December 24-26, 2000 & January 3-4, 2001
Norfolk is an area of England you deliberately have to steer towards. It's not on the way to anywhere else and that is reflected in the towns to a large extent. The capital city, Norwich, is what you would expect from a maturing medieval city without the heavy commercial tourism. It's discrete and not overly boastful. Things remain because the townspeople thought they would be nice to keep. This doesn't make it stand out and sparkle, but it seems just the way the locals want it.
What we found here was a different pub culture. Local people were friendly to mingle... Or not friendly, but mucked with strangers. The idea is they were not afraid to get close, different than the city pubs of London.
The night time television programs were dominated by the Christmas Eve choirs in Cambridge while the churches and the pubs kept their doors open late.
On Christmas Day we were off to...
Out in the countryside to visit my cousin and her family whom I haven't seen for years made for a great Christmas and follow up visit. What a special treat it is to have relatives abroad while travelling and there could be no better home to be in with Soozie's fine cooking and a house named Christmas Cottage.
I enjoyed spending time with the cousin-family. Looking at the social calendar for the week, this place is known for good parties by friends as there seems to be overnight guests all Christmas week! Not too much to say except that this was a perfect cosy visit and I'm glad to have these folks to call family.
I later returned a third time for Easter with my Japanese girlfriend, Ritsuko, showing off my cool European relatives!
Phil took us for a quick tour around the area. Old windmills remain in various states of disrepair from the land reclamation of long ago (see notes in Ely). These were later replace by steam engine pumps which have now been replace by electrical ones. Apparently, this whole area would be an extension of the sea if the power was out for less than a week.
Man made canals, once the major means of transport, now offer week-long canal boat holiday packages. But there's not much time now, so it's back to London on the first visit and onto York during the second..