FIRST EVER BLOG ABOUT A HOLIDAY

This was my first every blog about a holiday and it happened to be Mine and Ian’s 10th anniversary visit to York.
This year we are hitting 19 years!!
Can’t believe it.

Published Thursday, 12th August 2004

Diary of our holiday.

Me and Ian have just celebrated our 10th anniversary by dumping…….I mean sending the kids round to Nan’s for a week and then going away to York.
The following is a short diary of what we did.

Weds 4th August

We left home at 8.45am and arrived in York in dreary weather at 11.30am.
After leaving our bags in our room we took a walk into York town centre to take a look around and get our bearings. WOW!

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Had lunch in the Golden Fleece, supposedly York’s most haunted tavern and over 500 years old!
We did some more walking after lunch and ended up at Cliffords Tower. We climbed to the top where there were some very dodgy railings and Ian’s vertigo kicked in. He was clinging on for dear life all the way around. It was very amusing.

We visited the Castle Museum and found some uniforms. They weren’t naval but they were nice anyway.
They did have a lovely big picture of Sharpe and his riflemen on the wall so all was forgiven.

We went back to the guest house to freshen up and then took a taxi to the cinema and I finally got to see King Arthur!! YES, finally I got to see Lancelot in all his glory, even if he did come to a rather sticky end.
We headed back into town and had dinner at ‘The Entertainer’, a pub just outside the city walls and within stagering reach of the guest house. Perfect end to a rather jam packed day.

Thurs 5th August

Walked into town and went to the tourist information office. We got a York pass and hopped onto an open top bus and took a trip round the city with a guide.
We got off at the Yorkshire Museum and went to see the beautiful Abbey ruins and then we walked back over to the Minster.

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ABSOLUTELY GOBSMACKING! It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing the Minster. I’m not ‘overly’ religious but if this thing was on my doorstep I would be at church every Sunday!
From the inside she is even more beautiful. Walking around I had tears in my eyes because it was just so overwhelmingly beautiful.
I noticed the absolutely HUGE pipe organ in the centre of the building and tried to imagine what it sounded like being played in such a cavernous building. I enquired about it and found out that there are actually organ recitals every Saturday night at 7pm. So that sorted out Saturday evening!

I have to say that one of the side chambers in the Minsters is very large and very round. There are stone seats around the outside with the names of various bishops and there is a round table in the middle.
As we had just seen King Arthur we both thought the same thing! I think you can see where I’m going………The room would have been perfect!!!

Anyway, after the Minster, as we were fast running out of cash we decided to have dinner at McDonalds and then followed that up with a couple of pints at a lovely place called ‘Harkers’. This isn’t your traditional kind of wood beamed old York pub. This is a bar inside an old Georgian house on one of the many squares in York. It’s more contemporary and light and airy inside but they have kept a lot of the original features. Sash windows, fireplaces etc. It was lovely.

As our York pass gave us free entry onto the Brewery tour we decided to hop back on the bus and head on over to the York brewery……….We had just missed the tour!! Typical!!
We walked back into town and had a pint at a Yates Wine Bar where I caught a mosquito having a drink on me! Didn’t think anything of it until the next day when I had a whelt the size of a golf ball on the back of my hand. I still have a small lump even now!

After all the walking we had done and after all the drink we had consumed, we thought it would be a great idea to walk a section of the wall.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like running up and down all those stone steps and along the wall in full armour and carrying weapons. In some sections there’s nothing to stop you falling around 20 feet from the wall and then roll down a big bank on the city side……….even today!

After this is was getting late and our muscles were ‘really’ beginning to complain so we headed back towards the guest house and stopped off at the Entertainer again. We spent a couple of hours in here and had a late dinner before calling it a night. We were completely knackered. My legs and feet have never been so sore.

Friday 6th August – Our Anniversary

10 years! Ian said he should be out on parole by now.

The only problem with today is that we were depending on Ian’s monthly pay going into our account in the afternoon. Until then we had very little money so we wanted to do something that would take a while to do and not cost anything. As our legs and feet were still complaining from the day before, we did the only sensible thing………..we decided to walk around the entire length of the wall around York!
It’s overcast, it’s muggy and there’s no breeze! Who’s bright idea was this?………Oh…it was mine. Serves me right.

We finished the wall and we decided to spend our last 10 pounds on a couple of pints at the ‘Old White Swan’………LOVELY
We now have precisely 10 pence in our pockets and are really depending on this money coming through otherwise we are competely stuffed and haven’t even got enough petrol to get home!

We did some research while we were waiting and found out that the ‘Grand Turk’ had already left Scarborough and was in Whitby. Just as well we checked because I was told that she wasn’t leaving Scarborough until the 12th August.

We did some more wandering and found a lovely old 12th century church that was open to visitors tucked away behind a load of buildings. If you had blinked you would have missed it. Anyway, we went and had a look. When we went inside I got my camera out but Ian had other ideas. He told me to put the camera away and dragged me to the front of the church where he told me he loved me and that even though the last ten years had been difficult he felt we had a stronger relationship because of it and that marrying me was the best thing he’d ever done…………needless to say I was a blubbering wreck and couldn’t say anything for about ten minutes after this!

More wandering……we were getting desperate but in York there’s so much to just ‘see’ that you can never get bored.
The money finally arrived into the account. WHAT A RELIEF!
We went back to ‘Harkers’ for our evening meal and then walked down to the river and took a ghost cruise.
It was a lovely evening. Cool, breeze on the river and two hot air balloons as if on cue.
Very amusing commentary on board.

Walked back through town and had a last pint at the Entertainer before heading back to the guest house. We picked up a kebab and some nibbles on the way back before calling it a night.
We actually met three lovely ladies in the kebab house who were actually up in the balloons we’d seen earlier! What were the chances of that?!

Saturday 7th

We walked back into town and did some kiddie gift shopping before heading back to the guest house and hopping into our car. Ian wanted to go to the Yorkshire Air Museum to see the ‘Halifax’ bomber.
It’s a small place but worth a visit just to talk to some of ‘the old boys’ who help out around the place and who had first hand experience on a lot of the aircraft.
The Halifax alone was worth the visit. She is a beauty.

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We drove back to the guest house and then walked back into town for some dinner. We went to ‘Wilde’s Wine Bar’ (as in Oscar Wilde) This was the theme in the bar.
Then we went back over to the Minster for the organ recital. All I can say about this experience is WOW! For anyone in York on a Saturday evening I would highly recommend this experience. The sound of that Huge pipe organ going off in such a cavernous space is indescribable.

Took a last minute horse and carriage ride around the city. Took about 15 minutes and the driver was a wealth of info and very amusing.

Did the obligatory stop at the Entertainer on the way home before picking up another kebab and calling it a night.

Sunday 8th August

Took a quick drive up to Hartlepoole to visit the Historic Quay and Museum.

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Can you guess whats behind these buildings?!

Moored and fully restored at this museum is the HMS Trincomalee. She is absolutely stunning.
She is a Frigate 6th rate. The height of the main mast is 50 metres! The total length from the driver boom the the flying jib is 83 metres.
We took an audio tour of the ship. Ian decided that as he was 6 foot he’d wear one of the crash helmets provided and ‘boy’ did he need it. I was fine until I got to the powder storeroom where even here I had to crouch down. I even ventured into the copper lined storeroom. Very claustraphobic. I could only imagine what it must have felt like for the small boys to work in this room when it was actually full of gun powder.
Ian made a comment about banging his head and one of the onboard staff said ‘spare a thought for the second captain of the ship because he was 6 foot 6 inches tall and served for 4 years!’
The tour took a good 1 and a half hours. It took us round all 4 decks and was very enjoyable. Access was also exceptionally good for the physically challenged. Wheelchairs could access every deck but the hold.

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After the tour we decided to have lunch and I’m afraid to say that I just ‘had’ to have the ‘Hornblower Hot Pot’………..it had to be done!!
The fact that the hot pot is probably what I would have chosen anyway was coincedence.

We drove back to York and wandered into down and back down to the river.
We were exhausted by now and decided to take it easy so we found a lovely bar/restaurant called ‘The Living Room’. We managed to get a balcony table overlooking the river and right opposite the Kings Arms which is a very famous pub for one very famous reason that we would experience first hand later in the week.
We spent a good few hours here. There was a lovely breeze and we were in the shade.
While we were here we decided to phone Whitby Tourist Info to check that the ‘Grand Turk’ was actually there. We had been told about three different things over the last week and thought we’d better check before driving there tomorrow.
The lady on the phone said yes she’s definately here and then I nearly choked on my beer when she said ‘and she’s doing daytrips!!!!!! weather permitting’
I could hardly contain a squeal of excitement but deep down I thought she had got it wrong so I didn’t hold my breath.
We decided to have an early night anyway and make and early start in the morning just in case she was right.

Monday 9th August

Left for Whitby at 7am to miss all the holiday traffic. It worked a little too well as we were there by 8.15am! The drive over the Yorkshire Moors was beautiful. It was warm and dry and the sun was burning the morning mist off. As we came into Whitby we wondered how to get to the harbour area (bearing in mind that I was driving) we came down to a roundabout and right in front of us was the ‘Grand Turk’……..I nearly crashed the car with excitement. We parked the car right over the road form the Turk and quickly got out for a walk around.
It was beautiful and sunny and there was no-one around to get in the way of photos.
The only problem with Whitby is that nothing opens until around 9.30am so we did some walking around and found the ‘Bark Endeavour’
This wasn’t the full size copy but the one third size copy that does trips out of the harbour.
It was around now that I had a nagging feeling the lady on the phone last night had got it wrong.
She had……..The Turk was firmly moored for visiting only but she was beautiful none the less.

At about 10am the weather took a turn for the worst. The heavens opened and the sea became decidedly choppy. We braved a half hour trip on the Bark Endeavour anyway. This was fun, wet but fun, especially when we got out of the harbour and into the swells.

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When we had recovered from this we headed back over to the Turk. By now she was swarming with sightseers.
I had my obligatory photo taken by (or should I say ‘hugging’) the ships wheel before venturing below decks. We weren’t allowed up on the area at the front of the ship due to slippery surfaces and lack of barriers. I was a little dissapointed but still did a lot of wandering and dreaming on deck.
Below decks it was hot and crowded and pretty claustrophobic (quite realistic I suppose!). They had some hammocks slung over the tables so that kids and the odd over adventurous parent could give them a go and they had various staff in costume decribing life on board a ship of that time.
I bought a lovely book all about her and then went back up for some air.
No-one was allowed in the rigging but looking at it I don’t know if I would have the guts to try it!
I must admit I would love to be able to afford a more intimate tour at some point in the future and take her out to sea but for now this was enough.
We hope to return to her in a few weeks with Murron and Marjorie. They are going to ‘freak’!

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As the weather was so bad by now we decided to hop back in the car and head for Scarborough to check out what’s around for the kids when we bring them.
The weather is getting worse by the minute!
We had lunch in Scarborough and then headed back to York.
The weather was now attrocious so we decided to go and see ‘Thunderbirds’ It was ‘really’ cheesy but a lot of fun. I think the kids are going to love it.

The weather had appeared to clear up a bit after this so we walked back into town for dinner. The heavens opened again…….typical.
I had my brolly but the bottom of my jeans got soaked to the knees. Ian just got soaked. We ran into the nearest pizzaria. Not quite what we had planned but it was dry.

We got back to the guest house at around 10pm still dripping wet after an hour in the pizzaria.

Tuesday 10th

Still raining…….
We have decided to go and visit the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Two hours on a nice dry train with plenty to see and do along the way including ‘Hogsmeade’ from Harry Potter.

We arrived just in time to catch the next train. Hopped on and decided to take it to the end and then have a look round and have some lunch.
The rain hasn’t stopped!
Hopped back onto the train and got off at Goathland. This is the station used as Hogsmeade station in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. It is also used as the Aidensfield Station in the tv series ‘Heartbeat’.
From here we decided to walk into the village to see where Heartbeat is filmed. I called my mum from the red phone box on the green outside the Aidensfield Stores and then we had a drink in the Aidensfield Arms on the way back to the train. This pub was also used as the ‘Slaughtered Lamb’ in ‘An American Werewolf in London’.
We hopped back onto the train and took it to the end of the line.
We walked back to the car and headed for York.
Still Raining!
Some roads on the way back are now flooded.
We arrived back at the guesthouse to dry out a bit and found that ‘Heartbeat’ was on the TV!
Still Raining!
We thought about going to the cinema again but it actually stopped raining so we walked into town and went back to Wilde’s Wine Bar for dinner.
I enquired about the bar and found that it had absolutely nothing to do with Oscar Wilde. The owners apparently own another bar in town called ‘Oscars’ and so it made sense to call this bar Wilde’s. They simply themed the bar around Oscar Wilde.

Did a bit of a pub crawl before heading back to the guest house for the night. Oh yes…..it started raining again!

Wednesday 11th August


Our last full day and the weather is gorgeous. What a difference from the last 2 days.

Did some shopping and went to the Jorvik centre. It was OK but geared more to kids.
Spent an hour in the internet cafe before heading down to the river for lunch.
We went back to the Living Room again. Tony was our waiter and he had served us the last time.

The river has broken it’s banks today and the Kings Arms that I mentioned earlier is now virtually under water. The tables out the front are under water and a duck has made itself very comfortable on top of one.
We decided to pop over there for a drink after lunch. The only way into the building is now around the side and even here we had to walk over two upturned crates to get through the door!
Inside, the interior is geared for regular flooding with stone benches and sand bag barriers at the windows. It was an odd feeling sat in the window with the waterline up to the sill and a duck sat on the table right outside.
We carried on walking and shopping and ordered some flowers for Mum. She should get them tomorrow before we get home. She deserves them. I think the 3 kids have really taken it out of her this week. She is counting the hours for our return.

We dropped the shopping off at the guest house and headed back into town for a ‘Ghost Walk’
We actually did the ‘Ghost Hunt’ from the shambles. There is another walk, ‘The Ghost Trail’ that leaves from the Minster at the same time but the Ghost Hunt looked like more fun. It was!
It was VERY entertaining with lots of audience participation. I don’t think I have laughed so much in a long time. The actor that takes you around plays his part extremely well and I don’t think he cracked a smile the entire time. He is very deadpan and quite spooky!

The walk ended at around 9pm and we headed to Wilde’s Wine Bar for our last meal in York.
After this we headed back to our guest house to prepare to leave after breakfast in the morning.
It started to rain again!

Roundup

The whole week has been jam packed with as much as we could manage without the kids. The next time we come it will be with the kids at a much more leisurely pace.
There is so much history to York and so many old and interesting buildings that you just can’t get bored by walking around. There was so much that we didn’t get to see or do that we will just ‘Have’ to come back.
There are some fantastic pubs and bars in York and judging by what I’ve have just written we spent far too much time in them!.
The Kings Arms is actually closed today because she is now completely under water!
Anyway, a fabulous time was had and now it’s back to reality.

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