July 6, 2011 Comments Off
Things might cool down at night near the riverfront, but apparently our solid brick and stone hotel retained it’s heat pretty well. We might not have been able to sleep well, but the owl that lived next to our window gave us something to listen to while awake.
We still got up early, as a free breakfast was a free breakfast. There was a full selection of continental breakfast items, and a Full English Breakfast as well if you wanted it. I did, and ate some of Yulia’s as well. It too me two cups of coffee to realize that I had forgotten to wear shoes downstairs, while everyone else seemed to dress sharp for breakfast. They were giving my some funy looks.
Screw ‘em – They’re lucky I even had pants.
After dressing we headed out for our next York cat. This was working out to be a great city tour, we would find a cat, shop around, grab some espresso, and go for the next cat. We hit the whole center of town this way. On our way around, Yulia found some nice sunglasses shopping, and Sasha had some baby geese run up to feed from her hand and jump up on her. Too cute.
We walked around the bank and cut over to York Castle. We walked up the mott to the castle and enjoyed the view. We really weren’t up to pay to go into yet another castle at this point, but we saw ice cream across the street and made a beeline over. It was really rich, fantastic ice cream, and reminded me that England hadn’t fallen into the trap that the S had of replacing all food with tasteless, fat-free replacements that doubled up the sugar so you wouldn’t notice the extra salt and sawdust used to puff it up. Bastards.
We wend back across the center of town, past the birthplace of Guy Faulkes, and went to York Minster to see the tour. As it turned out, there was a funeral at the Mister that day, so we had to wait for that to finish to go inside, and most of the tours were closed. We were able to walk about the interior, which was massive. I would have to compare it to Notre Dame in scale, with a series of smaller prayer areas inside the size of most normal chapels. The artwork was beautiful, and we wished we could have taken a full tour, but that just wasn’t going to happen.
We left the Minster, and were seriously overheating. We went back to the center alley streets for more shade, and found courtyard cafe to hide in for a bit. Here, we were served the best Pimm’s cocktail yet. This had so much fruit in it, it was almost a drinking salad. I decided that that made it healthy, and ordered a whole pitcher. The short rest did good, and we went back up past Minster to find out last cat. After finding it, the heat was getting to us again, and we went straight back to the Hotel.
An afternoon nap was welcome. Despite being hard to sleep, it was nice to have the heat after some dodgy weather up North. the reports also showed that we were going to get clouds later in the week, so we decided just to enjoy this while we had it.
Once we woke, we went back to the center for dinner, and to find the last architectural oddity on our list, which was a red devil carving on one of the walls, there are interesting carvings al over the city, and this is one of the more famous. We found it, then found a French Cafe chain to have dinner at.
York was a great city. We easily could have spent more time here. We were very glad to have changed our plans.
July 6, 2011 Comments Off
We had a long drive ahead of us today. We were going from Glasgow down to York, and that was a 5+ hour drive. We had packed up most of the way the night before, But the Fast and the Furious the night before kept us up for too much of the night. We were pretty slow moving in the morning. We made what food we had left for breakfast, dropped our keys off at the interior office, and headed out of town.
We made amazing time heading to The South. the roads weren’t as scenic as they were driving through Wales, but even when they dropped to a single lane in each direction, they remained good and fast. We Folowed the GPS into York, and were winding among small streets and city walls in no time. Our hotel was just two blocks off from the pedestrian city center, which meant we were *inside* the old city walls. In most European cities, this is just a metaphorical comment, usually with some street, named something creative like “Wall Street” marking where the walls once stood.
In York however, this isn’t a theoretical discussion. The walls are all still standing, as are the main three gates. There are a few large gaps on main roads in, but otherwise you can actually still walk the top of the defensive wall all the way around the city. Bring a couple of loads of bricks from Home Depot and you would have the whole thing back in full operation. The tower gates even still have their portcullis’s, though they may need some WD-40.
The hotel was not too small, and very clean. Once we were settled in, we went to the lobby, and checked out the flyers for things to do locally. We found one that talked about the York history of architectural cat statues. Apparently York has had buildings put up statues of cats for luck since the time of the plague, apparently to scare off rats. the ones up currently are modern, and most from a single architect who loved the practice. The flyer gave us clues on where to look, and we decided to make this a project for the city. As the cats were scattered around the whole city, it would make for an effective tour.
The city center is just as beautiful as Bath, though completely different architecture. We walked in the evening through the skinny old streets, where the upper floors of the houses on either side extend wider with each added floor, almost touching on top. Yulia was going crazy here, she loved the place. We definitely made the right choice to come here instead of the Castle in Darlington.
We found a couple cats right off, wandered a bit, then settled in an alley cafe for some drinks and food. Prices were very good, which surprised us as we have been expecting things to get more expensive as we get closer to London, and even though this was a tourist center, it was really reasonable. We chased away a few smokers from the tables through pure shame, then continued our cat hunt. Part of our walk led s across the top of one of the sections of city wall. It was in near perfect condition, and the view was amazing. After finding a few more cats, we headed back towards the hotel to clean up a bit.
We headed back out after a short while and made our way to another section of city wall. We walked along the outside of the wall, and ended up along the river walk, heading back to the center. We passed by the river locks used for boats heading in and out of the canals, and kept in towards the center, finding an outdoor pub on the riverfront. We sat for a quick meal of wings and a couple of Pimms. It was cheap and good. and as the sun was going down and starting to cool off, thankfully quick. We headed back to the hotel, and were glad to get in an extra half day in York before out tour day in the morning. We were up for getting some rest.
The night had it’s own plans…