Saturday, November 7, 2009

Finally! Vacation....

I went straight from busy, fun and exhausting relay/vacation on the east coast into crazy deadlines at work. The 10/15 deadline passed and then had to catch up with all the other bits at work so I'd be ready for our next trip to England! Even though I am not supposed to work overtime, I worked at least an hour extra every day in a desperate attempt to catch up. Add in 40 miles of running a week and getting ready for our trip, well, I was ready to get on that plane!

We'd gotten a huge deal on airfare to London and bought tickets way back in the beginning of this year. Finally the time to fly to England had arrived and I couldn't wait to go back to visit some of my favorite areas. After arriving in London around noon local time, we took the Tube to King's Cross Station to wait for our train trip to York, England. Since I cannot sleep on airplanes and then want to stay mostly awake once landed in England, it makes for a very long day. Surprisingly it went better than the last time. I did a better job of pushing fluids and eating enough throughout the flight.

the train ride to York was uneventful and we remembered how to do the 10 minute walk to our B&B. We stayed at this place the last time we were in England (2004) and were happy to be back. It's a very convenient location and the hosts are so nice. York was pretty well booked so we were unable to get separate rooms for my husband and i and my brother-in-law (Ke) who was traveling with us. B&B en-suite (with bathroom) rooms in England are always space challenged and this room was no exception. The bathroom was particularly tight. I honestly could barely undress or dress in the bathroom to get into the shower! Oh well. that's just the way it is. The room was clean, the beds were comfy enough and I love the assortment of teas/coffees and biscuits which are always in the room.

After 10 hours of sleep, I felt almost human! And I had to go for a run. York has great signed bike and public foot paths including a lovely wide path which runs along the river Ouse. First thing, i got up and went to run 6 miles. I thought I'd better include a bit of faster paced miles and I did with no troubles. York Run

It was really a perfect morning. Clear and still with just a hint of fog in places. People were out walking their dogs and greeted me with a singsongy "mornin' luv." Yep. I was in Yorkshire! The path was mostly flat and went over some cattle grates. That should've been a clue. I was on a well traveled path when I came across a bunch of cows standing on the path. It had at one point been a railroad based on how it was built up and steeply dropped off the sides. This meant I couldnt' go around the cows as it was too steep. So I stopped and politely started talking to the cows and asking them to move. I can't quite remember if I've ever been so close to a cow before except ones that are penned. They are huge! Do they kick? I really wanted to touch one but thought I better not.

They blinked their peaceful eyes at me and gradually moved off the path, one at a time. Aren't herd animals nice? Back to the B&B for the traditional english breakfast. Cereal, oj, toast with the BEST lemon marmalade (I had to bring a jar home), sausage, bacon (like ham really), two eggs (often hardboiled but they will often scramble them on request), tomatoes, beans, mushrooms (EWWWW!) plus coffee. Oh yes. We eat well in England. We eat all meat and bread but it is tasty.

Next we walked back to the train station to pick up the rental car. The rental agent was pretty funny and we had a good chat about what we were planning on doing. she had a lot of Harry Potter lore to share too and I was delighted. Yes, K my husband is brave enough to drive in England. He does a great job too. We went directly off to Pickering to ride the North Yorkshire Moor Railway. Stunning is the only way to describe that.

The English do love their trains. I think it must be because they have such a long history with them and they are still a major means on transportation about the country. It's a historical railway just for tourists and we really had a good time. The countryside was beautiful, all the little stations we went through were so cute. We got off in Grosmont Station to go and look at the train sheds. It was very interesting wandering through this area as this is where they restore old steam trains and have a lot of them parked about. I was also impressed by the big pile of coal.

Eventually they brought out a locomotive star, the LNER Class A4 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley. Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch this locomotive and once it had pulled into the station (it would be the locomotive used to pull us back to Pickering), it had crowds of people all about taking photos. Seriously sexy and beautiful locomotive.

We got back to Pickering later than we had wished and realized we were not going to have time to drive to Whitby and see the east coast of England. It would get dark too early and we really didn't want to be driving back into York in the dark. We returned to York and promptly got extremely lost anyway. Eventually we made it and went wandering around the quiet streets of York and found The Shambles so Ke could see the crazy medieval street. And we ate at a pub, of course!

the next day, we decided we had to do the National Railway Museum in York. Again, did I mention the British love their trains? What an impressive and informative display. I'm glad we went. We had just enough time to wander around the York Minster and be impressed all over again by the scale of it all.

Soon enough it was time to drive to our next destination. See you next time York!

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