I’ll never, ever say I’m a country sort of girl. I grew up in London and I feel weird without the hustle and bustle of a city. I like background sound, constant moving and frankly, I love getting irrationally pissed off at strangers. When I’m in London, I’m a woman on a misson: A to B is my only thought most of the time and I’ve been told I walk incredibly fast. How could I ever settle in the quiet of The Middle of Nowhere?
But then there’s East Anglia. You know, that awkward little part sticking out to the East of the UK that leaves a blank expression smeared on faces when it’s mentioned. I moved to Norwich when I was 18 to begin my life at University of East Anglia. My dad grew up in Norfolk, so I felt there was a good connection, and I felt comfortable enough to some city roots as Norwich is still a city.
It’s been a year since I graduated and moved out, but I still love Norwich and on my recent trip to Cambridge and St Neots, I’ve reminisced on my love for this section of the country.
Obviously, East Anglia is a lot slower than London. But it’s not the kind of quiet I freak out at (well, some parts admittedly would be if I stayed there too long). Somehow when I’m sitting there, sun on my face and the peace of a river and a cider with my friends, I can stop rushing and breathe. It’s incredibly relaxing for a Londoner.
I don’t know if it’s the down to earth feel or the connection I already have with East Anglia, but it feels like a part of the country that’s so secluded yet simultaneously still got a grip on what’s going on in the rest of the UK/world.
Perhaps most importantly, Cambridge and Norwich (as probably the two main hubs of the region) have their own vibe/atmosphere – something that I think is so important… at least for my style of travelling and the places I fall in love with. Norwich is small but I still haven’t discovered all the nooks and crannies with quite frankly some really individual, quirky places to go.
These vibes somehow stretch out like some earthquake or soundwave into its surrounding parts. So in some way it then feels like a unified force of East Anglia-ness. Or Norwich-ness. Or Cambridge-ness… you get the idea.
So, as much as a little part of me would like to keep this area in the foggy corners of the majority’s minds, how about next time you consider a staycation, spare a thought for the charming East Anglia. Go punting and college-spotting in Cambridge; go to a St Neots riverside pub; explore cute cafes and pubs in Norwich; take a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads (Bowie even mentions them in this song, how’s that for cool?).
Do you have a part of your home country that you have a particular fondness for?