Norwich; the city of stories

Welcome to my first ever blog post my loves. I am quite excited about this I can’t lie.

This post is not only going to be my first blog post but also an introduction to me and my story.

I am currently in Norwich, the city of stories, because after returning to the UK after a 4 year backpacking adventure around the world, I took a huge gamble and decided to study law. I started my studies in July 2019 and here I am, 6 months later having just finished my first law exam…

… it went well – I hope!

As you have probably already established, my passions in life are travel, writing and a good cup of coffee.

Strangers Coffee Company, Norwich, United Kingdom

To be honest with you, it isn’t so much the coffee that I love, although it does help, it’s the atmosphere of a well thought out coffee shop that does it for me. A space to relax, create, catch up with loved ones and just watch the world go by.

So what’s the plan for my blog?

The plan guys, is to not really plan all that much…

… I am a big believer in life happening to you whilst you are planning something else. When I was 18 my plan was to be married and have two children by the time I was 25. Well, here I am, 25, unmarried, although in a loving committed relationship, no children and dreaming of the future.

Life has been kinda difficult for my partner, Alex, and I since we returned to the UK. We spent 2015 – 2019 travelling around some of the most beautiful countries in the world and then we came home to our old lives, living with parent’s again, I began studying again and, the worst part of it all, the boring old routine. It’s not like we don’t want to be here, it is just quite an adjustment that’s all.

That being said, we are immensely grateful for the support we received we initially got home. We were lucky to have a roof over our heads and we both had full time jobs waiting for us.

We are now saving for an investment property, not really a home per say but a place for us to call home until we can afford our “dream” home. It is another exciting chapter in our lives and all this hard work will be worth it in the end!

Turning to the city in the title of this post…

Upon walking around this city, which lies just 1 hour 20 minutes from my hometown, I have seen the words “Norwich, the city of stories” pasted on the side of a few buildings. So, with that in mind, I’ll tell you the “tourist” story of my time in Norwich.

View over Norwich from the Castle

Alex spent the afternoon with me yesterday and we took a look around Chapelfield Shopping Centre. It was just your average shopping mall if I’m totally honest – would make a good day out though if that is your cup of tea!

I’m a keen voucher/bargain hunter, especially now I’m a student, and I had an 02 priority for Byron Burgers (delish!) so we had that for tea before Alex headed home.

Last night, I stayed in the Abbey Guest House, Stracey Road, Norwich. It was very homely, run by a couple and well situated next to the train station (and my exam centre). I paid a very fair price of £48 for the night in my own room with a double bed and an en-suite. In the morning they provided me with a wonderful breakfast. You can have cereal, toast and a full english breakfast if you wish – all included in the price of the room! I booked on booking.com but you can also book through them directly on their website; Abbey Guest House

After my exam, I decided to have a wander around Norwich before my train home, it was cold but the sun was shining. I started off at Norwich Castle built some time between 1066 – 1087 – a good spot for any history buffs! It was unfortunately closed with it being winter.

Norwich Castle

From here I took a wander around Castle Quarter another shopping mall with a variety of shops along with some awesome community “hangouts”. I saw 3 units which were designated to the public, one was the “Community Lounge” which had some deck chairs, desks and bean bags everybody to chill out on. Another was the “Puzzle Room” a free space to go and complete puzzles (how awesome is that?). The last one was the “Honesty Library”, a unit with comfy sofas, beanbags, desks and most importantly a good selection of books to share. I haven’t seen many spaces like these so a big well done to Castle Quarter for thinking outside of the box!

Another passion of mine is Markets. I just can’t help myself. It isn’t like I always want to buy something, sometimes I simply just enjoy wandering around taking in the sights and smells. We have been to some real good markets in various places around the world, I can’t wait to tell you about them.

Anyway, Norwich Markets; the winner of Britain’s best outdoor market in 2019 and I have to say it was pretty cool. The stalls are kind of like little beach huts all lined up in rows. There were countless food stalls and the smells were divine. Whether you fancy noodles, falafel or fish and chips, Norwich market’s has you covered!

Britain’s Best Large Outdoor Market 2019 – Norwich Markets
Fresh Noodle Bar, Norwich Markets

Inside you will also find nail salons, craft stalls, gift stalls, bag stalls, ,meat and cheese stalls and a gorgeous herb and spice stall. You really can find everything and anything your heart could wish for.

All of the spices!
Craft stall – Norwich Markets
The ‘everything’ stall…

I wandered the cobbled streets to find the “Norwich Lanes”. I had done my research and found out where I could get the best cup of coffee, along with that amazing atmosphere I mentioned earlier.

Strangers Coffee Company est. 2009

Strangers Coffee Company, Pottergate, Norwich

Strangers Coffee Company got it’s name from the ‘nick name’ of the area in which it is situated. In 1564, the city authorities invited Protestant refugees from the Spanish Netherlands to settle in Norwich to boost the City’s textile industry. They were followed by many more and soon they accounted for over a third of the city’s population. They became known as the ‘Strangers’.

The Strangers Coffee Company has a sit in coffee shop as well as a takeaway shop in the city’s centre. I bagged myself a sweet seat by the window with a little work area just for me. The shop is decorated with beautiful live green hanging plants which stand out alongside the black framed windows and door. Whilst I sat there, many people came and went, a real hot spot for lunch in the city.

Inside Strangers Coffee Company

I went for a Latte and a huge slice of their Red Velvet cake – yum! The coffee itself was smooth and creamy, just how I like it, served in a deep mug marked with the letter ‘S’, which I thought was a nice touch. Of course, there are other options such as the brie and chilli jam or the sun dried tomato and pesto ciabattas. There is also a good selection of delicious cakes.

There is also art work for sale around the coffee shop which adds a creative feel. Strangers is bustling with life. If I lived in Norwich i’d be very tempted to come visit everyday so I will definitely be back again! Thanks for the coffee and cake guys. Check them out on instagram @strangers coffee or at their website on the link above.

Alchemista Coffee Potions

ALchemista, St Gregory’s Alley, Norwich

Around the corner, in St Gregory’s Alley, Alchemista is situated next to the church. By this point, I needed a decaf coffee as this was my 2nd coffee of the day and I am trying to reduce my caffeine intake this year! The Norwich Lanes website states that “Their journey to find the best coffee experience started in Australia and took them across SE Asia, sampling coffee in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Ho Chi Min, Chiangmai, Phuket and Bangkok.”

The guys at Alchemista had a good selection of big crusty rolls filled with things like bacon and brie and again cakes that look totally amazing. The drink’s list is extensive with a speciality section which includes their “greatest work”, the Opus Magnum, a coffee with equal parts espresso and hot silky milk, finished with another ristretto shot.

Alchemista not only serves coffee and sandwiches, it also offers cocktail potions such as the “Hex, a bewitching take on the classic Espresso Martini – Vodka, Kahlúa and espresso, finished with our house made Cold Brew”. Sounds very interesting, perfect for a night with the girls!

The vibe at Alchemista is very ‘Steampunk’ and has steam-powered machinery decor around the coffee shop. The lighting follows that same steam-powered theme. It has a very trendy atmosphere. An old yet new feel.

Even the bathroom was picture worthy!

I’m on the train home now, so that’s a wrap on my first ever post and a wrap for this little adventure in Norwich.

If you have any questions about any of the places or businesses mentioned in this post, feel free to drop a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading my loves, I wonder where my next blog post will find me?

Check back soon to find out!

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