BEGIN February 2017 | Corina's Corner

Nottingham

2.28.2017


We took the East Midlands Train from Manchester to Nottingham. The ride was about an hour and forty five minutes and went through some really pretty fields, farms, and hills. Upon arriving in Nottingham we walked to our hotel, the luxurious Holiday Inn, and then rested a bit and got ready to head out for dinner. We wanted to walk to dinner via the Nottingham Castle, Robin Hood Statue and the Old Market Square.

From the second we hopped off the train I was amazed by the charm of this cute city. It had a different feel than London or Manchester. We could tell that Nottingham was more like the country/suburbs than Manchester. It seemed like the lifestyle there would more closely match our lifestyle at home, than the big cities would. It seemed like every corner of this little town was completely charming. Everywhere I looked I saw something terribly cute, and couldn't help but exclaim, "Jordan! Look how cute everything is! I can't even stand it!"

One especially charming part of town was the Old Market Square. Since you're reading my blog you know I'm a picture taker. I take pride in my images and always try to capture things so I can really remember what I was doing/where I was...etc. This little town square, I'm sorry to admit, was hard to capture. You'll see lots of photos below, but I couldn't really figure out how to capture in a photo the FEELINGS I had while being there. I really loved that little town square. We were welcomed from a few blocks away by the sight of the ferris wheel, which I proclaimed immediately that we absolutely had to ride. So that was our first stop. Besides the ferris wheel, another thing I loved about that town square was the variety of people we saw. Within about 15 minutes I saw two grandmas being pushed in wheelchairs, lots of children running around, teenagers skateboarding, lots of families walking about, so many charming shops and restaurants it seemed like perfection, all within the backdrop of the beautiful old buildings and ferris wheel. Ah! So perfect.

We went to dinner that first night at a place I had seen on a buzzfeed article I think. (You know the type, 15 places to go in Nottingham that are awesome...or something like that) It was called Pitcher and Piano and I was drawn to it because it mentioned online that it was an old church turned pub. It was incredible (beside the depressing fact that in our day and age a beautiful church is now better attended as a bar). The dinner was great and the beautiful stained glass windows were the perfect addition to our evening in this charming city.

After dinner we walked up and down streets exploring a bit, although most of the stores were closed. At 6pm. That was a little surprising to us, but we didn't mind since we were mostly wandering. Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at the grocery store, Sainsbury Local, and bought a pint of ice cream because we wanted a little treat.

The next morning we had plans to head to the University and take a look at its surroundings. We didn't have a particular place in mind for breakfast and figured we could find something on the way. We stumbled upon The Crusty Cob which had a sign out front for it's specialty cob with bacon, eggs, and sausage. So we walked in and after feeling overwhelmed for a bit, unsure if we should order a bap or a cob (still don't quite know the difference) we saw an order being made and pointed to it and said we wanted the same one. Some how there was a miss communication (even though WE WERE ALL SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE... how does this happen?) and the lady thought we wanted 2 instead of 1. These things were HUGE. Please see the pictures below. It was a HUGE roll (cob) with an egg, sausage and ham. We could have easily shared. It was one of those really funny travel moments and we laughed about it for days.

The University of Nottingham campus was cool. It was SO spread out. When we were planning our trip I was surprised that they didn't offer a campus tour, but now I understand why. Because it would take about 6 hours to sufficiently tour. We did get shown around the Engineering faculty (what we would call a "college" they call a "faculty") and got to peek in a few of the labs. The additive manufacturing lab (3D printing) was quite impressive, and they were really excited to show us the lab where they work on projects for Airbus and Rolls Royce even though they couldn't show is anything except walls and a locked door saying that you need security clearance to enter. We also took the hop-on bus up to the Jubilee Campus where most of the business school is located and where the new Engineering building is being built. We ate lunch at the campus cafeteria on the Jubilee Campus and then decided to walk back to the University Park Campus for another look (and to see how long it takes to walk between the two campuses, we had heard mixed reviews, 12 minutes vs. 20 minutes).

On our way back we walked through some very charming neighborhoods and passed a sign for the Wollaton Hall, which I was pretty sure was the Batman House. So on a whim we ventured in. My instincts were correct and it was indeed Wayne Manor from Dark Knight Rises (I had seen it mentioned online but didn't know where it was located or really remember the exact name of the house, so it was fun that we stumbled upon it). We walked through the hall (it's a free museum) and explored the grounds for about an hour and a half. There were lots of families and people enjoying the grounds, and I couldn't help but imagine taking our girls back there and watching them run around and enjoy a picnic as a family.

After our little detour we were headed back to the University Park Campus. We stopped by the student union building and then walked around the lake, which had some beautiful swans swimming around. We took the tram from the University back to the Old Market Square and got some freshly made donuts and steamed milk and took a bit of a rest while we people watched and enjoyed some free wifi.

When we were finally hungry we had some dinner at a little brick oven pizza place, Wildwood. It was delicious. At the end of the night, back at our hotel I finally found a sketchy website to watch the newest episode of This is Us, since the NBC website wouldn't play it in the UK. (We also learned that Netflix works but has a different library of shows, and Hulu doesn't work at all)

The next morning we checked out of the hotel and headed to breakfast with all of our stuff. We went to Delilah, which I had seen on a list of the top 50 breakfast spots in the UK. It did not disappoint. I had eggs benedict and Jordan had french toast. Both with lots of Crispy Italian Pancetta. From there, we went to the White Rabbit tea and cake shop. I would have liked to sit down but we didn't have time so we opted for some cakes to-do. Jordan got a piece of apple-pie cake and I got a fruit scone. The shop itself was just about as cute as the city it was in. I was dying over the flag buntings they had hanging from the ceiling and the adorable wall paper.

Right by the train station was our last stop, Hopkinson, another place I had read about online. This was the coolest vintage/antique store. (I think I had actually confused Affleck's in Manchester with this store both of which were 4 stories with stuff upon stuff upon stuff) I really enjoyed this store. Especially all of their old maps and Union Jack flags.

From there, we walked right into the train station (literally 25 yards away) and took another East Midlands train into London.



Here are the Nottingham links I found particularly interesting: Why now's the time to visit Nottingham, 15 Things Everyone Must Do in Nottingham, and I just loved this cute little map.

Manchester

2.25.2017


We took a rather spontaneous trip to England last week. I say spontaneous because we bought the plane tickets 1 week before we left. It was possibly the craziest thing we've ever done. We decided to do it because the flights on Norwegian Air are ridiculously cheap. We flew out of Las Vegas, and the seats on their 787 Dreamliner were much better than I was expecting them to be (more legroom). It wasn't complete torture like I was imagining a non-first class 10 hour flight might be (since we were sooooo lucky last summer when we got to fly first class to London).

We did have a bit of a scare on our way to the airport. I had forgotten that my passport is from my Jerusalem days many moons ago, before I got married, and has my name as Corina Cox, and we booked the ticket under Corina Sorensen. I'm glad that we figured out the problem before we were standing in front of the border patrol officer, but unfortunately we had to pay big bucks ($120!) to have my name changed on the ticket. After that little hiccup things were smooth sailing flying.

We flew into London Gatwick and took the Gatwick Express to the Victoria train station. From there we hustled to the Euston train station to catch the Virgin Train to Manchester. I was DEAD tired on the train ride. I tried really hard to stay awake (to fight the jetlag) but ended up sleeping for about half of the 2 hour ride. Upon arriving in Manchester (on Valentine's Day), we went and checked into our hotel (the lovely Manchester City Center Holiday Inn Express) and then figured out how to get to the Trafford Center. I had read that the Trafford Center was a great place to eat. The Trafford Center is a HUGE mall, and the food court which has at least 40 different restaurants (not just to-go style places but actual restaurants) is divided into different themed cuisines. So there was a cajun section, an Asian section, American, etc... We decided to eat at a Thai buffet, and it was a quite delicious Valentine's Day dinner. After eating and wandering the mall a bit we headed across the street to the Asda Walmart Super Center, which we wandered for a while and then headed back to the bus stop to go back to the hotel. Both on the bus ride there and back we drove passed Old Trafford, where Manchester United plays.

The next morning we woke up, enjoyed some toast, eggs, sausage, and beans from the continental breakfast at our hotel and then headed to see the Town Hall and a few other sites in that area. The buildings in Manchester were unreal. They were so ornate and old and huge. We wandered around and saw the Town Hall, the Manchester Cathedral (with newly restored pipe organ), walked passed the National Football Museum (and played some soccer outside with an old man), went to a cool store, Oklahoma, in the Northern Quarter (where we bought some presents for the girls), St. Ann's Square, and most importantly stumbled upon the best Cath Kidston store (best because it was 3 stories and had a HUGE sale room!) where I just had to buy a new purse.

We grabbed lunch at a little Mexican type place, Changos Burrito Bar, on Oxford Road near our hotel. We got a combo meal because it said that it included a burrito, a drink, and nachos. The nachos ended up just being chips though. Those English need a little lesson about what nachos are. After lunch we headed to the University for a tour, which turned into us spending 5 hours on campus. The tour started with a little presentation about the uni (as they call them over there), and had a little Q&A with some current students. They also took us all around the main part of campus and told us about some of the more predominant buildings. After the tour finished we went and explored the more northern buildings on campus and even got to see some of the engineering labs. While we were exploring around campus we also saw the cool LDS YSA building and talked to some sister missionaries inside. I truly love that stepping into a building like that halfway around the world can feel the exact same way as it does at home.

For dinner we headed back up to the Northern Quarter. We ate at Trof, which was quite tasty. Jordan got a really yummy burger and chips and I got some chicken and beans. After dinner we grabbed a milkshake at Archies and it was honestly the best milkshake I've ever had in my life. We got the Princess Pia Mia, which had Kinder Bueno, Oreos, fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream and a Wafer Straw. DELICIOUS!

The next morning we packed up our bags, had some more eggs and beans for breakfast and then checked out of our hotel. We left our bags there and headed back to the Northern Quarter to check out Afflecks. I had seen this store mentioned on a few different Manchester "Must Do" lists so I wanted to take a look. It was a crazy store, not quite my favorite kind of store, but very interesting none the less. I had read that it was a really eclectic store with something for everyone. It ended up being like the largest (4 stories) Spencers/Hot Topic type store and believe it or not, those are just not my stores. After Afflecks we went back to grab our bags from the hotel and then to the train station to head to Nottingham.



^^We felt like no matter where we were in town (not really) we could see our hotel, even from the train station.

Just for fun, here are some of the links I liked with information about visiting Manchester: Top Things To Do in Manchester, A Guide to Manchester, The Best 24 Hours in Manchester, and The Manchester Bucket List.
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