The fine city of Norwich.

A city I never thought I would visit, and love.

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Some of the best things in life come when you least expect it. The same goes for travelling. Sometimes some of the best places may not be listed on a Lonely Planet guide – you just happen to chance upon it while being lost on your way to somewhere and voila! you couldn’t stop talking about it to anyone who would care to listen.

But if I keep relying on that philosophy in life, I would never have discovered Norwich, a city in Norfolk, of which one travel journalist has labeled to be “on the way to nowhere”.

It sounds harsh, but there is some truth to it. Norwich is located in East Anglia, that little bump in the east of England. It is not easily accessible from any major cities, and there is nothing but barren land between London and the place. Moreover, train prices in Norfolk are generally more expensive than the rest of the kingdom, which only further discouraged people from visiting the place.

So my decision to visit Norwich had to be completely deliberate (there is no other way I would have ended up there otherwise) although it did take me almost a year to board that Greater Anglia train from Liverpool Street.

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The Greater Anglia train, with a cheeky Telegraph advertisement.

I never doubted that Norwich was going to be lovely, but the comments by some people about the place kind of got to me…

“What is there in Norwich?“, “Why would you go there?”, “I mean Norwich is lovely, but why?” and a few more things along the line.

… that when I got off the train, I was wary and wanted to take the next train back. I was even hiding behind a pillar at the station, trying to hide from my host but he somehow still managed to find me.

And it was a good thing he did, since I proceeded to have one of the best weekends I have had in a long time.

I fell in love with the city right at the first stop, an area at the outskirt of the Mousehold Heath. It was a hill overlooking the whole of Norwich, and I took to calling it the “Prison Hill” since it was located right across the street from the HM Prison Norwich.

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The city of Norwich.
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The said prison.

It was wise of him to bring me here since I love hills with a view.

Apart from the stunning view, there is something else to be said about the prison: a lovely cafe called Cafe Britannia located at the former Britannia Barracks, which is now part of the prison. It served affordable brunch (and yummy-looking desserts) that I wished I got to eat more. But the most amazing thing about the cafe (apart from its cosy atmosphere and good food) was that they employ offenders. I couldn’t remember a much better feeling than eating a cheese scone and drinking tea with a great company while contributing to a good cause.

Continue reading “The fine city of Norwich.”

A blast from the past: 2009 travel memories.

As I have mentioned in passing several times, earlier this month I moved out of the flat I have been staying here in Singapore for the past eight years.

A lot of people warned me that I would hate moving – it’s troublesome, dirty and tiring. While it was definitely not my idea of absolute fun, I found it pretty entertaining. Having stayed put in a place means I collected a lot of memories, as well as mountains of junk and forgotten things. The junk made me question my decision making ability (why would I ever think of buying those things?) while finding the forgotten things felt a bit like treasure hunting.

I will save you from the gory details of what junk I found in my house. Instead I will just show you the sole most important finding through it all:

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Continue reading “A blast from the past: 2009 travel memories.”

Lost and found photos from Europe (and Taylor Swift).

Yesterday felt like a day of second chances. When my brother announced a few months ago that his laptop got stolen along with his camera SD card which contained pictures from my family’s Europe trip last summer, I was pretty bummed. I spent weeks after that trying to get over it and trying not to think of what pictures in there that I would never see again. Of course, the more I tried, the more I would remember what were in there.

So when my brother told me yesterday that apparently his SD card had not been lost with his computer, I was thrilled beyond words. After an unbelievably long week for so many different reasons, my spirit was considerably lifted up.

I have then decided to take the initiative to back up all these photos into a few different places because really, how often do you get second chances?

Well as it turned out, you may get second chances twice in a day! Just a few hours before this happy discovery, my friend managed to get us tickets to Taylor Swift’s Red Tour in Singapore – a concert that had been sold out the first day the tickets were on sale and because we did not sit and wait in front of our computer to purchase them, we did not get our hands on them. However, since her sold out concert in Bangkok is cancelled due to the political situation there, the organiser had decided to hold another one in Singapore and voila! the tickets were miraculously available again. We snatched them up in no time and I am going to see Taylor Swift live in Singapore on 9th of June!!!

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Anyway, I have digressed. What I really want to show you through this post are some photos from my brother’s camera that I’m glad could see the daylight again.

So let’s start with my photo looking naturally lost at Copenhagen Central Station. I guess this is how I look most of the time, with my close-to-nonexistent sense of direction.

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Bearing in mind that this was probably my 50th time there.

Continue reading “Lost and found photos from Europe (and Taylor Swift).”