Thanks for popping in.
We're back from our jaunt, what a good job we went when we did as the snow has now descended where once there was a spot of drizzle and some sunny days for mooching about. No we didn't go to Goa or some other such destination, we went to Norwich, just because we hadn't been there before. Norwich is in Norfolk in the East of England.
It turns out that there is a castle, two cathedrals, numerous churches, the River Wensum and the Norwich Lanes, all cobbly with wibbly wobbly buildings. Who knew?
We're starting with the castle, up there on the hill, an enormous cube caught in the golden sunlight as the sun was setting. Completed in 1121 by King Henry I, it was more of a palace than fortification. It's made of limestone, shipped in from France, although in the 1830's it was faced with Bath stone, keeping its original style of decoration. From the 14th Century it was used as a gaol and was converted to a museum in 1894. It looks quite different to any other castle I've seen.
Inside, the first thing I noticed were the enormous cheese scones in the cafe. Entering the Keep, made our eyebrows rise (a bit like the scones). What a huge, spectacular space. You can visit the garderobes (Norman toilets) - beware there are a couple of replica people inside, which made me jump.
Up the stairs on the gallery there are great views over the keep and displays and there is an animation showing how it might have been decorated back in the day. A study by Norman Connections is being carried out on the other Norman castles in South East Britain and France to explore common history and traditions and cultures, have a look at the link for more information.
Another great idea was the colourful light projection over the Bigod Arch showing what it might have looked like when new.
Away from the Keep, there is an excellent Museum with a myriad of different sections. You can learn about Boudica Queen of the Iceni Tribe in the late Iron Age with an animation plus wonder at the artefacts from that era. The Snettisham treasure hoard found in the late 1900s is particularly amazing with over 150 gold torcs, some of which are complete, from 70 BC. Not all of them are there as some are in the British Museum in London.
There are exhibits from Roman, Anglo Saxons, Vikings and Egyptian times - including some Mummies and then on to natural history, fine and decorative arts, in fact, there's lots to see.
I marvelled at these beautiful samplers and embroidery with their microscopic stitches.
Rene Magritte's work was also on display next to x rays of the paintings, revealing what was underneath.
Conveniently, the Castle Mall, a glasshouse shopping arcade with cafes, is tucked inconspicuously under the Castle's motte, linking the Castle under the road to the main shopping streets.
Cheerio - for now!