Trip Post #5: York

YorkThis is the second to last trip post; aren’t you so sad it’s almost over??

So. We took the train from London to York, checked into our hotel, and visited Clifford’s Tower, an old fortress-castle thing.

Clifford's Tower York
That’s Aunt Lyn waving to me from across the castle. We decided to take pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. We’re so cute.

The tower was on a big hill, and we looked down from the top and saw this older couple literally crawling up the hill. I believe they didn’t know that on the other side was the actual entrance with stairs. An elderly, disgruntled Jack and Jill. It was odd and amusing.

Next to the tower was a little traveling carnival (or just, like, three carnival rides).

Fair YorkSo we rode on the carousel!

Carousel York 2We got dinner at the Golden Fleece, York’s “most haunted” pub.

Golden Fleece York 2I included the building on the right to show how warped the old buildings were. Look how slope-y the floors are!

During dinner, we had a fun chat with some crusty old [tipsy] local guys.

After dinner, we walked around the city. I kept my eyes open for some of the cats on York’s Cat Trail, which is basically just little cat sculptures and images on the buildings around town, a la this one at the Golden Fleece:

Golden Fleece YorkSee the little white kitty exiting the window frame above the golden sheep?

We caught a bit of live traditional music coming from the over-crowded Last Drop Inn, but we were only there in time to hear one song before the musicians took a break. Thwarted again!

Last Drop Inn YorkOur first full day in York, we got breakfast at our hotel (a Hampton Inn), and visited The Shambles, which is a small street with a bunch of cute shops.

York 3We visited a fudge shop, where they tried to give me a sample. I explained that I don’t like fudge, and that I’m just picky, and the lady behind the counter said, “I think you mean you know what you like.” You know what? You’re right, fudge lady, I just know what I like! Harrumph!

Here’s a cute tea shop on the Shambles:

Hebden Tea York

We also visited Bowler, a vintage clothing store, and had THE best time looking at and trying on the cutest vintage and vintage-inspired clothing.

Bowler York 5

Bowler York 3We also wandered around an outdoor flea market, and had lunch at Betty’s Tea House.

Lunch Betty's York
Yummy tomato basil quiche at Betty’s.

It was pretty rainy, so we decided to stay indoors and checked out the National Rail Museum.

Railway Museum YorkThen we napped forever, apparently. I don’t remember that, but that’s what my notes say! Apparently it was a much needed nap.

We got dinner at a place called Nicholson’s Cross Keys. Many of the restaurants in York were named after objects/animals, and they all had images of their names on the outside- a remnant of when most people were illiterate.We had wanted to eat at a place called Old White Swan, but their oven had broken! What?!

We then caught a performance of Morris Dancers in a town square area.

On our last morning in York, we had a very tight schedule and lots of things to get done before catching our train, so it was a fun little challenge. After breakfast at the hotel, we stopped in at the Shambles again so I could pick up a gift for my mom at the tea shop, then we ran over to Bowler, the vintage store because our social media fans had seen our pictures of the dresses we tried on and convinced us to buy them!

But we didn’t know when the store opened and we had to make sure we caught our train. So we waited, practically pressing our noses to the locked front door until the saleswoman finally showed up. Poor girl was probably so annoyed with us for making her rush, but we explained our situation, and she was very nice, and it took us less than 5 minutes to get in and buy our dresses. And THEN we made the poor saleswoman take our picture. 🙂

Bowler York 7

And we high-tailed it to the train station for our last city: Edinburgh!

 

Trip Post #4: London

Phone Booth 1

I know it’s been forever since I actually went on this trip and then blogged about it, but I still really want to get it all down. I’ve just been so busy lately! But I’m on Thanksgiving break now, so I have time!

So we flew from Shannon, Ireland to London, and it was the greatest morning of smoothness. Everything went well, and we were just way too pleased by it. We got to the bus station early, the bus was on time (though the bus fare system was still incomprehensible), we got to the airport way early, got to select good seats, had a delicious leisurely brunch at the airport (chicken sandwich w/ fries and a salad as always), the ride was smooth and short (though holy cow those puddle jumper planes feel like something my 3 year old nephew assembled out of legos).

We arrived in London and were informed that the underground workers were on strike. Greeeeaat. So we took a train to the city and walked quite a ways to our hotel. However, the weather was finally gorgeous. We had the best weather of our trip in London. Low 70s and sunny. It felt like heaven. And though our walk was long, much of it was through Hyde Park, so it was fairly pleasant (aside from our luggage).

And we stopped halfway through for some ice cream:

London GelatoWe finally got to our hotel, the Intercontinental, because my aunt works in the hotel industry and gets special deals.

Here we are enjoying our luxury:

London HotelAfter a little rest in the hotel, we asked our super nice concierge where we could get a big bowl of spaghetti for dinner (because that’s what I wanted), and he recommended Prezzo, which became our favorite restaurant (it’s a chain over there, so every time we’d see one, we’d point it out and get excited).

Look at this perfect dinner:

Dinner PrezzoThat parmesan.

ANYway. We also checked out Shepherd’s Market, which is a cute little area near our hotel with lots of restaurants and pubs.

After dinner, we walked back into our hotel room, and as soon as I opened the door, I panicked and thought we had gotten the wrong room because the lights were on (but dimmed), and the tv was playing, so I thought someone else was in there! Turns out, the staff had just done the “turn down service” thing which I had apparently never before experienced. They also left little treats (fruit, bottled spring water, cookies). It was fun, but slightly unsettling. Also, the bathroom had a phone in it, and an adjustable speaker that plays the audio from the tv, so you won’t miss a thing!

The next day, we got a really heavy, greasy, authentic English breakfast at a deli called Piccolo.

English Breakfast Piccolo LondonWe took a hop on bus tour, with a cutie patootie guide named Gavin. After that, we napped at the hotel, and then did some site-seeing and took a river cruise.

London Bobbies

London Big Ben
Pretending Big Ben is too loud. We are hilarious
Tower of London
Tower of London
Tower Bridge London
Tower Bridge London
London Buildings
London Buildings: The Cheese Grater, The Gherkin, and The Walkie-Talkie
Eye London
The London Eye

We visited the bustling Picadilly Circus area (similar to New York’s Times Square), and got some more spaghetti (my craving wasn’t satisfied yet) at a place called Caffe Concerto, where we chatted with some Australian expats sitting next to us.

The next morning we had breakfast at Tyburn Pub, a place on the way to the train station (Paddington) so that I could head off for a day-trip to Bath while Aunt Lyn did some more site-seeing in London.

Bath was lovely, the weather was nice, and the town was cute. I arrived with a bunch of other travelers, who promptly hopped in line at the Roman Bath museum. I took one look at that long line, and waited it out by getting some lunch at a place called The Courtyard Cafe.

Courtyard BathThe cafe was across the way from Sally Lunn’s, which makes world famous buns.

Sally Lunn BathI went to Bath intending to get one, but when I got there, they just didn’t seem appealing to me, so I skipped them and went back to the museum, which no longer had a line!

Roman Bath 2

Roman Bath 1It’s apparently a natural hot springs which was in use during the time of the Roman Empire. Of course, it’s been preserved since then, but there are sections that are quite genuinely ancient-looking.

I wandered the town a bit, and came across a cute little flea market.

Bath Street

Bath

Flea Market BathI got another ice cream cone from Hyde Park on my way back from the train station, and Aunt Lyn and I headed over to Harrod’s, the most extravagant department store in the world. I don’t even know how they let us in.

We enjoyed the children’s clothing area, where we found girls’ dresses for only $2000.

This adorable girls’ headband was like $50. To be fair, it’s real fur. ick.

Harrods 2Most people there were actually shopping. Like, for stuff that they were going to buy. With their money. Who are these people??? We just had fun getting each other to guess just how crazy expensive the next item was.

Outside the store, someone had parked this golden Ferrari:

Harrods FerrariAll of the restaurants nearby were designed for oil barons, so we got dinner at our ol’ pal Prezzo again!

Prezzo London 2

Prezzo LondonOur last morning in London, we had breakfast at Sofra, a Mediterranean restaurant in Shepherd’s Market, and headed to the train station for York!

Breakfast Zofra's London