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  1. My 1st bit of real content I hope you enjoy. Day 1 - the journey and Norwich. Today is not really boaty and a bit trainy but may serve as a very rough guide to those venturing to Norwich perhaps by boat. My adventure starts at about 0905 on Thursday the 13th April. With my day sack and trolly case I board the 473 bus to Plaistow station, where I can catch the tube to Liverpool Street. I’d hastily arranged an earlier meeting with my partner in crime (PIC) the night before to grab a breakfast at the Hamiliton Hall Wetherspoons next to the station. Breakfast and cider was consumed before we boarded the 1130 to Norwich. This is the 1st time I’ve ventured beyond Stratford on this train line and I must say it was a lovely train journey. Crossing the Stour estuary was particularly nice, bringing back a memory of a child hood visit to Mistley Place Park animal centre while holidaying in Dovercourt. I also caught site of the ornate door to the Manningtree Station Buffet which was, I understand, legendary among East London local authority planners during the 1990s as a favoured special occasion hostelry. After all this excitement I manage to relieve the buffet car of a couple of cans of Ghost Ship and gin and tonics for reasonable fee helping us to relax into the holiday as the train veered almost dead north through the arable lands and market towns of Suffolk toward Norfolk and ultimately the broads. In no time at all the train was pulling past Carrow Road and Norwich was upon us. We alighted and made our way to the Premiere Inn across Foundry Bridge stopping to gawp at the cruisers moored at the yacht station. I was excited to see the place having seen it on several of The Captains Blogs adding to the anticipation of plans afoot to visit the southern broads in June. This was my 1st albeit mild hint of boating on the broads for 2017. Once the bags were dumped it was 2pm and time to be off out into the city to explore, and what a city it is. Drawing comparisons as one does from other great cities; I would say in a sentence it has the vitality of London with the character of Edinburgh. I enjoyed the sandstone quality of the buildings which was refreshing from white lime facades of Central London. The market was bustling and the shopping areas had quaint independent shops in Brightonesque “laines” leading to modern glass meccas of capitalism. The gothic churches are in immaculate condition and the castle dominates with a tell take circular route around the walls. After an hour or so wandering, refreshment was sought in the form of buy one get one free cocktails in Turtle Bay. (Caribbean chain restaurant a fav lunch spot of mine) The cocktails are premixed but shaken to order and the sitting at the bar chatting to the staff and fellow patrons gave us the feeling that Norwich was on the up and the residents were proud to call it home. Rum and Gin based cocktails done, it was time to find some peregrines unfortunately the Hawk and Owl trust gazebo was packed away when we arrived, however I was rewarded with a falcon wheeling in the sunlight generally worrying pigeons. The cathedral it’s self was stunning. The spire rising to a point that fair boggles the mind when one considers the technology available in 1480. With the evening approaching and a chilly easterly wind building it was time to seek some warmth making our way down Prince of Wales Road we stopped for a libation (we like a drink) in the Compleat Angler, taking in the last of the sunshine on the relatively sheltered terrace. Once the sun set we walked up to the Prince of Wales for a round or 2 on the quiz machine before heading (£1 up) to The Lawyer on Wensum Street which is where thoughts turned to food and we indulged in a very passable Indian in the Spice Lounge. That really concludes day 1, don’t worry I will actually take over a boat on Day 2.
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