York and Leeds

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Before catching the train. Moving the one twin bed back into the other dorm room was one of our tasks before we left our dorm room on Reigo Street.

It certainly has been a good place stay, making our stay in Edinburgh more enjoyable. We are not far from the bus stop. Ken's Cabin Max suitcase has already had the handle break so their was an incident on the way to bus stop. In all fairness Cabin Max is sending a replacement bag to the place we are staying in York. Wow, was it windy and cold before we left Edinburgh, not pleasant.

The CabinMax bags are not working out.

The train ride was pleasant enough and we brought sandwiches and Doritos (usually I would never eat such a thing, sandwiches included). The country side was spectacular with glimpses of the ocean. We saw many fields of sheep, less so of cows (moozeum!). We did drive by a very hilly area planted in fir trees. That was not what we expected. We went by some enchanting towns (maybe cities), and villages such as, Duns- Grantshouse, Berwick-upon-Tweed, River Tweed, University of Durham, etc. and somewhere along our trip we left Scotland and entered England. In the United Kingdom they allow dogs on trains. We were fortunate enough to be entertained by a spritely, ten year old Westhightland, white Terrier. Adorable and sweet!

We saw Bedlington Terriers get off the bus once we were in York. It was raining in York when we arrived but it was somehow warmer. We were dragging our suitcases out in the Scotch mist (if that is what they call it here) feeling rather down from the gross weather and we saw geese on a road meridian. Then we saw these huge birds in the park, too. A lady was shooing them out of the road, it was a cute event for an introduction to York. York was obviously a very old city with red brick buildings with lots of character.

Our BnB awaited us. A lady of the bus was very friendly and so was the bus driver, friendliest we experienced so far. Between the two of them we got off at the correct spot for our BnB. Our hostess was friendly and the place was clean and tidy. Just what we needed a good clean, safe place to stay in York.

We were given directions to walk by the River Ouze to get into town.

We saw more Westies and other dogs being walked late in the afternoon. We managed to find a good place for a pint. At the pub an older fellow brought me over free tickets for a tourist attraction, the Minister, an old abbey. Don't know if we well actually be able to use the tickets. We told him we would go tomorrow and not waste the tickets. We are very impressed with York and all the old buildings, walls, towers and the wonderful garden.

Considering we just stepped off the bus this afternoon we have see lots. Can hardly wait to get back out and take in more of York.

Supper was a fairly highly, reasonably priced place for fish and chips. Beans or mushy peas, your choice.

Friday, June 19, 2015

We were able to eat breakfast in the kitchen/dining-room. Joanne was already at work as we got a late start to the day. I burnt the toast so Ken decided to open the back door for fresh air. Mistake! He could not get the door to align properly so that it could be locked. The whole interior of the house, including doors and windows have been renovated. it is quite wonderful but as in nearly all cases there are a few kinks to iron out. Finally after donning his jacket and shoes, while stepping outside he managed to lock the door.

Before we went out for an enjoyable day of touristing it up it was decided that we should book at least our next place to stay. First we needed to make a firm decision on where that should be. In decision has been our friend as of late, getting us no where. We weighed the pros and cons of going to Cambridge, Bristal, Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge then on the London. I must say that it has been unseasonably cold and cloudy as of late (almost the whole UK, Ireland experience). We would love to see the above list of places but we need sun and a good guarantee of it in the future. We really have to move on out of the UK and on to greener pastures, so to speak. It was decided unanimously that London should be our next destination, weekend dates or not. We would leave the UK on July 1. Ken found a double dorm room with an ensuite at a university in downtown London. He had tried for such a thing for the last few weeks and found nothing. We were so happy to finalize our accommodation plans for London, six nights - happy, happy, happy.

We went to the Minster as we had said we would. By the time we got there it was latish and we want to give it more time so we will return. Ken did not sleep well so was not up for much touristing so we just walked around the old town and looked in shops.

At lunch we went to a restaurant that had three floors but was fairly compact on each floor. It had a spirally type of staircase. Near supper Ken had the great idea of walking our to York University. It is not a very old University like some we have seen as it is out of old town on the river. We found an open cafeteria with both vegetarian and meat meals and had our supper.

On the way back I fell. I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, rather clutsey of me. I hurt my ribs as I usually do when I fall. In all we walked almost thirteen kilometres.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

We were able to meet one of the other guests and his young son. James was from Dublin visiting his son here in York. It is always interesting to have a conversation with someone from another country and get their perspective on things and on North America.

Once we were hungry we decided we'd better go off downtown and get lunch. We settled on a place similar to the Noodle Box chain on Vancouver Island. Wow, was it good. Different than the NB, less veggies but much more seafood and it was about the same price. You actually got more in the medium box than you would on Vancouver Island. Then we had time to look in a few shops. After lunch we also realized it had started raining. We're not afraid of a bit of rain, not us hail and hardy folks from the west coast of British Columbia. We walked to the farmers market, Shambles Market. Ken found great CDs. These CDs were of albums we had not heard of but by bands or musicians we certainly had heard of. Perhaps they were bootleg copies.

We decided to take a walk to the campground here in York. It is a UK Caravan campground. It felt like home to be back in a campground, we have camped so much. Mostly very small RV rigs and bigger type vans were parked. The campground was completely booked. Good thing we were not wanting to camp. It went into the very clean campground which had soap and hand dryers, along with hairdryers. It looked very upper end for a campground. That brand of campground is only available in Scotland and in England.

We walked on to Bishop Hills which is another part of York. it looked very similar to the downtown part of York but when we checked the menus it was quite a bit cheaper. We went for a pint in a nice pub. The sun had started to come out so we were able to sit outside. On the trellis above where we were sitting grapes grew and had little tiny grapes forming.

People appeared friendly.We decided to eat in this area and found a posh Thai restaurant. Mostly customers made reservations but that is not usually how we operate. Somehow they squeezed us in. The Pad Thai was extremely well done, one of the best we have ever had. 

We walked home in the sun. The whole day there were crowds of people milling about, even when it started raining. Once the sun came out the crowds increased as did the happiness level. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a sunny day tomorrow.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This is Father's Day! I am so lucky that my Dad is still alive and healthy at  87 years young. His friend, Fern, says that he is never sick. He never even gets colds or the flue. He is not as steady on his feet as he used to be and uses a cane. He is very much loved - Happy Father's Day to the Best Dad Ever!

The wonderful white lilies are starting to open down in the dining room here at Joanne's home. The scent is intoxicating. Lilies not only smell heavenly their look is so inspiring - got to make a lily piece again. This time I think white lilies should be the subject.

 I have to say, I was wishing for a warm, sunny day. It was cold, cloudy and windy but we went out anyway into the day. We had quite a walk planned, all the way the little restaurant Bicis Y Mas, Bikes and More. It is a vegetarian restaurant, actually lots of vegan foods, too. Ken and I each had the same thing, a veggie version of an English breakfast - two eggs, two pieces of toast, bubble and squeak - mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage, formed into a patties and fried, veggie sausages and a mushroom mix with tomatoes and spinach. Wow, was it good, I ate the whole thing. I would go back because it was so unique, plus they let dogs into the restaurant which I loved. We left after three, so eating kind of late.

We went to York City Walls, actually to one of the ancient gates, climbed the stairs and walked the wall. According to Wikipedia, York has been defended by walls since the Roman times. Substantial parts of the wall remain. This city has more intact, miles of walls than any other city in England. You can get a good view of the Minister, etc. from up on the walls.

When we come down into another part of the city after walking the wall we ended up by the York Museum. There was an ice cream stand on wheels, actually a trailer and its owner. The ice cream man or seller discovered Ken makes ice cream, too. He gave us samples - a very creamy full berry which was my favourite, a fruit sorbet type which was passion fruit and a banana ice cream. They were all great depending on your taste or preference for flavour. He and his amazing ice cream can be found in that spot often. He let us know that the museum was not that old compared to some buildings in York. It was from the early eighteen hundreds. Also, the bit of wall right by the museum is some of the oldest portion of wall that is till standing in York.

It was great to hear my Dad's voice when I talked to him today. He wanted to know all about our trip and what it was like over here. Wish he was over here with us.

Monday, June 22, 2015

We set our iPhone alarms so we could get up early. Why you ask? I wanted to get up early enough to be able to have coffee at coffee time, mid-morning.  Caffeine affects me quite adversely. Well, now I have a new aim for tomorrow because coffee time did not happened this morning. Ah, the life of a retired, traveling couple!

We did little today, really! It is cold here and being out and about is somewhat of a stretch. We got ourselves day passes on the bus. First of all we went and explored The Grand Hotel and Spa. They had wonderful couches and chairs which I would love to have similar in a future home. All we did there was walk around then talk to a couple of the people who work there. We found out that people from England go to Greece or Dubai as a place to warm up, like us North Americans go to Mexico for warmth. The girl that worked there knew of Mexico and one of her friends went there to get married. We wanted to do more exploring and went to an area that we had been to before in York - Bishop. Stores we wanted to check out had been closed so this was our chance. Then we took the bus on to another place in York - Acomb. We checked out some shops there, too. Ken found some CDs he wanted and I found a couple of clothing items. I am really sick of the few sweaters and few pants I am stuck wearing right now because of the extreme weather. Somehow I will manage until warmer weather comes our way. I have to be careful not to buy clothes just because I am so horribly sick of the few pieces I am relegated to right now.

We liked the food at the Wok and Go so we went back for lunch today. We did a fair amount of moving around on the bus because of the day passes.

York is such a city of wonderfully preserved old buildings no matter what part of the city you travel to. Also, this is such a good time of year to see gardens especially roses. They have the most beautiful, huge roses here in York.

We had made purchases. Two purchases were unique little finds for my Sister, Charlene. Can't say what they were, sorry. We had to come back to our B&B to drop them off. We took naps to refresh and went off to find supper. From the perch on my bed I could see that it had gotten windy, and was cloudy and maybe rainy. Those gray clouds had burst forth quite the showers earlier in the afternoon. Going out felt like torture because of the above mentioned weather - not nice. On our way to a place we picked out for supper, we found a closer East Indian restaurant. I was pleased to have found some place closer, that meant getting home quicker. All I want to do for the rest of the evening is snuggle under the covers and be warm. I will be so happy to be in warmth and sun again.

O'Neill's stores seem to be everywhere.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Leeds, UK

We took the back way by the River Ouse to the Train Station which is also where we caught the bus to Leeds, UK. The river walk begins by going through a park. Many cute dogs were walk or playing catch with their people. Several spritely Westies were on walks. One unusual one was sort of a yellow colour, almost like the fir of a stuffed animal. Yesterday we saw a Westie with grey, sort of rough fur. Very cute!

For our journey we chose the longer bus route as opposed to the shorter train ride. We knew the train would take us into more little towns and passed more farms. We saw many green fields of barley, young corn, fields of sheep and dairy cows. We saw lots of stone and brick farm houses. The houses are much closer to the road than what we have in western Canada. The only town we went through was Tadcaster. All these fields, the town and back. windy roads were worth the extra hour of travel.

When we first get off whatever our mode of transportation is and are thrown into a new place it feels a bit disorienting. Ken gets our his trusty iPhone to see where we are and where we are going. I picked out a top rated restaurant in Leeds to eat our lunch at. That is where we headed but headed through a wonderful and unique spot. We went to the huge market, Leeds Kirkgate Market. It is both indoors and outdoors. The indoor part in in a spectacular building with a glass ceiling with fancy iron work. It was so reminiscent of Mexico's markets, although they are usually in as fancy of quarters but usually are more compact with more unusual produce.

Once out on the street we could see Leeds is a city of many old, Victorian, brick buildings. We were snapping pictures like crazy while we were heading to the Leeds Corn Exchange Building. Back in the day that was likely what it was used for. Now this well adorned, Victorian building is home to cafes, restaurants and trendy shops including Humpit Hummus and Pita Bar where we ate lunch. This is a hip, Mediterranean bistro, vegetarian, too.

We did a bit of shopping after that. Ken wanted to go to the Apple Store, he went, it was busy, he left. It just was not worth the wait. We did a lot of wondering around, only in the downtown. We had coffee as an excuse to take a break and rest.

I ended up with extremely sore feet, yuck, I know but that is how my day ended and our trip to Leeds. I think I was just really fatigued and it just showed up in my feet. I don't know I know I need to rest. Let's see if tomorrow is sunny as it finally is now as I write this. Obviously I have not seen much sun lately if I am talking about seeing it. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I found it hard to really think that it would be warm and sunny outside after the weird, unseasonable weather we have had. It was, however, just that - warm and sunny. It was a wonderfully enjoyable day to be out and about.

We had to get a bus pass today to ride around, not walk, because my foot was bothering me a great deal. The cold and constant walking on pavement has made my foot become inflamed and have very sharp pain (only when I walk). I know what is wrong with it and one thing I can do is try Ibuprofen and I will.

First order of business was to mail some receipts, etc. to my Sister and her little gifts which I hope she likes. When the bus driver lets us out we happened to get off at the York Railway Museum which has come highly recommended. We wondered around there briefly as Ken had too much to carry and was not that comfortable. Off we went to catch another bus to take us to the Quilt Museum and Gallery - York. I went in mostly to find out any contemporary art quilt  information in and around London from those people working in the Gallery. They said to look on-line or in the back of quilt magazines. I had already not found anything on-line. I will have too investigate this further. I looked around and saw quilt books, thread and a few quilting supplies. It made me miss my sewing machine and all my studio stuff. I wish I could quilt right now. Then I walked to an art gallery and then to an art store. If the guy in the art store had not have been snooty I would have totally been in art heaven. I miss painting, too. Soon, soon, I have to think.

I got lost finding Ken. I discovered, however, that if I go to a Caffe Nero I can use the internet and text Ken. He was at a different Caffe Nero but came to my rescue in about five minutes. We walk around and found Bicis Y Mas to have an absolutely delicious veggie breakfast meal again. I would like to have some of their recipes.

We walked around some more, going our separate ways then meeting up again later. It is sort of sad to be leaving York tomorrow. We are just getting the hang of this once fully wall city. The people have mostly been very friendly. Those catering to tourists do so whole heartedly and have made our visit most enjoyable.

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