Sleeping Beauty

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DSC_0713Happy Easter, everyone. Our wishes arrive late because we took a couple of days off to relax in the Norfolk Broads for canoeing, cycling, walking and chilling out over a good meal.

While the weather wasn’t as good as we had hoped, it certainly was much better than we feared, and we could enjoy all these activities while mostly staying dry, and with only moderate frost bite on fingers, cheeks and toes.

I have always liked the Broads. It’s just so nice to have water everywhere, and given that the area is predominately flat (or flat-ish, as any cyclist will quickly discover), any view is also full of sky, blue if you’re lucky, or leaden otherwise. It’s quite a sight.

Not so much of a sight is the local gastronomy though. I guess we just didn’t discover the highlights, but since we were staying right in the middle of one of the touristic hot-spots, Wroxham, I think the state of the local gastronomy draws a clear picture: several Fish & Chip shops, and a very large McDonald’s. A decent Thai restaurant and an equally decent Indian curry house. Some more take-away places, and two hotel pubs offering Sunday Carvery all day, every day, and two other restaurants. All are either take-away places, or restaurant with varying degrees of aspiration but a delivery that might please an early 1970s customer in terms of menu, attitude, decor – everything except the prices, which were definitely up-to-date.

You’d want to shake the Norfolk tourism officials and entrepreneurs awake, really hard. It’s such a waste!

Here’s one of England’s prime tourist locations, well within the London catchment area for short and long stays. It has everything you’d want: the rural setting, the coast, the relatively stable weather of England’s south-east, water, wildlife, nature, even a bit of culture and history here and there.

You’d want to shake the Norfolk sleepy heads awake and tell them to take advantage of their surroundings, offering waterside cafes and restaurants, and to go after those sitting in their self-catering cottages with local farmers’ markets, artisan produce, a local fish monger and a butcher selling local rare breed pork and beef. A local micro brewery doesn’t seem a far-fetched idea (here’s at least one), and a posh river-side high tea wouldn’t go amiss either.

But no. It’s Tesco (or Roys, who seems to own Norfolk), it’s McDonalds, its Fish and Chip take-away shops. It’s frustrating.


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