I’ve visited Bath in 2009 so it’s not on this list but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to visit it again

I don’t really do bucket lists. Occasionally I’ll write down a couple of places I’d like to visit but I don’t give myself a set time frame to accomplish those travel wishes. Also, I sometimes go to a place because I found a bargain flight not necessarily because it was on some sort of my bucket/travel wish list. I’m pretty keen on London as you might have gathered from my blog. I am also an anglophile (did the name give me out? 🙂 ) so I’d like to visit as many places in England as I possibly could. But there’s only one problem with that: money. England isn’t a cheap country and since I also want to visit some other countries too I can’t just spend all my travel money on multiple visits to England.

Some of the places have been on this bucket list for a long time while others are new entries (thanks to the fellow bloggers I now have an ever increasing travel wish list/bucket list). I’d hoped to visit more of England during my work experience in the UK and during my subsequent visits but London was always high up on my list so I didn’t cross off as many places as I’d hoped. However, I did visit quite a bit, especially in beautiful Suffolk (check my Places I’ve visited page). I just haven’t written about them much (you can read about Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds). I have visited Scotland too and fell in love with Edinburgh. I’d like to explore even more of Scotland but that’s a topic for some other post. Moreover, I’d really like to visit Wales and Northern Ireland some day too. But let me show you first my English bucket list.

My English bucket list

Brighton

They call it London by the sea. I’d love to see the Royal Pavilion and to walk on the Pier and spend some time at the beach.

Windsor Castle

Visiting the royal castle would be a special treat for me.

Highclere castle

Downton abbey was filmed here. Need I say more?

Cotswolds

The picture perfect villages of Cotswolds have put a spell on many visitors so I’m sure I’d love them too.

Salisbury

I’ve visited Bath and Stonehenge but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to see Salisbury’s cathedral too.

England
I’ve been lucky to see the Stonehenge

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Sirmione (Italy): a photo-diary

Sirmione, Italy
the Scaliger Castle in Sirmione

Sirmione is a charming little Italian town on the Lake Garda. When it’s not overrun with day-trippers it offers tranquility and spa treatments at its many hotels. The symbol of Sirmione is the Scaliger castle (13th ct). You can climb its tower to get a nice view of the Lake Garda and the entire town. Once you cross the castle’s drawbridge you enter historical Sirmione. Another noteworthy attraction is the Grottoes of Catullus, the remains of a Roman private house, the largest such uncovered in the northern Italy. This villa is mentioned in the poems of the first famous resident of Sirmione who lived there in 1st century BC (the Roman poet  Gaius Valerius Catullus). There are several interesting small churches too. But the town’s claim to fame are its thermal springs. Many famous writers visited Sirmione such as Alfred Tennyson, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. I shouldn’t forget to mention the famous Italian writers Giosuè Carducci and Antonio Fogazzaro who wrote about Sirmione as well as the notorious Gabriele D’Annunzio who found the short-lived Italian Regency of Carnaro in Fiume (Rijeka, Croatia) with himself as the Fascist leader. English writer Naomi Jacob made Sirmione her home. One of the best opera singers of all times had a villa here too: Maria Callas.

Scaliger Castle, Sirmione
Scaliger Castle

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My English memories: Bury St Edmunds

Abbey gate, Bury St Edmunds

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.

first time in Bury St Edmunds, Sep 2008
last time in BSE, Dec 2010

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 Gate, Bury St Edmunds

Abbey gardens-beautiful gardens with very friendly squirrels

Abbey gardens, Bury St Edmunds

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