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…