Saturday, June 27, 2009

More of the East of England

I've been on the move! It's wonderful and also vaguely unfortunate, as I really should be working on my thesis and not galavanting around the countryside. Ah well. The warm weather gives me no choice, really.

A couple weeks ago I visited the city of Colchester, which is not only the central city in the county of Essex, but also the oldest recorded town in England. (It was also the site of the uprising of Boudica, who is apparently very well-known. I am parenthesizing this because I had no idea who she was, and I'm still not clear enough on her or her legacy to feel like I'm qualified to explain to others. She apparently revolted against the Romans back in the first century A.D. People around here are shocked that I've never heard of her. Have you heard of her, dear reader? I honestly want to know.)

We spent quite a bit of time roaming the streets of Colchester, looking at their various churches and landmarks, but we spent the majority of our time there in the Colchester Castle Museum. It was interactive, and some of the activities were really very curious.

Slave for sale?

Oh. Sorry, I'm not interested in putting that collar on. Thanks.

Colchester also had a pretty intense witch-hunting period, and the Castle had part of the original jail preserved, so that visitors could get spooked, basically. Due to a hilarious narration playing from hidden speakers detailing the trial of one suspected witch, I didn't find it all that creepy, but it had a nice musty smell and it was sufficiently deep and dark to qualify as a dungeon that I would prefer to leave as I please. My favorite part of the museum, however, was this door:

Castle Door / Puzzle

I don't know what was behind the door, but I imagined that it was some kind of Alice in Wonderland riddle, in which the young heroine needs to put the door together before she can open it and get to the other side.

Colchester seemed a bit more urban than Norwich; I think it must be because it's halfway between here and London, so their proximity to the city probably makes a difference. A total of two crazy street-people talked to us while we were there, and I found it sort of refreshing; it was like being back in the Bay Area! I had sort of forgotten what it was like to deal with people who aren't constantly following the rules. Oh, and speaking of people who don't customarily follow the rules:

Iggy Pop / insurance

That's right; that's Iggy Pop. Iggy Pop! Doing an insurance campaign! The first time I saw one of these billboards I couldn't believe my eyes. I guess punk rock is responsible now. Or maybe not! - maybe they're crashing their cars a lot, and that's why they need insurance! That could be it too.

My second adventure in the East of England was taking a boat out on the Broads in Wroxham. The Broads are wetlands, a national park full of little lakes formed by the river as it makes its way out to the North Sea. It was extraordinarily beautiful out there, and we were able to rent the boat for four whole hours. It was amazing. It was a welcome break from the small world comprised of myself, my laptop, and my thesis. Even the sun came out to cooperate!

Riverside lighthouse.

It was lovely. There was an ice cream boat floating around, selling ice cream cones to anyone who wanted one, and there were kitschy riverboats and even strange old sailboats sailing down the river and through the Broads. For example:

"Southern Comfort"

Bridge Broad? Wroxham Broad?

There were Canada geese and swans, and some other strange birds standing by the side of the river that I didn't recognize, but that were awfully stately. Maybe I'll show you one, in hopes that you can name it for me:

What type of bird is this?

What is it?

And now, I can't help but get back to work. There are some fun things on the horizon, most obviously a trip to Paris coming up at the end of July; there are, however, little trips here and there that we'll take on mutual days off - well, I guess I have only days off, so I have to fight hard to structure them. In the meantime, wish me luck with my thesis, and good luck with any various summer heatwaves that may come your way.


Quinn said...

Nope, never heard of her.

silvergirl said...

First of all: an ice cream boat? Finally. What took someone so long to figure that one out, i'll never know.

and secondly: my sister was pretty into the story of Queen Boudica for awhile... she had somehow got her hands on a book about her and became quite impassioned about it all. But i had never heard of her before then.

third: you are having way too much fun, what with all of this gallivanting about. Good for you! You deserve it :) Have fun in Paris... they don't call it the City of Light for nothin'.

sq meals said...

okay, I'm feeling very unenlightened because I don't recognize anything...this lady or that bird. I have not traveled or read enough yet, I guess. but thank you for displaying all the beautiful photos of the Broads!