After I finished school last year, I've always wanted to spend some time working and travelling around the UK.
But sometimes it's more difficult than you think to find a hostel which takes volunteers. Back in Germany, I spent ages in front of my laptop, writing E-mails to differnt hostels in the UK, but most of the time didn't even get an answer. That is why I was all the more happy to hear that I could volunteer at the Igloo Hostel in Nottingham.
Many people ask me, why I came especially to Nottingham and didn't go to bigger places like London etc. But I want to use my time in the UK to explore smaller places, which maybe don't come to somebody's mind in the first place when thinking about the UK, because I believe there is so much more to discover in this country. And Nottingham is great!
The work here at the hostel is quite easy, only four hours a day, which leaves a lot of freetime to discover the city and the sourroundings. I just completed my second week here and I've already seen a lot of beautiful places and met so many friendly people.
Besides visiting Nottingham Castle and Wollaton Hall, I spend almost one whole day in the "Galleries of Justice" Museum and "City of Caves", which was very fascinating and a good opportunity to learn a lot about Great Britian's and Nottingham's history. While walking through the ancient caves and passageways, the tour guide of the "City of Caves" told us a lot about how the inhabitants of Nottingham lived and worked in those sandstone caves from the 11th century on. The caves where used even until the 1940's, mostly recunstructed as air raid shelters during the second world war.
My favourite place I've visited so far is Newstead Abbey. Newstead Abbey is the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron and a really beautiful big house with a lovely garden. To go there I took the train (Newstead is only to stops away from Nottingham) and then had to walk there for about 30 minutes. Even though (or just because) the weather was really bad (it was cold and it rained all the time; there was even some snow on the streets) I enjoyed the walk towards Newstead Abbey a lot. It was kind of adventurous to make my way through the flooded and muddy streets; and the advantage: I had the garden all for my own, because no one wanted to take a stroll at this weather except for me.
But there are also smaller places in Nottingham like bars or cafes, which are nice to visit. I enjoyed a Tuesday evening at The Bodega Social Bar tryintg to answer the challenging questions of the weekly Music Quiz and listened to funny and fascinating stories told by the "Storytellers of Nottingham" at the Malt Cross.
So there is a lot to do in Nottingham and I can't wait to explore even more in the four weeks that are left of my volunteer experience at the Igloo Hostel.