Norfolk, United Kingdom

Norfolk

Norwich, or more accurately the Norfolk area, was one of the places we were more excited to visit during our UK tour, the main reason was Margo, who is not only family, but also one of the most fun and interesting people out there.

Margo welcomed us at the Diss train station and brought us back to her home, a charming house in the little village of East Harling in Norfolk. After dropping off our bags and drinking some very English tea we ventured to Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature. This little-big city had lots of English charm, which was on full display during Margo’s very own city walking tour, which included strolling down some very cute streets, including Elm Hill, a historic cobbled lane with buildings dating back to medieval times, until we arrived at our first stop, the Norwich Cathedral. The Cathedral was huge and had some a very impressive architecture, including some beautiful and intricate ceilings and stained glass windows. Our next stop was one of my favorites, the Norwich market. This market is the largest six-days-a-week, open-air market in England and has colourful stalls that house all the shops full of all sorts of things. After the market we stopped at The Royal Arcade, a very charming shopping mall that houses not only the world famous Colman’s mustard shop, but also Macarons & More by Tim Kinnaird, the winner of Master Chef and also the creator of one of the best brownies I have tried in my life, which happened to be our dessert that night.  After buying our brownies we walked about some more and then headed back to East Harling, grabbed a beer at a riverside pub and then picked up fish & chips for dinner (oh how very British!). After some delicious dinner, an even better dessert (the brownie), and a superb conversation we called it a night just after midnight.

For our second day we visited beautiful Cambridge. Just to make sure we did not forgot we were in the UK, we had some grey skies and a bit of rain that intermittently accompanied us throughout the day. The city is so picturesque, with countless bicycles both parked and moving along every single street, its many cafés (where else would the modern student study?), and all the wonderful, buildings of higher education. We wandered about Cambridge while Margo pointed out all of the beautiful buildings of the various, world-famous colleges (no one is allowed inside unless you are a student or have a special permit of course), and as we got closer to the River Cam, which flows through Cambridge, we were greeted by more and more students trying to sell us on punting tours (the same idea as Venetian gondolas but Cambridge-style) down the Cam. There were even cows roaming in the public parks (I was a big fan of this, except for the giant piles of poop on the sidewalks that we had to watch out for); and we followed the less traveled walking paths to take must-have photos of King’s College Chapel from the back. After getting my fill of photographs, we headed back to East Harling, not without making a pit stop at the grocery store where Greg and I picked up the supplies needed to make some Mexican meatballs for our lovely host.

Our third day was simply awesome. After we first visited a car boot sale for fun (who would have thought that people actually sold stuff right out of the backs of their cars), Margo took us to heaven on earth, the World Horse Welfare’s Hall Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre. This is the UK’s largest horse rescue and rehoming charity, and they are absolutely fabulous, working every day so that every horse is treated with respect, compassion and understanding. Hall Farm houses and rehabilitates around 100 horses and let me tell you that the horses have an absolutely beautiful setup, with large open green fields where they can run around with their friends and enjoy life while they wait to be adopted. I absolutely loved this place and enjoyed every moment of walking through the fields, petting beautiful horses and taking many photos of these beautiful creatures. After visiting the farm we decided to continue our animal-filled day and visit the Dog Trust where we met some very cute puppies that obviously put a big smile on my face. Visiting all those animals and doing all that smiling made us all very hungry, so Margo took us out for some surprisingly tasty and authentic Chinese food.

For our final two days with Margo we headed to London, which is less than a two-hour train ride away from East Harling, as it was a no-brainer to visit that big, crazy city with a fabulous, local tour guide. Stay tuned for our adventures in London with Margo!

-Valentina

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