I've decided to re-post my very first hiking saga for you, since most of you will have missed this, due to the fact I didn't have that many readers back in the day...it comes in installments, so keep your eyes peeled.
I've wanted to take a sentimental journey to Norwich for years.
But you know how it is: no time, or no money, or no time and money.
Finally, this April, time, money, opportunity and my son all happened to coincide.
I booked a ferry trip to Harwich, a train ticket to everywhere (I'll explain
about this later) and packed lightly.
We arrived in Harwich after an uneventful night, and found a delighted ticket
seller at Harwich station. He was only too happy to stamp our BritRail passes
and told us to swop trains and platforms at Manningtree.
Norwich used to be a haunt of mine when I was in my teens and early twenties,
and I hadn't been back there since. My memories of this Norfolk city are pleasant.
The Close, the ancient Cathedral grounds, is rated amongst the most beautiful
and un-spoilt of England. So I felt a happy anticipation when we left the station
and walked along the river walk to the Cathedral.
Some hours, and a visit to the Keep and Sheringham Beach later,
we needed to find ourselves a bed for the night. The first four B&B's had
no vacancies. We walked uphill and found a hotel which did B&B. It looked a
bit shabby, but clean, and (quite important) it had two single rooms for us for
the price of a double, and they even threw in breakfast for free.
We decided to walk back to the station to get ourselves some sandwiches for
dinner, and when we had almost reached our hotel, we passed a group of young
men coming from that direction. When they had passed us, we looked back.
Did one of them really wear a Pamper on his head? Yes.
I tried to explain the quaint practice of 'Stag Night' to my son. We had a laugh
about it. Silly Englishmen.
Our day had started at 5 am, so we were ready for bed at 10 pm. We had only
just wished each other a good night when an almighty banging and shouting
started up next door. Our two single rooms were the bookends to the Stag Boy's
room, you could say. He needed a lot of Dutch courage. The shouting, screaming,
singing, counting 'one, two, three, bottoms up', and eventually the howling fights
and violent throwing up lasted until 4 am. We got 10 minutes sleep, then a fight
started under our window.
We needed to be on a bus to Peterborough at 9.40, so we needed to get up early
Somehow, Norwich didn't live up to its memories.