Durham, EnglandMarch 13 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 11 °C
Durham was a wonderfully unexpected kickoff to my travels. This is where I began, admittedly not alone. I traveled to Durham with a friend, met two new friends, and came out of this visit inspired and excited to see where my travels would bring me. These new friends also introduced me to Find Penguins!
Highlighted here are some of my favorite moments and discoveries from out around Durham, including a vintage shop. My friend and I love finding thrift shops in new towns and cities. I much prefer returning home with an old t-shirt or piece of jewelry from a local thrift shop than a brand new, probably over priced, run of the mill printed piece of apparel from a souvenir shop! You pay a fraction of the price, and often retain a better memory of the place you got it from because of its uniqueness!
Our hosts brought us to one of their favorite restaurants, a Lebanese restaurant called "Lebaneat". They had been raving about the baba ganoush and with great reason! They both have several dietary restrictions but knew this was a place that they could find a delicious and accommodating meal. My friend and I eat everything under the sun, and we were equally blown away by the food. Truly a contender for top Lebanese food experience - and I've had many!
We also found a gin bar called “Tin of Sardines”, named for their claim to be “Durham’s smallest bar”. And it was indeed! Just one tiny room, the “bar” part was arranged on one wall of the room, so there was in fact no bar at all, just a shelf where the bartender could concoct the drinks. There were benches built into the opposite wall, and a bathroom in the back. A fantastic use of a space and an interesting concept for a bar! Because of the space limitations, the bartenders are inevitably part of your conversation and experience. Not intrusively so, just enough to discover what kind of drink you like or are in the mood for and then NAIL IT. Sidenote: I’ve worked in cocktail bars as a server for four years now, and thus have developed an interest and appreciation for unique bar designs. I learned here that gin bars in the UK are typically identified by an extensive selection of gins, as well as tonics. I had no idea that so many different flavors and styles of tonic existed! In the US, I've pretty much written tonic off as a gin mixer, opting for soda water instead. Partially to do with the quinine content, but also because the taste doesn't appeal to me and tends to take away from the flavor of the gin. But this place re-opened my mind to the classic G&T. Definitely going to research what other tonic options we have at home, aside from the standard soda brands. This bar left us raving about our drinks (one of us slightly more passionately than the others...comparing her drink to a long lost love that she would be dreaming about for nights to come...).
Other than those spots, we ate at a couple of different pubs, got fish and chips for takeaway, explored the shops in Market Hall, and just got lost in the tiny alleyways around town that serve as shortcuts from one street to another. This was fun because we almost never knew where we would end up! Great way to learn the layout of the town.
Special thanks to our star tour guide, a remarkable 14 year old with a brain and creative spark like I’ve never seen before. We were so lucky to have her guidance, company, conversation, and adventurous spirit in this little castle town!Read more