The Saints Through A Stranger's Eyes
As usually happens with every unknown city I set foot into, I spent my first hours in Ipswich lost. I wonder why I didn’t turn on the GPS on my phone that day: it would have surely spared my feet some pain. However, I don’t regret it; if I had followed a map, it would have sent me the quickest way to the town centre, which – I now know - doesn’t include The Saints. I wouldn’t have taken the path I took and St. Peter’s Street wouldn’t have been my first taste of Ipswich’s charm.
Some weeks later and I have now had enough time to explore the Saints area - almost as if it’s a museum. If you think carefully, the comparison is not that far from reality: both St. Peter’s Street and St. Nicholas Street are full of art & heritage, albeit in a subtle way. Like a shy person, these streets will only show you how interesting they are if you give them time and invest some of yours on them. In my case, it didn’t take long to realise how different the Saints area is compared to the town centre.
These streets are the three aortas to the town’s heart: people come and go through them, carrying bags from the more common stores located at the centre in one hand, and coffee cups from Nero or Costa in the other. Do many of them look twice at Applaud, do the majority walk past Cromwells and Merchant House without a second look – something quite outrageous to me.
St. Nicholas and St. Peter’s streets are the hub. There you’ll find cosy coffee shops, with the warm welcoming sight of close friends you haven’t seen for a while. You will discover the most unique pieces of décor you didn’t even know you’ve always wanted: fat ceramic owls, the most original bookends, alien-looking chandeliers and even cute little flowerpots. These streets have the perfect gift for anyone you know in their many artisan and boutique shops. There is also plenty of choice for special dinners that will take you to another country by means of a delicious dish.
I don’t know everything about Ipswich yet. What I do know is: if these streets suddenly incarnated people, they would be art collectors with quirky minds. They would be mysterious, colourful people who would dress up in boutique clothes and dazzle any stranger’s eyes.