Visiting another old friend gave me the perfect excuse to make a second short trip out of London and see other parts of England. This time I headed north to Norwich to visit an old chum whom I have known since I was about 13 or so, and who recently migrated to the UK with her family. Norwich was an easy two hour train ride from London, and a quaint enough little town to entertain myself while my friend was busy during the day. Known as a university town, it has a very young, vibrant feel with hundreds of thousands of bright-faced students in the streets, though it also seems to have a hell of a lot of older folks who are rabid for shopping in Norwich’s many lovely shops.
After Norwich, we made a brief stopover in the small town of Stamford, to visit my friend’s family. Lovely stone buildings, nice market area, and very very quiet streets.
And after just one night we were off again to visit Cambridge, as we were invited to a farewell BBQ lime. We arrived a few hours early to go punting along the River Cam — a popular and famous pastime of Cambridge folks. Those of you who don’t know what punting is (like me), it’s a style of river boat whereby the punter (guide) stands at the back of the boat, and with a long pole pushes and directs the boats through the shallow and sometimes narrow canals and under bridges.
This was definitely one of the favourite parts of my whole England trip because the river was a bit mad! It was a Sunday, so the place was swarming with tourists and exchange students, and, even worse, they are actually allowed to take out the boat themselves to try punting! As you can imagine, there were more than a few collisions, boats turning in the wrong direction, and people generally doing all kinds of stupidness out in the water. Good fun!
Back on dry land, we came across this oddball street performer who was definitely working hard for the 50 pence that people kept putting in his collection. Anyone can stand up on the side of the road and play a guitar, but this guy took it to a whole new level. Love it!
And now I am back in London, doing last minute laundry and packing up my suitcase to get ready for the next leg of the journey — the Eurostar train from London to Paris, where I stay for three days. I’ve never done train travel before so it is most exciting. And I have to say a huge thank you to my friends in London who put up with me coming and going from their flat, and who fed me immense amounts of really delicious food and probably too much wine. Staying with someone is infinitely better than just staying in a hotel and I hope they will come visit us in Dubai.