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I am not very organized in general but I do have a fixed routine in the mornings. Strange, eh? So I was up at 5 am today as we were planning on leaving home by 6:30. In the event we hit the street at 6:17 which I thought was good going.
At this time of day the traffic is not as heavy as it will be an hour or so later and the 205 bus sailed through to Liverpool Street station with barely a pause, leaving us plenty of time to buy baguettes and coffee from Upper Crust, and even sit for a while before our platform was announced. The train left on the dot of 7 am as I settled down to do the sudoku in the Metro (and I managed to solve the difficult one today!).
The weather forecast told us that it would be sunny where we were headed but as we ran towards Colchester, the clouds began to gather and as we pulled into the station, it was beginning to rain. Will it clear by the time we reach Norwich?
Yes! The sun came out to welcome us to Norwich. A touch of drama was added by an alleged bag-snatching incident on the station. We left as a Transport Police officer was being helped with his enquiries by a young woman.
The client’s address was in one of the business parks. The taxi driver knew the park and the address we gave so all seemed fine. Then it turned out that the address was incomplete, a situation that is not unfamiliar to us. The cabbie was sensible and asked a DHL delivery driver who indicated that we were parked in front of the very building! Deadline met; job done.
After the drop, we took the cab back to town and stopped off for espressos and muffins beside the river. The expedition had started well.
We now started wandering around Norwich, enjoying the sights and taking photos. The only guiding principle during this phase was a general progress towards the restaurant where we planned to have lunch, having tried it previously and found it very good.
The restaurant is called Pulse and is accommodated in the old fire station stables above the Rainbow wholefood store. All of its dishes are vegetarian or vegan and it is pleasant to be able to choose anything on the menu – or the specials board – rather than having to seek out the one or two “vegetarian options” offered by most eateries.
After lunch we continued our explorations. We did think of taking a bus ride but never got around to it because there is so much to see in the town, renewing acquaintance with familiar things and discovering new.
Here are some of the things we saw.
We of course paid a visit to the superb Royal Arcade which dates from 1899. There is a common myth that the Victorians preferred dull colours but a tour of this arcade, with its Art Nouveau décor, should quickly dispel that myth. The Arcade merits an article all on its own and my photos can only give a glimpse of its flamboyant elegance.
Norwich reads like a catalogue of buildings throughout the ages and the Royal Arcade is but a recent addition compared with some of the ancient but well preserved structures that have withstood the ravages of time. Here are just a few examples.
The foregoing are merely examples of the treasure house that is Norwich. There is much more besides. Apart from lunch and a couple of stops for refreshments (and a foray into Jarrold’s wonderful department store where we bought a “spork” each for future picnics), we were on the go all the time, discovering the new and redicovering the familiar.
Time passed quickly but Tigger’s “inner pigeon” cleverly brought us to the station at 4:30, in comfortable time for out train at 5 pm. We had booked this train and our tickets were not valid on any other. The train was already in the platform but we were not allowed to board so we sat in the tiny AMT cafe until we saw the crowd surge forward and joined the rush to the train.
Norwich is a beautiful city with many fine old buildings, and even a few good modern ones, and it is easy to spend time there with sights begging to be photographed at every turn. If we are sent to Norwich again, as I hope we will be, we will be happy to continue discovering its treasures.