Nottingham… man man man, where do I start.

I apologise in advance for the little amount of pictures I took during my stay in Nottingham. I think I enjoyed it so much and actually lived in the moment, that taking photos didn’t even cross my mind. It has also been a weekend full of activities and fun, so let me tell you about it 🙂

Basically, I took a bus from Leeds to Nottingham and when I arrived, my host Ian was already waiting for me. I spotted him easily and he proposed getting coffee first. We went through some cute little streets and into some back alleys that I would normally never walk into, and arrived at this cute little coffee place “The Coffee House of Nottingham”. We ordered our coffees and went upstairs where there was a tiny seating area.

I had met Ian in Sheffield (when I was there for that festival, I met loads of awesome people that night) so I already knew we got along well. We chatted for a bit and drank our coffee, before going back into the city. We dropped off my heavy backpack into a kitchen of a bar (sounds a bit sketchy) and since Ian had an appointment in the city, I decided to check out the art gallery. My luck, the one that Ian recommended had just closed, so I ended up going to Nottingham Contemporary instead.

It was boring. There were some screens on which they played videos and that was cool and all, it just wasn’t as arty as I thought it would be. There were barely any paintings or arty art things, it were just videos. Not my cup of tea.

I headed back out and called my mom on my way to Nottingham Castle. When I arrived, I saw a Robin Hood sign so I walked over there to read it. This is when I started conversing with three strangers. I am not sure if they actually wanted to go to a pub, but I basically invited myself and they didn’t tell me off, so we went to England’s “oldest” pub: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Oldest between quotation marks, because apparently there are more pubs that claim to be the oldest in the country. Either way, they serve beer so I can’t complain.

We spent quite some time at that pub and our group slowly grew. There was an older guy laughing at whatever we were saying, so he joined us later on. There was also a super old guy selling seafood from a basket he carried around the streets of Nottingham. It sounds weird, it looks weird and it simply is weird, but this guy is awesome. Googling “Sea food man Nottingham” resulted into me now knowing this guy is known as “The Cockle Man” and is a true legend in Nottingham. Everyone on the Nottingham streets knows this guy and he even has his very own documentary now: The Cockle Man. Anyways, he sat down for a pint as well. The weather was absolutely lovely and I was blessed with great company.

Ian joined us when he was done and not long after that, we headed over to a whiskey bar called “Last Chance Saloon”. Don’t ask me why, this was not my idea. I don’t really drink Whiskey, but the guys were convinced they could get me something I liked. They were right. I got a delicious cocktail, maybe more than one, and after a bit the guys started ordering food. Their menu wasn’t printed, but the wifi code was displayed on an old fashioned video tape, that you could use to look up the menu online (sustainability yo!). I wasn’t all that hungry, but I still couldn’t help but try everything. I have to say that they serve the best pulled pork I have ever eaten. True deliciousness! I wish I had a photo of that, because it looks about as amazing as it tastes, but I don’t.

After that, Ian and I went to pick up my bag and drop it off at his house. This is when he offered me some of his home-brew moonshine and other disgusting stuff. Tip: don’t do it!

We got a few phone calls from the guys asking when we’d come, so we downed our drinks and headed back out to meet them. I feel like I should write a separate party blog or something, because the things we’ve done this weekend were just crazy! Anyways, we went to Rock-City, a nightclub in Nottingham where they actually have proper music. It was a lovely night and before we knew it, it was 3 am. Ian and I went home and chatted and drank a bit more and suddenly it was 5 am. This is when I kicked him out of the living room (my ‘bedroom’ for the next 3 nights) and went to sleep.

On Saturday we went for lunch at Pit & Pendulum and had some delicious (and cheap!) Food. Man that was good and I only paid 14,09 for the both of us (including drinks!). I don’t think you can get a proper meal for two for that money in Amsterdam (but maybe I haven’t tried hard enough).

After that, we went off to Riverside festival, a free yearly festival in Nottingham. I will write another blog about that on Friday, so keep your eyes peeled for that. After riverside festival, Ian had to work a gig, so we went to The Bath Inn, the venue for the night. The gig lasted for bloody ever and I was absolutely exhausted afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, it was really cool and great, but it was an acoustic set, so it did kind off put me to sleep. Instead of going out again, we went back home and off to bed (or well, I went back to the couch).

On Sunday, Ian took me to Wollaton Hall and Deer Park aka Batman’s house. What a beautiful place. Not only does the building (as seen on TV!!) look incredible, but also the whole area around it is taken care of wonderfully.

We (Ian) tried to pet some deer. Ian was terrified, but insisted on touching one. He succeeded, whereas I decided to keep my distance. I wasn’t really afraid of these animals, but I felt a bit sorry for them having to deal with tourists all day. Either way, we took some cool photos and walked around the beautiful park for a bit.

As it slowly grew busier, we decided to leave and go to Pagan pride, another (free) festival in town. This festival was very different from everything I know, so it was very interesting. The whole vibe was unusual. People dressed up either goth, hipster or something else odd and you could smell incense everywhere. We saw a cool band performing (more about this on Friday), they were really really good. Besides that, there wasn’t too much to it really. Not for me at least.

When we got back home, Ian had cooked some pulled pork. We listened to some music and then a few people started jamming in the living room. It was wonderful (I definitely had a music overdose that weekend!) a truly fantastic weekend. Thank you Ian, my amazing host & bless Couchsurfing for existing and making things like this possible.

The next day I got on a bus again, to…? Find out on Sunday!

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