July 15th, 2007

britain07

It's Pronounced Norritch

If not for friends living in Norwich, we would have had no reason to go there.

It’s not really near any of the other “must-see” spots, like London, Stratford, York, or Edinburgh. It’s off to the right side, in a bulge of the country, about twenty-five miles from the east coast.

But Norwich has everything! (That is apparently the city’s motto … but it’s true.)

Not only does it have plenty of ancient history – which you want when you’re visiting Britain – it’s full of modern shops and restaurants and museums. You can visit the 900-year-old Norman castle and the gorgeous cathedral, then spend a couple of hours in the fantastic new children’s museum, Origins, where you can lift flaps and push buttons and learn all kinds of cool things about the region’s history.

Norwich has everything … except the crowds and traffic and tourists that you will find in more heavily-touristed towns. I don’t know about you, but when I’m an American tourist … I prefer not to be awash in other American tourists. Too many of us in one place is overpowering.

The broad Norfolk accent accompanies you like a friendly guide as you navigate the city. It’s a writer’s delight, puzzling and intricate. (See my attempt at the vernacular and its accompanying translation at the end of this entry.)

But what made Norwich a must-see stop for us was the presence of my old friends R & M, and their two daughters.

This was what greeted us when we arrived at R & M’s house in Norwich:

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