Sunday, October 25, 2009

York Vacation.

We were up early on Thursday, October 22. We had nearly everything packed, but there's always those last minute things, plus the things you can't pack until you get ready the day of travel. That being said, we were ready to go over an hour before our taxi was scheduled to pick us up. Finally it was time. The taxi arrived and we were off for the train station.

We made excellent time. I guess we missed the morning commuters by about a half an hour. We had the 9:04 train to Sheffield, then a transfer and we were headed to York. During my adult life, I've only traveled by train here in England. And the last time was last October when I came to visit Nid. We did this same journey then as well, only this time Nid wasn't being wheeled around in wheelchairs. Changing trains was easy, and we arrived in York at around 11:30.

Our friend Luan was waiting for us on the platform, and we set off to get some lunch. We headed towards Luan's home in Brayton, just outside York, and on the way stopped at the Designer Outlets. We ate lunch at McDonalds in the food court, then hit a couple of chocolate stores on the way out. At lunch I saw a mother with a baby in a pushchair. She was all done up with poofy hair and a "hip" little hat on her head. And 4+ inch stiletto heeled boots. Even funnier, she was with two guys in baggy jeans and oversized t-shirts. Since I've lived here in England, I have seen a lot of crazy things. Mostly in the way of "fashion." Half of all women wear high heels to do errands. Half wear ballet flats. Neither are good for your foot health. There are a few people that wear shoes that make sense, but I have to say, I've never seen worse shoes in my life than what I've seen here. And I've never seen crazier outfits, either. I decided to make a sub-album of my photos be bad shoe choices. But then I saw a stupid hat, and then a whole outfit, and then some wacko hair, so it's now going to be a bad-fashion album.

Anyway, we left the mall and went to Luan's apartment. We spent the afternoon catching up and just hanging out. She had to leave to go to the doctor, so we were alone for a bit until her boyfriend Ian came home. We chatted until Luan got home. Then we ordered dinner. We watched Coyote Ugly and had Chinese and wine (whiskey for the blokes). We listened to music after and had a great time. We went to bed not too late, as Luan had work the next day and we wanted to get a semi early start on our tour of York.

Friday morning Nid and I woke up to the sounds of breakfast cooking. Ian made us a Full English Breakfast of sausages, tomatoes, eggs, toast, mushrooms, and bacon. Our plates were overflowing, as were our tummies after, but it was incredible! The last time I had a Full English Breakfast was last year in York at the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at. Ian drove us into town and dropped us off for a day of exploring.

We started off with a walk past Avondale Guest House, the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at last year. Then we walked along the river to the Rowntree Park. It was very beautiful there. There was this lovely path when we left the park and walked along the river. The leaves had all turned orange and red and were falling to the ground. It was actually a lot like parts of Virginia. It was just beautiful. Along the river, we stopped at the Kings Arms Pub for a Pint and a Half. There was a marker inside showing how high inside the Pub the river had gotten during various floods over the years. Quite a few people came and went while we sat there. Including a man and his dog. Yep. Right there at the bar, a dog.

After our drink, we walked through town to Clifford's Tower. We climbed the tower and took in the amazing sights of the city. Right across the street from the Tower was The Olive Tree, the restaurant that we ate at last year. The table we sat at was one row from the window, next to the wall, and we had a view of the Tower that night. It was really nice to have come full circle with this visit.

After Clifford's Tower, we walked through The Shambles, a quaint shopping area and got a bite to eat at a cafeteria style restaurant built inside of an old church. We walked past York Minster, a giant hulk of a church, to the Wall. York was originally a walled city, and nearly two miles of the wall exists to this day. We walked a lot of that two miles, I'd guess. The views were beautiful, the architecture in some places facinating. It was very enjoyable. When we were done with our circuit, we ended up coming full circle again and were back at the river. We went into the Lowther Pub, which was about two buildings down from the Kings Arms. Nid got a Pint, and we had a nice rest. We had already talked to Luan, and she was going to pick us up when she got off work at Clifford's Tower. It was just a few minutes walk away, so stayed there until it was time to go.

When we arrived back at Luan's, we were exhausted. I took a nap for awhile, and Nid woke me up when he and Ian went out for supplies. When they got back, we ordered dinner from a pizza place. I got a calzone. I haven't had one in AGES and it was so nice! There were drinks all around, but I didn't have any, as my motion sickness pills that I have to take for car rides had been making me sleepy, and I didn't want to konk out before the end of the night. We watched Premonition and then listened to music until bed time.

Saturday morning we slept in a little and had pizza left overs for breakfast. Ian had to go to work, so Luan, Nid and I hung around at the house. It was raining, so we were glad that we got all of our sight seeing done the day before. Nid bonded with Luan's bird Tilda and we listened to music until it was time to leave for the station. Our plan was to get a coffee/tea at the station with Luan until it was time to go, but traffic was a nightmare, and there wasn't enough time, so she dropped us off and we said our goodbyes at the car. We got a late lunch at Burger King and went to our platform to wait. Our train pulled away from York at 4:25. Our transfer on the way back was in Derby, and there was only a half hour left when we got there. I was really glad to be back in Leicester. We got a taxi and headed home, arriving just before 7pm.

It was an exhausting few days (in part due to the motion sickness pills sedating me), but it was a wonderful time! We are so lucky to have such a great friend as Luan to invite us up for a getaway. It was well needed and very much enjoyed.

My full photo album is up at my pictures site.


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