Saturday, November 15, 2014

Norwich and the Village of Old Catton

 This post originally had over 250 photos - HAH!! I deleted more than half and I'm sure there's still twice as many photos than one post should hold so as I go along I'll probably delete a few more.
(If you'd like to see my deletions just let me know and I'll email them all to you!! HAH!)

I could do more posts with fewer photos I suppose, but I have other things I want to get to in this planning my next trip!! Ideas are brewing!

Last night I got together with a few hiking friends to watch the movie "The Way" with Martin Sheen, the story about the father whose son dies on the first day of his pilgrimage on the Camino. The father decides to walk the rest of the Camino for his son dispersing his ashes along the way.  It is an amazing story about the importance of relationships and I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it.

One of our group has walked the Camino and two are walking it next year. I'm considering it for 2016, the year I turn 60. I say considering because I'm still unsure. If I can save enough $$ and work out all the details to my satisfaction then I'll go.  The current version of my plan involves walking from Southampton to Plymouth in England, taking the ferry to Santander, Spain, and walking the rest of the Northern Way and the Original Way to Santiago de Compostela.  Here's a link to a map!

I'd like to try doing the English portion with just my backpack and booking places to stay myself. This way if I've had enough by the time I get to Plymouth I can end my journey there. It gives me an OUT if I need it.

OK, on to Norwich!

This photo was taken from the double decker bus that took me into the city - it's not the greatest shot but I like it. I found Norwich and area to be "moody" and this photo captures that I think.

England's version of Dollarama!
I had to take a photo of Specsavers - I LOVE THEIR COMMERCIALS ON TV!!  SO FUNNY!! I'll post one after this post.

Norwich has a population of about 130,000 and has all the great British shops like Marks and Spencer, Topshop etc. So I got to do a little Christmas shopping:) I found it to be full of hustle and bustle what with an outdoor market and of course several tourist attractions.

I felt sorry for these little guys-they have a lot to hold up!

This fellow fares a bit better and was given hand holds to balance himself as he peers out over the street.

A glimpse of the marekt - I'll explore it more tomorrow. Today I'm on a mission. The first thing I did was to go into WHSmith to buy a map of the city. I had also written down instructions from google maps on how to get to the village of Old Catton so I felt pretty confident that I'd be able to find my way there and back. My map skills are pretty good now I think!

It was a pleasant day, mild, the sky mostly clear. I didn't wear my hiking boots as I thought my feet could use a break and I was in a city not out on the trail, so I wore a pair of running shoes that I had brought with me. I liked the name of this shop!! So PUNK!

I felt so AT HOME in Norwich, a little ironic since I grew up in Norwich, Ontario (where we pronounce the W in Norwich but here they say Norich). People looked familiar to me - I saw a man who looked like my dad and another one who looked like my brother, Gord. Not so strange I guess when you consider I have ancestors from the area of Old Catton (mom's side) and also about 30 minutes south of Norwich in Dicklesburgh (dad's side). So there was a feeling of being at HOME.

Aslan's Den!! (Cafe) Kazi would love it here! Oh how she cried when Aslan "died"!

Here's another reason I'll have to revisit Norwich - I didn't get a chance to explore the castle. It doesn't look 948 years old does it? But that's when it was begun, by William the Conqueror!

Love love love the ancient architecture - most of which is designated as heritage sites and therefore kept up. Lots of red brick buildings.

I am walking through the city centre headed north through the winding streets to find the Village of Old Catton where some ancestors of my mother's side of the family are from. It was a 2 mile walk.

The 315' spire of the Norwich Cathedral, the 2nd highest in England, was an excellent landmark for me, always leading me back to the City Centre.

I took so many pictures of the cathedral but on this day I just looked at the Ethelbert Gateway which was constructed in the 11th, 13th and 14 centuries.

I was absolutely....

...captivated by the carvings...

 ...from the INSIDE - every niche filled with figures...

...very Tudor...the hotel is called the Maid's Head Hotel...kind of ominous...

I love the haphazard building codes from medieval times...

A local saw me with my camera and told me to go down this alleyway to see this famous old house with original features intact - a great photo op!! Almost 500 years old!

Coming out of the alley I missed a step and fell (camera up to my eye of course!!) - a group of 3 adolescent schoolboys came running over to help me up with such concern I felt we must be related!!

A bit out of order somehow...the outer ramparts of the castle...

The River Wensum runs through Norwich with pleasing results! I was able to zoom in on the sign on the red brick building on the left...(see below)...

...and of course I had to go to the other side of the bridge to see what was there...

Throughout the city various ruins have been preserved like this one - dating back to the early 15th c.

I took numerous photos of the row houses as the repetition of features, such as the chimneys, make for great photos and I'm pretty certain my ancestors lived in a 2 up, 2 down, similar to what I live in now! Only without the mod cons!

I'm still trekking along to Old Catton and spot a curious round building...

...which turns out to be a pub called the Artichoke...

...more ruins of monastic origin...

 Look at the long long line of chimneys!!

I was getting hot and sweaty from tramping along and came across this inviting church yard so took the opportunity to sit, have a drink and a snack. All of the noise and traffic melted away...

This happy fellow was on a house so zoomed in for a shot as I walked by...

...according to my map I'm almost there...!

I'm looking for the entrance into Catton Park - it should be right along here...'s the marker!!

Another oasis in the midst of the city! Old Catton used to be a village on its own but became a city suburb over the centuries.

I enjoyed my walk through the park - it reminded me of my walks out in the country.

Cool - a Catton bench!

I entered the park at the bottom left hand side and exited at the big red dot. See the spot of green on the upper right hand side marked "deer park?"

I don't think they're "deer"!!

A local school has a mosaic of the Old Catton sign! One of the theories of how the name "Catton" came about.
"The name of Catton most likely means farmstead (or Tun) of a man called Catta, a local tribal leader. Another possible explanation was the presence of wild cats in the area - now depicted on the village sign. The settlement was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086." Wikipedia

One of those magical photos - you don't realize how well it turned out til you see it later!

 My mother was a genealogist and researched the Catton side of her family in great depth. She had a photocopy of this village sign and I wasn't leaving til I found it! When I looked at the park map I saw the "church" marked so headed in that direction after watching the horses for a bit.


I was so excited!! And here's the church - St. Margaret's. I have to come back here again too as there are family records in the church :) :) (found out after my return to Canada:(:(

St. Margaret's dates back to William the Conqueror, well obviously not the newer part at the back!

The facing stone on the church (and several other buildings I saw in Norwich was really interesting (at least to me!) I'd like to know what it is!

I toured the church, the graveyard and the streets surrounding the church and found another CAT!

And then I started to head back to the City Centre - another 2 mile walk! Did you know there were palm trees on the east coast of England??

I didn't need my map to help me find my way back. I remembered the street names and all the streets were well marked and even pointed me in the right direction!!
I'll be back with the rest of the day in Norwich tomorrow - that's enough for today!!

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