After two weeks with staying with family, we were pretty desperate to get to Norwich and hang out with friends and kick back for a few days. Hence our enthusiasm on the journey there, punctuated by the discovery of a ridiculously cheap pub whilst transferring in Peterborough, that turned from a relaxing drink to a last minute mad dash to catch a train.
Norwich and Norfolk generally has quite a reputation for eccentric characters and odd behaviour, it could be said to be the "Tasmania of England", I think you'll get what I mean by that... However, aforementioned eccentric characters are more of an enjoyable novelty than a concern and we spent many a casual hour spotting individuals that were "normal for Norfolk", as the locals put it.
Another thing Norfolk seems to possess in droves is local ales and fortunately one of the friends we were staying with shares my passion and took great delight in showing us his favourite local watering holes including one of the best pubs I've ever been to, 'The Fat Cat brewery tap', which was oozing with good drinks, reasonable prices, friendly staff and a great atmosphere. For drinks to take home and enjoy was the equally excellent Two Brewers bottle store, breweries my taste buds can personally vouch for include (Or the ones I remember):
Drinking aside, we had a great few days chatting and enjoying our friends company, especially at the infamous Bellevue pub quiz, one of the most imaginative and fun quiz I've ever participated in, with sculpture and various quick fire fun rounds. The compare was great fun in an erratic way, the pub was vibrant and to top it all off, we came second.
Alongside the standard UK high street fayre, Norwich has a healthy (at least it looked that way) plethora of small niche shops including an old fashioned toy store, piled high with games, toys and nic-nacks that would please all ages. Heaps and heaps of charity shops and second hand stores and a market that nestled amongst the greasy spoon and tat stalls I found several stalls serving delicacies, including a vegan baker and an Australian trained barrista who helped sate my caffeine addiction.
One afternoon we took a 4 hour boat trip into the Norfolk broads, and whilst they may not be the most attractive waterways I've traversed, we were lucky to spot a few rarely seen birds including several Kingfishers, Cormorants, Grebes and Herons. It was also an interesting testament to old English towns and their relationship with heavy industry and trade in the past, businesses that are now far beyond their heydays, but at one point were the backbone of British enterprise and cities would undergo such transformations to their natural landscapes to ensure that they could trade most efficiently. This isn't to say that I necessarily agree with these actions, but still, you can't help but be fascinated.
The problem was, with all this fun going on we slightly forgot to visit any of the sustainability and community organisations we had noted... That said, we did make a couple of observations and there's no harm in listing the places we meant to visit is there?